St. Thomas University has not recognized Black History Month, and one student in particular says he is let down by the university’s silence.
Husoni Raymond is a first-year student from Jamaica. He said Black History Month is important to him because it battles stereotypes.
“You don’t see a lot of black role models and people to look up to, so black history is important to really emphasize the accomplishments of black people in history and what they’ve done,” he said.
“Generally in society there’s this negative stereotype that just keeps you in a box, hovers over you. ‘You can’t be successful, you’re a thug.'”
He said he’s been expecting STU to at least make a social media post recognizing this month, but it hasn’t yet.
“I feel somewhat upset about it. I feel like somewhat less important, I don’t feel like they value it as something important.”
He said he chose STU partly because of its emphasis on social justice.
“I’m especially disappointed because STU is known as a school that emphasizes social justice and social inclusion and diversity … That’s one of the main reasons I came to STU,” he said.
The Human Rights department is organizing a screening of the documentary 13th on Feb. 20.
The film is about the ratification of the 13th amendment in the United States Constitution in 1865, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
Jeffrey Carleton, St. Thomas University’s vice-president communications, said a lack of recognition is an oversight on the university’s part.
“Compared to previous years, two years in particular that I can recall, there hasn’t been a significant event or a special event beyond what the human rights programs is doing this Monday,” Carleton said.
“If the comment from the student is there hasn’t been an acknowledgment I think that’s a very fair comment. I would say that’s an oversight and something that we should have been better on top of.”
Raymond said he’d be satisfied to see the university recognize some history, maybe give some reasons why Black History Month is important and try to increase awareness.
Carleton said the university will try to do better.
“We’ll look at doing something perhaps in line of a stronger promotion on the film on Monday.”
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