York Lions celebrate Black History Month with speaker series and virtual celebration

Featured image for Black Excellence and Grit Speaker Series York Lions for YFile
Featured image for Black Excellence and Grit Speaker Series York Lions for YFile

The York University Athletics & Recreation Department has identified the need for the promotion of Black culture and will use Black History Month as a launching pad to celebrate Black Excellence.

February is recognized as Black History Month. It’s a time to celebrate Black culture and to applaud the achievements and significant contributions Black Canadians have made to build Canada. Those contributions have made the country stronger and more diverse. Canadians are invited to participate in learning opportunities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present.

York Athletics & Recreation is offering a number of opportunities to celebrate Black Excellence and to learn more about the tremendous Black student-athletes at York University.

Earlier this week, the department announced the creation of the Black and Indigenous Varsity Student-Athlete Alliance (BIVSAA) to gain an understanding of Black and Indigenous student-athlete experiences in order to progress solutions to identified issues and foster meaningful growth within the Lions family.

Black Excellence & Grit Speaker Series

Black Excellence and Grit Speaker Series York Lions for YFileBeginning in February and continuing over the next several months, BIVSAA will present the Black Excellence & Grit Speaker Series. This series has been created to intentionally place a Black lens on conversations related to identity, social justice and professionalism.

The following is a list of scheduled Speaker Series events, including the Black professionals welcomed to the conversation. For more information on the Black Excellence & Grit Speaker Series, including call-in details for each presentation, click here.

Kayla Alexander
Canadian Professional Basketball Player (Castor Braine, Belgium) will present “Finding Your Voice and Using Your Platform.”
Tuesday, Feb. 2, from 1 to 2 p.m.

Keenan Lewis Jeppesen
Director of Outreach, Onyx Initiative, will present “Onyx Initiative.”
Tuesday, Feb. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Tonee Jones
Paralegal Specialist, US Department of Justice, will present “Black Professionalism.”
Friday, Feb. 19, from 7 to 8:15 p.m.

Jamal Campbell
Professional Football Player (Toronto Argonauts, CFL) will present “Being Black on Campus.”
Feb. TBD

2021 Black History Month Virtual Celebration
York University Athletics & Recreation has partnered with a group of community leaders to host the 2021 Virtual Black History Month Celebration on Friday, Feb. 26 from 12 to 3 p.m. on YouTube LIVE. The event will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the House of Commons officially recognizing February as Black History Month in Canada and the United Nations proclamation that 2015 to 2024 be the decade for people of African descent. This virtual show will showcase riveting speeches and historical videos from Black leaders and talented performances from our local Black community. The theme of the event is “Rooted & Resilient; like the Sankofa Bird, we are rooted in the past and resilient moving forward.”

Follow @yorkulions for program, schedule and performer announcements!

Student-Athlete Spotlights
Over the course of the month, visitors of yorkulions.ca will read Student-Athlete Spotlights, which will profile prominent Lions student-athletes of colour. They will discuss the success they’ve achieved both on and off the field of play.