Submitted by: Morgan Myers
It’s fair, in our Camosun College internal and external communications, a want to celebrate the happenings for students and staff. It’s fair to shine a lens on the many bright spots we, the students and staff at Camosun College, are engaged in. What’s unfair is the failure to make aware the gift of February as taking up space in our collective hearts and minds and filling it with Black Excellence and Black Futures celebrations. February arrives as a tool to inform our teaching and living practices; how will celebrating Blackness change our curriculum, coursework, class agendas, our pedagogical and personal choices? If we are to be antiracist, we are to be active. I was ready to embrace this time as a person living in the world and as an instructor with support from the academic institution in which I work. The first week of February progressed, with a feeling, something was missing. On Sunday, February 4th, I was asked by a beloved friend and colleague on leave from teaching, how has the college acknowledged this month? What did the ushering in of Black Excellence and Black Futures month look like? What observances have been shared? What events planned? My answer, “I don’t know.”
In recognition of my personal lack of response and my reliance on others to lead, I took time to name what was missed. I reached out to those at the college with whom I knew would care about missed pieces. For context, my beloved friend and colleague is a Black woman and I, tick all the boxes that place me in positions of unearned privilege, particularly in my orientation as a white woman. If I didn’t see any observance of Black History and Black Futures month, I failed to act. I’m acting now, albeit late, with a hope to do better. The month of February is a gift. The questions presented by my friend are a gift. If folks are to be seen as allies, we must offer action and acknowledge what is missing. There is much work to do alongside workplace leaders and those who work in the ongoing project of education.
This is a truth.
Invitations to celebrate Black excellence and Black stories are not meant to be left to Black communities, to Black individuals, to folks who actively participate in anti-racist and decolonization collectives. It is meant to be a call for all of us. How do we gather around an ethic that demands we do the least amount of harm to the most vulnerable? One way, is to joyfully and punctually, ring in Black History month and celebrate Black Excellence and Black Futures.
I would like to call attention and offer gratitude to Robbyn and the Camosun library staff for beckoning us to the Black stories the library holds. Librarians prove once again, their importance in the fabrics of our being and becoming.
The links below are some of the ways the Black stories from these territories can be heard. I encourage us all to take part.
Term Instructor, Early Learning and Care Program, Community, Family and Child Studies Dept.