Black Students’ Association Works with St. Thomas University to Introduce Kente Stole to Convocation
St. Thomas University’s Black Students’ Association has worked with the university to introduce the Kente Stole to St. Thomas University’s Convocation ceremony.
The wearing of a Kente Stole is significant for Black students because it commemorates the unique struggle they have endured and overcome to earn their degrees said Kryssonia Wedderburn, President of the STU Black Students’ Association.
“I am so excited to see this dream become reality. From my first year at STU, I have wanted to do this because Black students generally have a harder time matriculating due to disproportionate opportunities and struggles they face in society and struggles their ancestors experienced.”
“It is with a different sense of pride that Black students earn their degrees, pride for themselves, their families, and their ancestors. For me, wearing a Kente Stole would represent overcoming every obstacle I faced during my university journey. Every time I considered giving up, I would remind myself that others have sacrificed so I could be in the position I am today. So wearing a Kente Stole is a showcase of Black heritage, Black strength, and Black excellence.”
Donate to Support the Black Students’ Association Kente Stole Initiative
The Black Students’ Association is accepting donations to offset the cost of the stoles for Black students. If you would like to donate, please visit STU.ca/kentestole. Black students who wish to purchase or rent a Kente Stole for the 2022 Spring or Summer Convocations can also use this link to review the purchasing/renting options.
Wedderburn explained that the Kente cloth tradition is valued by those of African descent who reside outside the African continent as it honours the legacy of their ancestors and overcoming struggles of displacement. Each of the colors of the cloth holds meaning: red represents passion, gold represents status and serenity, black represents spiritual awareness, blue represents harmony and a pure spirit, green represents renewal, and yellow represents fertility.
St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor Dawn Russell said the university was pleased to help the Black Students’ Association achieve their goal and was immediately supportive of their proposal.
“I was so pleased to see our students step forward with a wonderful idea and work with our staff to make it a reality. Graduation is a personal achievement for each student and wearing a Kente Stole with a STU hood and gown will bring more meaning to our Black students as they celebrate their graduation along with their heritage and culture.”
The St. Thomas University Black Students’ Association was launched four years ago to promote solidarity among students of colour, and its mission is to create spaces conducive to discussions on race, allyship, inclusivity, and other topics.