University of Calgary

Drums for Diversity

Campus-wide musical event to put spotlight on racial discrimination

By Diana Bumstead

Music is the language of the soul and according to Native American tradition, drums are the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

Student Dylan Jones will be one of the performers in Drums for Diversity, Voices for Change. Jones  (front centre) will be joine

Student Dylan Jones will be one of the performers in Drums for Diversity, Voices for Change. Jones (front centre) will be joined by his crew: (clockwise from left) Chantal Eves, Mac Crowe, M.J.L.K., Context and CWillz. / Photo: Ken Bendiktsen
“Music draws communities together. It transcends barriers of language and ethnicity and reminds us of what is essentially human: the rhythms of heart, breath and feet, the commonality of emotions,” says musicologist and cultural historian Marcia Jenneth Epstein of the Faculty of Communication and Culture.

This was what members of the University of Calgary’s March 21/Stop Racism Committee had in mind when they conceived of Drums for Diversity, Voices for Change—an event to be held March 18 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Performers from across campus and the Calgary community will bring the halls alive with the sound of music.  The event is free, participatory and open to all. 

“This is a great opportunity for all people to come together and call for a message of peace, unity and understanding,” says student rapper Dylan Jones, who will perform with his band The Raptivists.

From 11:30 a.m. to noon, musicians, singers and drummers will be playing at venues across campus. At 12:30 p.m. the campus community is invited to converge at  MacEwan Student Centre’s North Courtyard for a grand musical finale with social activist and renowned blues musician Gary Martin and the Heavenly Blues.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination stems from an incident on March 21, 1960, when 69 people were killed and many more injured when police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa.  

This event has been made possible by the Students’ Union, the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, the Centre for International Students and Study Abroad, The Native Centre, the Women’s Resource Centre, Human Resources, the Faculty Association of the U of C, Xerox and many volunteers.

More information: www.ucalgary.ca/stopracism.