The City of Pickering proudly joins all residents, organizations, and community partners across Durham Region in celebrating Black History Month as we collectively honour and centre the experiences, histories, contributions, and achievements of diverse Black communities in Canada and around the world. Throughout the month of February and beyond, we encourage staff, residents and community partners to take time to learn, reflect and engage in the many initiatives across Durham Region that honour Black Excellence.

Below is a curated collection of activities that you can participate in each day of the month. Click on each of the activity prompts to access links to each resource.

February 1

Reflect: "Black history is Canadian history." - Honourable Jean Augustine

Augustine was the first Black woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1993. In 1995, she put forth a motion before Parliament to recognize February as Black History Month, which passed unanimously. The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to February 1926, first launched by scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Black History Month was formally celebrated in the United States in the 1960s. By 1979, Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month.

Visit Hill Notes

February 2

Connect: Together We Rise: Excellence Through the Arts

Join us for Together We Rise Durham: Excellence Through the Arts. The celebration will feature keynote speaker Cameron Bailey, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Enjoy an evening with Black talent, showcasing artistic displays with live music, performances and refreshment.

February 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 72 Queen Street, Oshawa.

Visit EventBrite

February 3

Watch: The Woman King

A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. Starring Viola Davis.

Visit IMDB

Visit Pickering Library

February 4

Connect: Cultural Expressions – 16th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration

Durham’s longest-running and most extensive, free Black History Month event, celebrating the beauty of Black culture and the diversity of the Black experience in Durham region. This year's theme, FOCUS, invites our community to look at the Black History and Black History-Makers right here at home. The people to inspire us, the resources we need to grow, and the networks that can lift us are all in our backyard.

Join us for community networking starting at 5 pm on Saturday, followed by performances by local artists, presentation of the annual Madiba award, and a keynote presentation in the J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate auditorium.

Tune in on Sunday at 2 pm for more programming as we live stream educational content including our series, Did You Know.

Visit EventBrite

February 5

Read: Black Looks: Race and Representation by Bell Hooks

In these twelve essays, bell hooks digs ever deeper into the personal and political consequences of contemporary representations of race and ethnicity within a white supremacist culture. 

Visit Bell Hooks Books

Visit Pickering Library

February 6

Connect: Black History Month Symposium - What has Changed: The Role of Attitudinal Barriers to Advancing Black Inclusion (Virtual)

Keynote address followed by a panel discussion with Black leaders within post-secondary education.

Panelists Include:
Dr. Andrew Campbell, Assistant Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
Teeanna Monro, Project Coordinator, Black Perspectives Office, Concordia University
Nancy Simms, Ed.D. Candidate, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Visit UofT Black History Month

February 7

Connect: Black Excellence in STEM Careers and Research

Margaret Ikape, PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, shares her passion for science, her journey, and research interests in the fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Hosted in partnership with Vaughan Public Libraries.

Visit Pickering Library

February 8

Watch: Exterminate All the Brutes

This Documentary Series directed and written by Raoul Peck, is an eye-opening journey through time, offering an incisive look at the history European colonialism in Africa and the Americas. The groundbreaking series explores the lasting impact of genocide on society today, pushing the boundaries of traditional documentary filmmaking by weaving in scripted scenes starring Josh Hartnett. Across four episodes, Peck deconstructs the making and masking of history, digs deep into the ideology of white supremacy, and challenges audiences to rethink the very notion of how history is written.

Visit IMDB

February 9

Connect: Visit Pickering Public Library

Visit Pickering Public Library and pick up a book, movie, or audio book from their vast selection of Black Authors and Directors. Take a look at their curated Staff Lists to find exactly what you’re looking for!

February 10

Watch: Remember Africville

“Africville, a small black settlement, lay within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1960s, the families who lived there were uprooted and their homes demolished in the name of urban renewal and integration. Now, more than twenty years later, the site of the community of Africville is a stark, under-utilized park. Former residents, their descendants and some of the decision-makers, speak out and, with the help of archival photographs and films, tell the story of that painful relocation.”

