The University of Guelph is celebrating Black History Month throughout February with several on-campus events and initiatives that intersect with this year’s national theme ”Ours to Tell.” 

Many of the activities have been organized by the University’s Cultural Diversity Services within the Department of Student Experience as well as the Guelph Black Students Association (GBSA). Events organized by the GBSA and Cultural Diversity Services are based on U of G’s theme of “Celebrating Black Achievement.” 

Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP, diversity and human rights, says Black History Month is an important time for reflection.  

“It’s a time when Canadians across our nation come together to celebrate the incredible achievements of the Black community, to listen, and to learn,” she said. 

“This year’s official theme is ‘Ours to Tell.’ So, this Black History Month, set aside some time to gather, learn, share stories and experiences. Take a moment to discover more about Canada’s Black community, and how we can build a successful future together for all of us.” 

Dr. Jade Ferguson, associate dean of university academic equity and anti-racism, said this year’s theme encourages the sharing of the ongoing story of Black Canadians’ struggles and triumphs.  

“During this month-long celebration, the on-campus events and initiatives raise awareness about the countless contributions and achievements of Black people and their communities in Canada and beyond,” she said. 

“While these contributions and achievements should be celebrated every day of the year, Black History Month provides the U of G community with an important opportunity to listen to these stories, reflect on our commitments to anti-racism, and renew our efforts to combat anti-Black racism and all forms of racism and discrimination on our campuses and in our communities.” 

Events this year include:


A Night with TOVA 

Feb. 2, 7-9 p.m. – The Bullring 

Musician TOVA will bring a night of music to the Bullring. A 2022 BreakOut West R&B artist of the year nominee, TOVA is a storyteller who employs introspective lyrics, narrative and a captivating soundscape to create a unique musical experience.  

“Free Communities in Canada West” – A Black History Month Public Lecture  

Feb. 6, 10:30-11:20 a.m. – Peter Clark Hall, UC

History professor Dr. Deirdre McCorkindale will discuss Black communities that resulted from Black freedom seekers and their allies in Southwestern Ontario. All are welcome.  

“Stirrin the Pot” – Afro-Caribbean Cooking Class

Feb. 7, 5-7 p.m. – Anita Memorial Food Lab 

Chef Vanessa Simon of Vanessa’s Cuisine KW will offer lessons in how to make traditional dishes from Caribbean cuisine, which is a blend of African, Indian, European, Creole, Amerindian, Cajun and other flavours. The class will be offered in a hybrid format, both in-person and online. 

“Piecing it Together” – Art, Mental Health, and Black Excellence

Feb. 8, 3-5 p.m. – UC442 

Briana Alexis Studios will host an art session and discussion on Black mental health and excellence. This event is exclusive to U of G students who identify as Black. Alexis is an activist and U of G psychology graduate with a background in studio art practice. 

“Spotlight” – A BHM Cultural Fashion Show 

Feb. 9, 7-9 p.m. – Peter Clark Hall 

A one-of-a-kind fashion show highlighting Black culture through pieces from three up-and-coming Black fashion designers from the GTA. Includes models from U of G and engaging cultural dance performances. 

BHM Movie Night: Moonlight (2016)

Feb 10, 6-9 p.m. – UC 332 

The Sexual & Gender Diversity Team will collaborate with the Cultural Diversity Team to bring students a screening of 2016’s Moonlight. A post-screening discussion will focus on the lived experiences of people within Black communities with an intersectional approach to raise awareness surrounding the overlapping identities of queerness in the Black community. 

Quad Rollerskating Nights: BHM Edition

Feb 14, 5-7 p.m. – Peter Clark Hall 

The Cultural Diversity team will host a special night of rollerskating and music, featuring DJ QC, who will play a wide variety of music of all genres. Both quads and in-line skates are welcome.

“Celebrating Black Achievement” – A Panel for Black Success at U of G

Feb 15, 12-2 p.m. – University Club (UC 5th floor)  

Learn about the professional journeys of Black U of G faculty as they share their unique experiences navigating academia while Black and provide advice for anyone wanting to enter the field. Panellists include:  

  • Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, Department of Food Science 
  • Dr. Tamara A. Small, Department of Political Science
  • Dr. Deirdre McCorkindale, Department of History
  • Dr. Uwafiokun Idemudia, dean, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) 

Black-Owned Marketplace

Feb 16, 12-6 p.m. – UC Courtyard 

Several Black-owned businesses local to Guelph and the surrounding areas  will hold a marketplace of handmade and artisan clothing, body care items, food, personal accessories and more. 

Keynote Address: Intentional Intersectional Leadership with Payton Head 

Tuesday, Feb 28, 6-7:30 p.m. – Event Centre, Athletic Centre  

Payton Head, former president of the Missouri University Students Association and rising activist, will discuss the adversities caused by the pervasiveness of race, gender and sexual orientation discrimination.  

Head has been at the forefront of conversations about improving race relations on campuses since his Facebook post about his experience with racism at Missouri sparked protests at that university. A queer Black man, Head uses his platform to advocate for more inclusivity, challenging students to fight hatred with radical love for others as well as for themselves.  

McLaughlin Library special collection – Celebrating Black Achievement 

The McLaughlin Library has created a book collection in collaboration with the GBSA that features fiction and non-fiction titles that celebrate the social, cultural and academic development of Black people. The collection ranges from autobiographies of important figures such as Randy Weston, Malcom X and Michelle Obama, to the poetry of Maya Angelou, to pieces about racism and discrimination.   

Hospitality Services will also celebrate the month by offering a menu featuring African and Caribbean cuisine every Wednesday in February at the Infusion dining facility in the University Centre’s Chef’s Hall.