The UCC club that was born seven years ago as the Black History Club has been renamed the Black Excellence Society.
“Our members felt a need for some renewal and rebirth,” says Sandra Fulford of the registrar’s office, the club’s adviser. “Instead of talking only about the past, we wanted to redefine ourselves for now, today.”
The society was recently the focus of an assembly at the Upper School honouring Black History Month. A student panel of members answered questions about race-related topics submitted by their peers.
“We had questions about Malcolm X, about the use of the ‘N’ word in music and about whether affirmative action should be used in Canadian universities,” Fulford says. “It shows that people are interested, and that the student members are confident of their identities.”
Next, the membership, which meets weekly, will help celebrate Black History Month at the Prep, determining what might work well for a younger age group.
Although the group, which was started at the request of a student who felt “a particular need for a connection for black students at a school that was predominantly white” says Fulford, “it has been supported by allies throughout its existence. We talk about other minority groups and how we can support them.”The group has also held joint meetings with comparable clubs at other schools to share ideas and experiences.
“It’s more like a movement than a club,” Fulford says. “It’s a legacy we’re building.”