Visit NFB

February 11

Connect: 2MixUP x 6ixPoetsSociety Paint Night & Open Mic

A night filled with live painting, creative interactive writing workshops plus an open mic segment to wrap up this beautiful night of creativity.

Our lovely instructors, Shenny And Dee are excited to bring forth this collaborative event showcasing all the black excellence we are surrounded by.

Visit EventBrite

February 12

Watch: Virtual Movie Screening - Journey to Justice 

Presented in partnership with the Congress of Black Women of Canada, Ajax/Pickering Chapter and Ajax Library.

"This documentary pays tribute to a group of Canadians who took racism to court. They are Canada's unsung heroes in the fight for Black civil rights. Focusing on the 1930s to the 1950s, this film documents the struggle of 6 people who refused to accept inequality. Featured here, among others, are Viola Desmond, a woman who insisted on keeping her seat at the Roseland movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946 rather than moving to the section normally reserved for the city's Black population, and Fred Christie, who took his case to the Supreme Court after being denied service at a Montreal tavern in 1936. These brave pioneers helped secure justice for all Canadians. Their stories deserve to be told."

Visit Ajax Library

February 13

Connect: Black Excellence in STEM Careers: Diversity in Engineering (Virtual)

Join the Pickering Public Library as they showcase Black Excellence in Engineering with a feature presentation by Electrical Engineer and Energy specialist Gary Thompson, PEng.

As an Engineering practitioner and advocate for Diversity in Engineering, Gary Thompson shares his experiences and opportunities for success in this STEM field.

This event will be presented live on Zoom and is presented in partnership with Durham and York Region Libraries.

Visit Pickering Library

February 14

Listen: Secret Life of Canada podcast featuring: "The Province of Jamaica"

This episode we take a look at early Caribbean migration to Canada and reveal which islands could have become Canadian provinces. We also dive into the history of Black railway porters and how they and their wives made Winnipeg a hub of labour activism in Canada.

Visit CBC Listen

February 15

Watch: The Hate U Give

Observe, analyze and unpack impacts of systemic anti-black racism on people and communities through the streaming of The Hate U Give. Observe the story of a young teen, Star, who is challenged, tried and endured through experiences of discrimination, police brutality and social and systemic racism.

The Hate U Give is a movie based on the award-winning novel written by Angie Thomas. The film follows Starr Carter, who is constantly switching between two worlds -- the poor, mostly black neighbourhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is soon shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and decide to stand up for what's right.

Visit IMDB

Visit Pickering Library

February 16

Shop: Support Black-Owned Businesses in your community!

Visit to find local black owned businesses.

Visit Canada Black Owned Marketplace in the Pickering Town Centre

Dine-in or order out from one of Pickering's Black Owned Restaurants:


February 17

Learn: Notable Historical Figures

Compiled by the Government of Canada, this curated list features the biographies of some notable Black individuals who have helped shape Canadian heritage and identity, and who have made and continue to make enormous contributions to all sectors of society in Canada.

Visit Gov't of Canada

February 18

Connect: Black History Month Drumming Workshop

Celebrate Black History Month with Toronto Public Library and Afro Latin drummers Joaquin Nunez and Dyalis Machado in a special workshop. The workshop will be an authentic experience of afro roots and culture in Latin music.

Visit Toronto Public Library

February 19

Reflect: Desmond Cole

"And the rhetoric, the resistance and the seriousness and the pageantry of Black resistance is something that I truly appreciate. Because we’re not just pushing back. We’re showing how our light is inside. Like we’re letting that light out.” - Desmond Cole

Cole is a Toronto-based Black activist, freelance journalist and author of bestseller and award-winning book, The Skin We’re In, which chronicles systemic anti-Black racism and Black resistance in Canada throughout the year 2017.

Visit Penguin Random House

Visit Pickering Library

February 20

Learn: Ontario Black History Society

Founded in 1978, the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS), is the organization in Canada that is at the forefront in the celebration of Black history and heritage with a demonstrated record in the study, preservation and promotion of Black history in Ontario. The OBHS is also the only Ontario Provincial Heritage Organization of the Ministry of Culture devoted to Black history and heritage. The OBHS was responsible for initiating the formal celebration of Black History Month at all levels of government.

