Thompson Rivers University

Bahamians bring Black History Month to campus

January 31, 2019

Members of the TRU Caribbean Students Club from the left: Genique Oliver, Jenny Morris, Gevante Dean, Dajah Roker. Photo courtesy of Farrah Johnson.

Members of the TRU Caribbean Student Club from the left: Jenny Morris, Terrell Jones, Gevante Dean, Giles Moxey, Dajah Roker, Genique Oliver. Photo courtesy of Farrah Johnson.


TRU is proud of its diverse and internationally-populated campus of students, staff and faculty. Even in the institution’s never-ending quest to make everyone feel at home, two students felt there was a gap in recognizing their culture.

That’s why Jenny Morris and Gevante Dean began planning four events—one each Friday in February—to celebrate Black History Month.

“This is my third year at TRU and we haven’t seen much celebration for Black History Month,” said Dean. “It will be a relief to finally celebrate our culture and our heritage.”

The two friends made their way to TRU from the Bahamas because of the education available and openness to international students. They love how much other cultures are celebrated and felt motivated to put their own touch on the festive campus culture.

“We are very proud of our students who go above and beyond in showcasing their cultures and constantly bring awareness to our community. We fully support the students who have taken this initiative to celebrate Black History Month at TRU,” said Suraj Shah, manager, international marketing and operations. “We invite and encourage everyone to join us in celebrating Black History Month by honouring the past and inspiring the future.”

Black History Month is an annual month-long celebration that originated in the United States in 1970 and has spread to other countries as a way to honour the achievements by African Americans. Canada’s first official Black History Month was in 1996.

“Putting together this event is important to me because we haven’t seen many events from TRU that focuses on Caribbean, black or African students. We know there are groups of these students on campus, but we feel it’s not as strong of a community compared to other schools,” said Morris, a natural resource science student. “This could be a good time for everyone to come together and help build that community.”

Morris and Dean’s Black History Month plans kickoff Feb. 1, with the Day of Solidarity. They are encouraging students to dress in black clothing to show the community’s unity. They also encourage people to share their Day of Solidarity experiences online using the hashtag #BlackOclock.

While the events for each Friday have been planned, some details with times and locations are still being finalized for Feb. 8, 15 and 22. The two have created a Twitter account @TRU_CSC and Instagram account @trucsc, as the TRU Caribbean Student Club. Follow both accounts along with #myTRU for the latest event updates.

Photo courtesy of Farrah Johnson.

Next week is a double-feature movie night in the Clock Tower building. Black Panther, which was just nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, will air at 4 p.m. Afterwards, at around 8 p.m. is the thought-provoking Fruitvale Station. It stars Michael B. Jordan and is a biographical drama about the days leading up to the death of Oscar Grant, a young man killed in 2009 by police in Oakland.

The Den will host Trivia Night on Feb. 15, with contestants answering skill-testing questions about black culture, events and role models. This could also serve as an opportunity for anyone to voice opinions about the significance of the event as well.

The Bahamian students’ month-long task of sharing their culture concludes Feb. 22, with an enthusiastic social gathering of food, music and dance, inspired by the music-dance television show, Soul Train, which aired for 35 years.

The location for the Soul Train event will be announced closer to the date.

The two Caribbean friends encourage everyone to celebrate Black History Month with them as they add a piece of their heritage to the already incredibly diverse world at TRU.

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