Beat goes on during Black History Month at DC

Durham College (DC) showcased its multicultural heritage by offering students and employees a variety of ways to embrace Black History Month in February.

DC’s Diversity Office hosted the Professional and Mentorship event on February 18, in partnership with the Congress of Black Women. Two hundred college students, as well as 12 high school students, were able to meet and connect with a diverse group of Black professionals from the community. This annual event provides an opportunity for students to hear about education choices and career paths.

“Black History Month is about awareness,” said Allison Hector-Alexander, diversity officer at DC. “It gives an opportunity for people of all cultures to celebrate and learn about the Black community.”

This year, DC students were also invited to embrace the rhythm within at an interactive drumming circle hosted in The Pit by Babarinde Williams. Students were welcome to grab a drum and join Williams, originally from Nigeria, as he shared stories and explained the spirit of Ubunto, the essence of being human.

“Humanity connects us all,” said Williams. “Everybody has rhythm. The first rhythm we hear is our mother’s heartbeat inside the womb. This heartbeat is responsible for all music.”

In African communities, the drum is used for many purposes. Williams brought with him a collection of Djemba, traditional African drums made from a single piece of wood. He encouraged students to participate by starting with a simple rhythm. He asked them to mimic the rhythm of their heartbeat. He then began teaching them the words and rhythms to more complicated songs. In no time, The Pit was filled with the sound of DC students and staff celebrating together.

“They are not my band,” explained Williams as he gestured to everyone drumming in unison around him. “I’ve never met them before! Drumming brings people together.”