Visit Black History Society

February 21

Connect: Afrobeats Dance Workshop with Afiwi Groove School (7-12yrs)

Afrobeats Dance Workshop with Afiwi Groove School (7-12yrs)

Come and get your groove on with Afiwi Groove School Afrobeats dance class! This workshop offers a fusion of contemporary modern and West African dance styles that reflects the evolution of movement and spirit.

Visit Pickering Library

February 22

Listen: Party Lines Podcast featuring: "Who feels served and protected?"

Elamin was ready to talk about something else this week — anything else, but recent events have forced another heavy conversation about structural, anti-Black racism. The protests unfolding in cities across the continent are responding to issues that are not strictly American. The concern around police brutality and the relationships between police forces and Black communities is a live issue in Canada, too. Some are calling to defund, redefine or divest from the police — but what might that look like? Rosie and Elamin explore what some are proposing, while also examining how police forces are funded across the country.

Visit CBC Listen

February 23

Connect: Women of Colour Durham Collective

WOCDC is a youth-led community organization in Durham Region, Canada that is run by, for, and with Black, Indigenous and other self-identified womxn of colour from the ages 16-29, with the purpose of making space for support and community. 

Visit WOC Durham

February 24

Read: Until We are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada

"The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 by a white assailant inspired the Black Lives Matter movement, which quickly spread outside the borders of the United States. The movement’s message found fertile ground in Canada, where Black activists speak of generations of injustice and continue the work of the Black liberators who have come before them. Edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, and Syrus Marcus Ware, "Until We Are Free" contains some of the very best writing on the hottest issues facing the Black community in Canada. It describes the latest developments in Canadian Black activism, organizing efforts through the use of social media, Black-Indigenous alliances, and more."

Visit UofR Press

Visit Pickering Library

February 25

Watch: Home Feeling: Struggle for Community

"This feature documentary takes us to the heart of the Jane-Finch "Corridor" in the early 1980s. Covering six square blocks in Toronto's North York, the area readily evokes images of vandalism, high-density subsidized housing, racial tension, despair and crime. By focusing on the lives of several of the residents, many of them black or members of other visible minorities, the film provides a powerful view of a community that, contrary to its popular image, is working towards a more positive future."

Visit NFB

February 26

Connect: BlackLit Duham: Respect our Canadian BlackLit Elders

For Black History Month 2023, BlackLit Durham is teaming up with Dundurn Press to present a line-up of talented and accomplished Black Canadian literary voices to uplift your souls, open your minds, and burn a message of love and resistance into your hearts. 

Visit Ajax Library

February 27

Reflect: Michaelle Jean

“Awareness of one’s roots, of one’s own place on the arc of history is critical. My life is intimately intertwined between South and North, between lands of resistance, and the legacies of formidable struggles.” - Michaelle Jean

Jean came to Canada as a Haitian refugee in 1968 and later became Canada’s first Black Governor General from 2005 to 2010.

Visit Michaelle Jean Detailed Bio

February 28

Connect: Pickering Anti-Black Racism Taskforce (PABRT) and Pickering Public Library Anti-Black Racism Working Group (ABRWG)

Join and support local community groups addressing anti-Black racism:

Rooted in community consultation and the sharing of lived experiences, the Pickering Anti-Black Racism Taskforce was created to identify and address issues of anti-Black racism in Pickering. The PABRT is made up of local residents, appointed through Council resolution, who represent diverse Black communities. It works in partnership with the City, residents, service providers, and other stakeholders to enhance the shared experience and opportunities afforded to Black residents; to coordinate opportunities for stakeholder and community engagement; to provide expertise and action on matters relating to anti-Black racism community initiatives; and, to celebrate and promote the Black community and Black culture.

The Pickering Public Library Anti-Black Racism Working Group (ABRWG) is a community based group, focusing on Library services with a lens of anti-Black racism. The ABRWG reviews community feedback and identified priorities, and collaborates with Library staff to create and implement action plans for improvements and enhancements. Recommendations and action plans will focus on identified systemic discrimination impacting the Library experience for community members who self-identify as Black. The ABRWG is currently seeking new members!

Visit PABRT and Pickering Library