In honour of Black History Month, the AMS worked with the Black Student Union (BSU) to organize campus-wide events and amplify the voices of Black students.
The AMS helped to financially support the BSU, which has taken charge of planning this month’s events. This year’s lineup included a trivia event, movie night, community dinner and an open mic night. Both organizations have been actively promoting these events on their social media accounts, encouraging community members and allies to take part.
However, while campus events may help to spread awareness and boost student participation, Maia Wallace, equity inclusion lead at the AMS, said that the AMS’s involvement in Black History Month goes well beyond event planning.
“What that looks like this year is supporting community initiatives, supporting creatives, local creatives and Black businesses,” she said.
Wallace cautioned allies against performativity and taking up space in a movement that has historically been led by Black students.
“This is work that's taken up by normal students, and it's still not done by the UBC administration … and I don't know if it ever can be because it's such a pure initiative that's always done by the community itself,” she said. “Planning three Black History Months before this, I don't even want to take away from that.”
Overall, the AMS hopes to promote a lighter approach to allyship that continues far beyond the end of February.
“The last two years have been pretty heavy when it comes to Black History Month and the Black experience since the pandemic started,” Wallace said. “We really took the time over the last couple months to be in touch with the Black Student Union, meet them where they're at ... and hopefully highlight Black History Month in a different light.”
Though Black History Month is coming to a close, there are still several upcoming events for students to look forward to, including an Afrobeats dance class which will be hosted by the BSU in the UBC Life Building on Monday, February 28 at 8:30pm.