University of Windsor raises Pan-African flag in honour of the start of Black History Month
Despite the cold, members of the community gathered at the University of Windsor to honour the start of Black History Month.
UWindsor, along with the Black History Black Futures Working Group, has honoured the month with a flag-raising ceremony at the centre of main campus.
On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of people met for the ceremony to recognize, honour, and celebrate the significant contributions of people of the African Diaspora in Canada and worldwide to science and technology, arts and entertainment, education and scholarship.
According to the UWindsor, the Canadian 2023 theme for Black History Month is "Ours to Tell," and the US theme is "Black Resistance", highlighting the ongoing fight against racial inequality.
Dr. Clinton Beckford, Vice-President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Windsor, was one of many speakers during the event.
He says it warmed his heart to see so many attend the ceremony.
"We've had struggles as Black people on this campus. You see the number of people who showed up, it was so cold, but people came out to celebrate this, and to celebrate it as a University event. And I was really grateful for that, it really warmed my heart to see that."
Dr. Clinton Beckford, Vice-President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Windsor, speaks during the flag-raising ceremony to honour the start of Black History Month. Feb. 1, 2023 (Photo Credit: Courtesy of AM800's Rob Hindi)
He says things are different today for the better.
"You ask our people and they will tell you, we're in a different place today then we were even three years ago. That's due to the University leadership."
He says there was change on campuses following the death of George Floyd in 2020.
"The unfortunate murder of George Floyd in 2020 really galvanized on people. That was an external event that really had tremendous impact. In December of 2020, the Ontario Human Rights Commission wrote to university and college presidents across Canada to say 'you need to do better, students on your campuses are suffering, and they feel that you're not doing enough'."
Dr. Clinton Beckford, Vice-President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Windsor, stands in front of the Pan-African flag during a ceremony to honour the start of Black History Month. Feb. 1, 2023 (Photo Credit: Courtesy of AM800's Rob Hindi)
Dr. Beckford says the flag represents bloodshed and trauma, but also prosperity.
"The red also reminds you of the bloodshed, and the violence, and the trauma that we often experience as Black people. And then the green is a lot of hope, and it tells us in the green that prosperity is possible. This is a flag that looks back, looks at the present, but looks forward as well."
This is the first time that the University of Windsor has raised the Pan-African flag.
The University is embarking on a month-long celebration with a variety of initiatives and collaborations, and the addition of more events each day which is listed on the University of Windsor website.
-with files from AM800's Rob Hindi