A note from the Students’ Union president
When I was first asked to write the foreword to the African Heritage Month edition of The Xaverian Weekly, I was excited but simultaneously anxious. In a book, the foreword often decides whether the reader will turn the page or not. I am hoping that what I write will encourage you not only to look to the next page, but also to read the whole edition of this paper. The special contributors for this month are students that you see and interact with everyday and we all share a special characteristic. We are black. Not only are we black, but we go to school at a historically white university.
You might notice that students of African descent stick out at StFX, this is because we do. By the colour of our skin, by how we express ourselves, by our culture, and most significantly, by the oppression we face by virtue of our existence. I do not point out the last because I am attempting to be controversial, but because experiencing oppression is embedded in the lived experience of being black in Canada. In this country, it is impossible to talk about the experience of blackness without talking about racism. In that same vein, talking about racism is also part of the natural discourse of the black people on this campus; we talk about it all the time. If you are not black/person of colour, do not have black friends, or perhaps have black friends who do not talk about racism around you, this may come as a surprise. Nonetheless, it is true. When you read through the pages of this newspaper, the student contributors will talk about what it means to be black, why we are proud of our heritage, what it is to be from a different country, the identity of our people’s heroes and sheroes, and why we continue to celebrate African Heritage Month and dedicate newspaper editions in its honour. My hope then for you, the reader, is to open your mind, heart, and soul to the possibility of reading something that makes you uncomfortable. When you get that weird twinge, ask yourself why you are feeling that way. If you can answer that question honestly, my hope is that you do not sit idly by with your gut churning, but instead you stand up and do something. A whole group of students are opening up about what its like to be them. Use this edition as an opportunity, as a moment to learn, but more importantly as a chance to change.