STUBSA highlights historical figures for Black History Month

    President for the St. Thomas Black Student Association, Silvie Binsai, posing this past Feb. 1, 2023. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

    STU’s Black Students’ Association (STUBSA) will present an educational social media series for Black History Month to highlight the work and legacy of Black icons, from scholars to athletes. 

    Pearl Gyamfi, a second-year student from Ghana and STU African student ambassador, said she chose Kimberly Crenshaw as her idol for the campaign due to her work as a lawyer and civil rights activist.

    Crenshaw is an American lawyer and scholar that coined the term intersectionality, which refers to the understanding of “the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood among conventional ways of thinking.” 

    “It’s really hard, especially as a woman and queer [person], to express yourself because your society might not accept you,” she said.

    “[Crenshaw] is a Black queer woman … and they’re really bold, and she’s into law and I actually want to do that as well. I just want to make change the way she does it.”

    Gyamfi hopes the series brings the STU community together, not in terms of race and colour, but to recognize the role these figures played in society. 

    “History is what brought us to where we are today as a people,” she said. “I hope that [students] are willing to learn and unlearn and be open to new information.”

    Chaunte Blackwood, a first-year student from Jamaica, said she thinks it is important to highlight people like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a Jamaican track and field athlete. 

    “She is a household name, not just in Jamaica, but around the world, especially in the diaspora. She’s an inspiration, a shining light, a beacon of hope for everyone,” she said.

    Blackwood recalled meeting Fraser-Pryce when she was 13 years old at a competition when her coach contacted the olympian for a photoshoot. She said the athlete was respectful to her even if they were at different levels.

    “It was crazy to me, but she encouraged me to do my very best and I always take that with me.”

    Blackwood said she believes the series will spread awareness of Black history, which she said is often undercovered. 

    “Black history is human history and Black people are humans. We are a part of a larger world and our stories should be highlighted,” she said. 

    With files from Aaron Sousa.