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February is Black Heritage Month

Black History Month, celebrated every February, is a time for celebration of Black Culture and Heritage, and recognition of the many accomplishments of the black community both here in Canada, and around the world.

This year, in solidarity with the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS), University of Guelph’s Cultural Diversity Office, and Guelph Black Student’s Association, Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County will recognize this February as ‘Black Heritage Month’, in recognition that this month is about much more than a reflection on black history. You can find more information about this change here.

This, February, the Guelph Black Heritage Society is encouraging the community to focus on “honouring the past, celebrating today, and looking forward to the future”. And while we acknowledge that Black Heritage Month is an important time in which to celebrate black heritage, we recognize that this should by no means stop when February comes to an end.  

Aside from offering many opportunities for celebration, this month also offers a renewed opportunity to reflect critically on racial disparities that continue to deeply and personally impact the lives of Black/African Canadians, and Black/African citizens worldwide, and an opportunity to thoughtfully examine the ways in which we can inspire positive change as an organization and a community.

As an organization, we are deeply committed to building capacity and developing strategies that support anti-oppression and equity in child welfare. This includes supporting equitable outcomes for children and families, and especially Black/African Canadian and Indigenous children and families. This work includes the implementation of Race Equity Practices within our agency, and other activities supported by the One Vision One Voice initiative; the work of our Anti-Oppression and Equity Committee, and our Anti-Black Racism Committee; ongoing equity training for all staff; the implementation of Anti-Oppression and Equity policies and procedures; the other important initiatives.

This month, let’s take the lead of the Guelph Black Heritage Society, and take this important opportunity to raise awareness about and celebrate Black/African Culture and Heritage; reflect on and tackle racial inequality and social injustice; and inspire positive change within our homes, our neighbourhoods, our workplaces, our community, and beyond. In solidarity with the Guelph Black Heritage Society, we too believe that #ChangeStartsNow.

Please check out the list of resources and events below. We look forward to (virtually) attending some of the below events, and exploring some of the below resources this month – and we encourage you to do the same!

Below, please see a video message on Black Heritage Month by Sheila Markle, Executive Director of Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County.

Black Heritage Month Events

AFTERSHOCK Art Display – Monday, February 1st at 6:00 pm – You can register for this online event here

Celebrations and Revelations 2021 – A Free online concert in celebration of Black History Month – Monday, February 1st at 8:00 pm – You can register for this online event here

Black Leadership in Anti-Black Spaces with MPP Laura Mae Lindo – Thursday, February 4th at 6:00 PM – You can register for this online event here

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Cheryl Thompson Author Visit – Thursday, February 4th at 7:00 PM – you can register for this online event here

Canadian Black History in the Making: Youth Panel – Monday, February 8th at 7:00 PM – you can register for this online event here

OBHS Black History Month Speaker Series – Tuesday, February 9th at 7:00 PM – you can register for this online event here

The Anti-Black Racism Workshop with Selam Debs – Wednesday, February 10th at 6:00 PM – you can register for this online event here

The 9th annual Toronto Black Film Festival (#TBFF21) – held ONLINE from February 10 to 21, 2021 – to register, please visit their website

Guelph Black Students Association presents: Black + Mental Health + Matters – Wednesday, February 17th at 6:00 PM – you can register for this online event here

OVOV PowerUp Youth Symposium for Black/African Youth in Care – Wednesday, February 24th from 12pm – 3pm (on Zoom). Registration now closed.

Stirrin’ the Pot: Afro-Caribbean Cooking Class – Thursday, February 25th at 7:00 PM – you can register for this online event here

Musical performance by Aisha Barrow – Friday, February 26th at 7 pm – you can watch the performance here

Books, Videos, Podcasts and Other Resources

Curated Resource Lists:

You can find an incredible resource list created by the Guelph Black Heritage Society, including books, movies, videos and more, for those seeking factual, curated information on Black history and issues here, on the Guelph Black Heritage Society’s website:

The Office of Diversity and Human Rights at the University of Guelph has developed a great list of resources on Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. You can find the list here:

Podcasts/Ted Talks/Videos:

The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – TEDGlobal 2009:

CBC’s ‘Being Black in Canada’

TED Talks to Celebrate Black History Month

A curated list of videos by the National Film Board for Black History Month

Black Communities in Canada: A Rich History – The National Film Board

Curated Resource Lists and Resources for Children and Youth:

An Anti-Racist Reading List for Kids created by Chapters/Indigo:

An Anti-Racist Reading List for Youth created by Chapters/Indigo:

A list of books for kids & youth compiled by A Different Booklist (A Black owned bookstore in Toronto) that centres on Blackness, Indigeneity, racism and activism:

A list of children’s books for kids that speak to racism and discrimination (Essence Magazine):

CNN Sesame Street: Coming Together Town Hall, an episode for young children speaking to racism and discrimination:

Museums and Historically-Focused Resources

The below list of Museums and Historic Sites (though not open right now) contain some great resources: