The joys of a little Black History Month display
By Thandiwe Vela
Some observers may even call it a strut.
I'm happy to see you too, coach Carl, but the real source of my recent upbeat demeanor is this little setup with pictures of Canadians who look like me -- their significant contributions to physical education, sport, and health prominently displayed for all to see, even if only for just one month.
Harry Jerome (right), Chifumbe Chintu (pdf profile), Darren Lowe -- OK, they don't look as much like me as a black Canadian woman on the display would (Charmaine Crooks would be a great addition) but the Faculty of Physical Education and Health's public celebration of these black heroes has been a great source of pride for me.
Likewise, black students across the country can take pride this month in the great achievements of black Canadians past and present (largely absent from curriculum, sight and thus young marginalized black student minds), as their legacies are celebrated in assemblies, displays, events and other initiatives during Black History Month.
While the athletic centre's display is dedicated to black Canadian heroes with athletic prowess, their equally impressive academic and social accomplishments are highlighted as well.
It is this sometimes misunderstood dichotomy of the black scholar-athlete, that a panel discussion being held by the U of T Centre for Leadership Training and Education lends itself to on Thursday.
The free event, featuring a stacked group of respected and highly knowledgeable panelists including director of York University's Centre for Education and Community, Dr. Carl James , is sure to set off an insightful discussion, and asks: "Are black students expected to be on the court and not in the classroom?"
If the outstanding black Canadians featured in the athletic centre's Black History Month display that has brought such a twinkle to my eye are any indication, surely we can excel in both.
Thandiwe Vela is a Star radio room reporter, secretary of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists and a Varsity Blues track and field athlete currently training to beat Usain Bolt in a 60-metre race. email@example.com