A strong sense of community is important to Daleiah Barker. As president of the Afro-Caribbean Student Association at UNBC, Barker sees events that promote a deeper understanding of the different cultural backgrounds of our students, faculty and staff as a critical way to strengthen our community on campus.
When Daleiah Barker was considering universities, her top priorities were a strong academic program, a diverse student body and a supportive learning environment, but the list has evolved to include the importance of fostering a sense of community.
The graduate from Correlieu Secondary School in Quesnel says the University of Northern British Columbia fulfilled all her initial requirements and was an easy choice for post-secondary education.
Before moving to Quesnel, Daleiah and her family lived in a small town in the South American country of Guyana.
“My home community was tight-knit, everyone knew each other and looked out for each other. Growing up in this environment instilled in me a strong sense of community,” says Barker, who is now in the third year of a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Psychology.
This past fall, that commitment to community inspired Barker to take on the position of president of the Afro-Caribbean Student Association at UNBC. She says it’s been a great way to connect with new people, learn more about different cultures and become involved in activities and events that promote cultural understanding and appreciation.
As the club prepares to mark Black History Month, Barker says, “It’s a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people, but also a time to reflect on the struggles and challenges that Black people have faced throughout history. It is a reminder of the progress that has been made, as well as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
She sees events and activities celebrating the month as ways to further appreciation for the immense contributions Black people have made to society and provide a deeper understanding of the struggles they have faced throughout history.And Barker believes sharing experiences is crucial to connecting people and building community.
“I also hope that people will recognize the importance of acknowledging and celebrating Black history every day, and not just during the month of February.”