Black History Month at SAIT: Events, books and reflections on Black Joy

Profile photos of three people
Get involved #HereAtSAIT this February and learn about a key piece of Canadian history.

February is Black History Month

It's a time to learn about, honour and celebrate the legacy of Black people in Canada.

Learn more

In celebration of Black History Month, you’re invited to explore Black Joy through a number of resources and events courtesy of Black Empowerment and Excellence at SAIT (BEES), the Afro-Caribbean Student Club and SAIT.

See what’s happening around campus, peruse our curated reading list and hear from SAIT community members as they reflect on Black Joy this Black History Month.

💡 Black Joy, a term coined by writer and Black Joy Project founder Kleaver Cruz in 2015, describes experiences and expressions of joy in the lives of Black people. It uplifts Black culture and celebrates its vibrancy, while holding space for Black people to be themselves and build community.

🗨 “What does Black Joy mean to you?"

Profile photo of Gifty Siyaka


“I really love this year’s theme of Black Joy because personally, I think it signifies a kind of entering into a restfulness of mind, soul and spirit that is important in the lives of Black people in Canada. When we look back at the journeys and wins of our foundational Black Canadians and ancestors who were captured into slavery, one fundamental truth is evident: they held on to pockets of their joy in whatever capacity they could, even as they resisted and fought in various ways for their rights and dignity.

Black Joy is about basking in the truth that is quite apparent in our lives: that we (and our lives) are more than our struggles or challenges — the totality of our lives encapsulates both the challenges we face and the triumphs we experience. It is about decentering despair and tapping into the inner strength that has borne great and remarkable fruits over centuries. Black Joy could be found in simple moments like our cultural gatherings, our individual peaceful moments as we watch the sun set or rise, a moment of exhilaration as we break out in a dance, a chat with a friend or family, a song. Everything big or small that makes us who we are. Black Joy is not some exotic, evasive phenomenon that we have to try to step into — it’s already there in the everydayness of our lives and a key part of how we go on from generation to generation.”

- Rekiyat (Gifty) Siyaka, Faculty/Educational Developer, Centre for Academic Development and Innovation


Profile photo of Akuon Makuei


“Black Joy can look like so many different things at once. And to me, it aids in closing the gap that we still see sometimes — walking into a space where you are the only minority. I understand firsthand it can sometimes be discouraging, but to find joy — specifically Black Joy — in these spaces is very motivational to others in and around our communities. It is an experience that should continue to be shared and recognized in our society.”

- Akuon Makuei, second-year Business Administration (Marketing major) student


Profile photo of Hugh Baker


“This is a difficult question to answer. To me, Black Joy is being grateful for who I am. The way I hold on to it is by thinking of my children and understanding it is up to me to show them a positive example.”

- Hugh Baker, Communications Coordinator, Office of the Registrar

📅 Plan your month

From an artists’ discussion panel to a student-led celebration, there are so many ways to participate in Black History Month. There are limited spots for most events — sign up to claim yours!

  • Lunch and Learn — Financial Literacy: Navigating the Canadian Investment Environment 💰
    Thursday, Feb. 8
    Join Festus Adebisi, Accounting Instructor in the School of Business, to learn the fundamentals of investing in Canada. This session will be particularly helpful to newcomers to Canada but is open to the entire SAIT community. Lunch will be provided.
  • 2024 BHM Fest 💃🏾
    Thursday, Feb. 15
    Join us for an unforgettable experience filled with music, dance performances, photo ops and games hosted by the Afro-Caribbean Student Club and Black Empowerment and Excellence at SAIT (BEES). No registration required.
  • Speakers Panel: A Celebration of Black Joy through the Arts 🎨
    Tuesday, Feb. 27
    Discover the central role of the arts in Black lives, Black excellence and resistance. Hear from accomplished artists in the community who are helping to foster Black Joy through their diverse work.
  • Inclusion Talks | Documentary Review: Speak It! 🎬
    Wednesday, Feb. 28
    Join SAIT employee Hugh Baker and student Elias Kasamba for an insightful conversation and screening of the 28-minute documentary Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia. Popcorn will be provided!

💻 Teams and Zoom backgrounds | Update your Zoom background for Black History Month with special graphics found under “Holidays and national days” on

🔎 Complete a team scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes

BEES and SAIT’s Alumni and Development department have joined forces to create a scavenger hunt celebrating the creativity, resilience and vibrancy of Black culture. Teams of two to four members can work together to follow the clues around campus before submitting their answers to Prizes are up for grabs for the teams with the most correct answers (random draws will be held in the event of a tie):

Gather your classmates or colleagues, study the clues and let the adventure begin! View full contest rules.

📚 Recommended books

The Reg Erhardt Library collaborated with BEES to hand pick a selection of physical and ebooks for Black History Month on the theme of Black Joy. Here’s a sneak peek — find the full list in the library’s monthly digest.

Black History Month book list

✨ Connect with the SAIT community

Building a more inclusive campus, together

Learn more about SAIT’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, including recent accomplishments and what we’re working on.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Commitment to Excellence

We prepare students for successful careers and lives.

Strategic plan

a view of the moutains and stream in between

Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.