Black on Campus: A Short Reflection

 

Black History Month was never something I “celebrated.” I knew of its importance, and I loved to read news articles about events and reread the history of prominent figures in black history. However, I have never been one to comment on “politics” and social issues on social media—I am more comfortable having a conversation in real life. I don’t think that first-year me would have thought of writing this.

Recent pop culture media has highlighted the importance of having not only a space for black people to belong, but anyone who has ever felt like an outsider (re: Black Panther). When I lived in Mexico for four months, friends of all different backgrounds told stories of being made to feel like an outsider, even by those of the same race. After my experience and interactions with people from all over the world, I realized how lucky I am to live in B.C. I feel especially fortunate to have grown up in Richmond and love being a part of the UVic community.

This isn’t to say that things are perfect in B.C., or that there haven’t been moments when I felt treated differently as a result of my skin colour. I think those moments, unfortunately, happen more often than I like to admit. The only difference is that I have always felt supported by the community that I have been in, whether it was a group of immigrant friends in the streets of Richmond or the residence life team on campus. I haven’t felt like an outsider in a while. And it feels so nice.

 

 

So what does Black History Month now mean to me? It means not only appreciating the past, but living in the present and changing the future. It means cheering on all the black men and women who wake up every day and refuse to be anything other than themselves. It means reflecting on and accepting and celebrating my life as a person of colour.

Belonging is not a constant. There are people every day stumbling through life trying to find a group or support system. I hope that Black History Month (and every other month) is a constant reminder to us as a society to accept more people, despite visible and invisible differences. Every single human being deserves acceptance.

Happy Black History Month!

 

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Black on Campus is a feature series that hopes to highlight and recognize people of colour on UVic’s campus during Black History Month.