Thompson Rivers University

Celebrate Black History Month in Kamloops

February 13, 2020

The Sankofa Bird is the emblem for this year's Black History Month in Canada, illustrating the 2020 theme of Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past. The bird with feet forward and head turned back symbolizes using the past to build a successful future.

Each February, Black History Month highlights the integral role that black Canadians have played throughout the history of our nation, and presents an opportunity to honour and celebrate their accomplishments and contributions.

This year’s theme, Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past, is represented by the Sankofa Bird—with feet forward and head turned back, it reflects on the past to build a successful future.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Black History Month in Kamloops:

Attend an Event

Just Mercy Film Screening
Friday, February 21 at Paramount Theatre (downtown Kamloops)

Join the Kamloops Caribbean Cultural Society, the African-Canadian Heritage Association of Kamloops and the Kamloops Film Society for a special showing of this true story. There will also be a fundraising bake sale of African and Caribbean snacks in the lobby. Event details

Black History Month TRU Celebration
Friday, February 28 at TRU Campus Activity Centre

The TRUSU Caribbean Student Club presents an afternoon of music, food, games, free hair braiding and a photo exhibition. Everyone welcome. Event details

Black History Month Community Celebration
Saturday, February 29 at the Plaza Hotel (downtown Kamloops)

The Kamloops Caribbean Cultural Society and the African-Canadian Heritage Association of Kamloops have teamed up to present a pan-African dinner celebration featuring live performances from local talents—including TRU students and alumni—to celebrate the rich history of African and Caribbean countries. Event details

Discover a new author

TRU Library Client Service Associate Meg Polier has prepared the following list of recommended reading. For more suggestions, follow @TRULibrary on Instagram.

André Alexis (African-Canadian author)—Most known for his series of five novels set in Southern Ontario and his book, Fifteen Dogs, which won the Giller Prize. Find at TRU Library

Austin Clarke (African-Canadian author)—Most memorable books include The Polished Hoe, winner of the Giller Prize, and Membering. Find at TRU Library

Esi Edugyan (African-Canadian author)—Edugyan won the Giller Prize for her books, Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black. Find at TRU Library

Cecil Foster (Caribbean-Canadian author)—Well known for his exploration of race through immigration. Find at TRU Library

Lawrence Hill (African-Canadian author)—Best known for his award-winning The Book of Negroes (Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, The Rogers Writer’s Trust Fiction Price, etc.) Find at TRU Library

Nalo Hopkinson (Jamaican-Canadian author)—Writer of speculative fiction that often draws upon the history and language of the Caribbean. Find at TRU Library

Dany Laferrière (Haitian-Canadian French author)—His first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, has been translated into English. Find at TRU Library

Suzette Mayr (Canadian author)—Writer of five critically-acclaimed novels including Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall and Monoceros. Find at TRU Library

Dionne Brand (African-Canadian author and poet)—Winner of many awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Trillium Prize for Literature and the Toronto Book Award. Find at TRU Library

Mairuth Sarsfield (Canadian author)—Her book, No Crystal Stair, won the National Congress of Black Women Foundation’s First Literary Award. Find at TRU Library

Makeda Silvera (Caribbean-Canadian author)—Co-founder and managing editor of Sister Vision Press. Find at TRU Library

Claire Harris (Trinidadian-Canadian poet)—Her collection of poems, Drawing Down a Daughter, won the Governor General’s Award. Find at TRU Library

Afua Cooper (Jamaican-Canadian author)—Writer of The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal. Find at TRU Library

Whitney French (Canadian author)—Her latest work, Black Writers Matter, is a collection of African-Canadian writing with established and new authors. Find at TRU Library

Sarah Raughley (Canadian)—Her young adult fantasy book series, starting with Fate of Flames, features women tasked with protecting the world using the power of the four elements. Find at TRU Library

Watch a film

For movies with a Canadian perspective, check out The Black Experience in Canada: A Rich History. This 24-film playlist curated by the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada features films from all over Canada that explore diverse topics, and range from shorts to feature-length documentaries. NFB playlist

If you’re not sure where to start your cinematic journey into Black History Month, check out the February 21 screening of Just Mercy—hosted by the Kamloops Caribbean Cultural Society, the African-Canadian Heritage Association of Kamloops and the Kamloops Film Society. Event details

Join a local club

TRUSU Black Law Students Association: Aims to explore pressing legal issues facing the Black community and to promote diversity in the educational and professional sphere. Details

TRUSU Caribbean Students Club: Facilitates the transitions of new students from the Caribbean, while providing a social outlet for members through academic excellence and cultural exchange. Details

Kamloops Caribbean Cultural Society: A non-profit organization composed of TRU students and community members alike. Details

African-Canadian Heritage Association of Kamloops: A place to socialize and give back, to benefit individual members and their children, and to be impactful in the community through donations, volunteer services and other means. Details

More information

For more information, resources are available from the Government of Canada’s Black History Month resources or, for a British Columbian perspective, the BC Black History Awareness Society.

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