Nfld. & Labrador

Black Students' Association aims to connect students of colour at Memorial University

Following a hiatus, Memorial University's Black Students' Association [BSA] has been revived and the people behind it have big plans.

Group held two events this week and hopes to see more in the future

Black Diaspora in Newfoundland was an event to discuss what it's like being black in this province. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Following a hiatus, Memorial University of Newfoundland's Black Students' Association [BSA] has been revived and the people behind it have big plans.

During Black History Month the group hosted an event, Black Diaspora in Newfoundland, featuring guest speakers, performances and poetry readings.

Lloydette Quaicoe and Zainab Jerret both gave keynote addresses at Monday night's event at MUN's Bruneau Centre talking about life in this province as a person of colour.

"We felt there was a little bit of disconnect in the black community in Newfoundland," the association's vice president Colin Smith said.

"We felt that if we created a space for people of colour in Newfoundland to network and find opportunities through our own collective backgrounds and knowledge that would be really beneficial."

Colin Smith and Kyekue Mweemba wanted to bring back the BSA to help connect students of colour at MUN. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The event earlier this week drew about 50 people and under new leadership the BSA hopes to build on that. 

"Hopefully, the next turnout will be much bigger and we will see more non-members of the black community. I think this kind of experience is important to everyone because then we get to share our experiences with everyone, not just our peers but with other members of the community that we share the space with," said association president Kyekue Mweemba.

Along with poetry, songs and speakers, attendees were treated to food and free tickets for a showing of Marvel's blockbuster hit "Black Panther" on Wednesday night.

The BSU is aiming to fill a void its organizers saw on the St. John's campus.

"We noticed there were no clubs or societies for black students so I was struggling to meet other black students," Mweemba said.

Black Students' Association with the help of MUNSU organized a special event Monday night. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The group also hopes to bring in more speakers and to hold a monthly series to help students of colour, especially those who want to stay in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I think especially in Newfoundland you find that there are not a lot of people of colour, that's the stereotype," Smith said.

"We really wanted to combat that and create a safe space for new and returning students"