Black History Month 2021
This year, McMaster can take pride in marking the month-long acknowledgment of the integral contributions of peoples among the diverse Black/African diaspora with several concrete initiatives launched to advance Black excellence.
The tragic events in the summer of 2020 both outraged and inspired masses of people around the globe who were jolted into a new and unprecedented level of consciousness about and commitment to address systemic anti-Black racism.
Anti-racist scholars and practitioners have long argued that a line can be drawn from individual personally-mediated racial bias and prejudice to structural forms of racial discrimination and oppression, and that not only do these individual and systemic forms of racism attempt to rob, at best, the dignity and, at worse, the lives of Black peoples, but they also rob communities and organizations of rich human capital and exceptional talent pools – thereby limiting institutional and societal potential.
Amanda Gorman, the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States, embodied Black excellence in her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb”. A particularly poignant hopeful and inspiring verse says, “We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be.”
At McMaster, we have similar beacons of Black excellence among faculty and staff, and especially among a new generation of Black students, scholars and leaders that carry forward hope and inspiration for change.
This February, McMaster is pleased to once again profile a diverse array of events to strengthen our consciousness and commitment to addressing racism, while praising Black excellence.
Arig al Shaibah
Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion
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