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MacEwan University celebrated the start of its second annual Black History Month on Monday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Jay Rosove/ CTV News Edmonton)

MacEwan University kicked off its Black History Month celebrations at their main campus Monday.

The opening ceremony featured a performance by the Sangrea West African Drumming academy.

A dozen members of the MacEwan community flanked the group and danced along during the closing number.

The drum performance was followed by a joint student and community march across the MacEwan campus.

"Marching and demonstrations are an integral part of activism," said Yonae Rolle, lead organizer for MacEwan University’s Black History Month events. "Especially relating to issues rooted in racial injustice."

The opening ceremony also showcased the "I Am From Here," exhibit on loan for the day from the Royal Alberta Museum.

The exhibit features artifacts from early eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan Black settlers.

This is the second year the university has officially celebrated Black History Month.

"I find that students are wanting to be more engaged with the community," Rolle said. "They're feeling that their identity matters at the campus. They're reaching out to get involved and for me that just warms my heart to see."

A poster-series featuring biographies of significant black individuals will be on display across campus throughout the month.

Dr. Wanda Costen will give a Black History Month keynote speech from MacEwan’s Robbins Health Learning Centre Wednesday night.

Costen is the first black dean of the School of Business at MacEwan University.

Her talk will look at black women’s participation in the Canadian Labour force and navigating the intersections of race and gender.

"We must keep talking about the issue of diversity because it won't just happen," said Costen. "Workplaces benefit from the participation of a whole person, their whole identity."

MacEwan University’s Black History Month will wrap up Thursday, Feb. 27 with a close out event.

Black History Month was first recognized by the House of Commons in 1995.