Earlier today, Mount Saint Vincent University officially kicked off African Heritage Month with a ceremony in the MSVU Art Gallery, and the raising of the Pan-African flag.
President & Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mary Bluechardt welcomed attendees to the event, and spoke of the importance of African Heritage Month (held each February) and celebrating the many contributions that people of African descent have made locally, nationally and at our own University.
“While we look forward to the many events planned to mark African Heritage Month, the University’s commitment to supporting students, faculty and staff of African descent is long-term,” said Dr. Bluechardt.
Jayde Tynes, MSVU’s new Black Student Support Coordinator, also spoke at the event, and had the honour of introducing Dr. Lynn Jones, community educator, leader, historian and activist.
Dr. Jones, with the help of three student volunteers, shared the significance and history of the Pan-African flag and explained the meaning of each of its three colours: red represents the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation; black represents Black people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag; and green, represents the abundant natural wealth of Africa.
Dr. Jones and Dr. Bluechardt then led an African drumming procession from the MSVU Art Gallery through the Seton lobby and outside where the Pan-African flag was raised. A reception followed in Seton lobby, where students, faculty and staff enjoyed more African drumming and refreshments.
Today’s event was held in the MSVU Art Gallery where a fitting exhibit is on display. Titled Northern Oracle, the exhibit is an ambitious rooftop installation that emerges from the floor of the gallery, and is accompanied by a series of mixed media drawings. The artist, Heather Hart, considers Black histories, access to ownership, taking up physical space, and the significance of having a place to call home. Attendees were able to interact with the piece by climbing up onto the rooftop, and also entering the inside of the structure. For more information, visit the MSVU Art Gallery website (https://www.msvuart.ca/).
For the full schedule of African Heritage Month events at MSVU, visit: https://www.msvu.ca/en/home/campus-life/student-equity/blackstudentsupport/African-Heritage-Month.aspx