Feb. 28 is the last day of February. That also means it is the last day of Black History Month and the McMaster Athletic Department has yet to do anything to celebrate it. We saw a number of different causes celebrated at games throughout February; #BellLetsTalk, Chinese New Year and a Pride Game to celebrate the LGBTQA2S+ community. But there has been nothing to celebrate BHM and Black student-athletes and that needs to change.
Almost every major McMaster team has at least one Black athlete. Some teams, like the men’s basketball team and the men’s football team have many more. Celebrating Black history month is acknowledging Black history, and Black athletes should be included in that celebration, given their contributions to Mac’s sports history.
Given everything Black Canadians have endured, the least we can do is acknowledge them. It was not that long ago when Black and white athletes were not allowed to play together, so for them to be able to have come this far and add significant contributions to sports is something worth celebrating.
Though we have not seen much from Marauder Nation, we do appreciate what the Equity and Inclusion Office has done this month to celebrate Black history at McMaster. A number of discussions have been held this month dealing with topics like Black Lives Matter and Blackness and Academia, as well as weekly movie screenings featuring Black centered films. And to wrap it all up they will be hosting the second annual Maroon in Black formal to celebrate the Black McMaster community. But these initiatives do not always reach the audience in the sports community, so it’s important we bring it to them.
Asking for the McMaster Athletic Department to celebrate BHM is not asking them to take away from all the other amazing causes they celebrate in the month of February, but to simply include them too. Whether it is through a t-shirt design like we saw done with Chinese New Year, or a panel discussion featuring Black student-athletes where they can share their experiences like we saw with #BellLetsTalk, or something else that is completely original and creative. As long as there is an effort being made, it will be appreciated.