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.

1. Connect: "Celebrating Black Achievements in Durham Region” Panel (7PM)

This event features a live virtual panel discussion with healthcare professionals, Dr. Adwoa Amamoo; Registered Nurse Natasha Gray; President of the Jamaican Canadian Association of Nurses Jacqueline Chen; and Advanced Care Paramedic Jamere Bembridge. Panelists will discuss their experiences as healthcare professionals during the pandemic. The event is hosted by Together We Rise Durham, a partnership between Durham Regional Police (DRPS), the Region of Durham, the Canadian Jamaican Club of Oshawa, DurhamONE, the Congress of Black Women—Oshawa/Whitby and The Power To Be International.

Visit https://11230188-durham-regional-police-service.azurewebsites.net/news/black-history-month-celebration/

 

2. 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, when a Black History Week was 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 https://hillnotes.ca/2020/02/03/black-history-month-key-dates-and-key-people/

 

3. Watch: Journey to Justice

"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 https://www.nfb.ca/playlists/nfb_celebrates_black_history_month/playback/#11

 

4. Read: Black History Month Beanstack Challenges with Pickering Public Library

Learn about the history of Black health and wellness in Canada, read about key historical figures, check out book recommendations honouring the Black experience, and reflect on the incredible contributions of Black Canadians. Log your reading and activities to earn badges all month long and be entered into a draw to win prizes!

Visit https://pickeringlibrary.ca/BHM/

 

5. Connect: Durham Black History Month Celebration - Day 1 (7-8PM)

Join Cultural Expressions Art Gallery Inc. and community partners for the 15th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration. This event is Durham's largest and longest running, free Black History Month event. Hosted by Charles Waterman, this year's event is themed "Fifteenth" and looks back at the momentous events that have shaped the tone and direction of diversity across Canada and Durham Region over the past 15 years. The event will feature a keynote by notable Canadian author and business owner, Itah Sadu, vocal performances by Kunle and hte Juno-nominated artist, Julian Taylor, spoken word performances by Black Star Spoken Word Team, storytelling by Kesha Christie, and electric dance and African drumming performances by Afiwi Groove. The event will also include the presentation of the 2022 Madiba Award in recognition of youth working to advance equity in their community.

Visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/15th-annual-durham-black-history-month-celebration-tickets-137073988991?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

 

6. Connect: Durham Black History Month Celebration - Day 2 (2-3PM)

Join Cultural Expressions Art Gallery Inc. and community partners for the 15th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration. This event is Durham's largest and longest running, free Black History Month event. Hosted by Charles Waterman, this year's event is themed ""Fifteenth"" and looks back at the momentous events that have shaped the tone and direction of diversity across Canada and Durham Region over the past 15 years. The event will feature a keynote by notable Canadian author and business owner, Itah Sadu, vocal performances by Kunle and hte Juno-nominated artist, Julian Taylor, spoken word performances by Black Star Spoken Word Team, storytelling by Kesha Christie, and electric dance and African drumming performances by Afiwi Groove. The event will also include the presentation of the 2022 Madiba Award in recognition of youth working to advance equity in their community.

Visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/15th-annual-durham-black-history-month-celebration-tickets-137073988991?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

 

7. Connect: Black Excellence in STEM Careers and Research (7PM)

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 https://www.pickeringlibrary.ca/BHM

 

8. Watch: Ice Breakers

"Josh Crooks is a promising teen hockey star in a sport where Black players like him are chronically underrepresented. Ice Breakers reveals the buried history of a pioneering Black hockey league in Atlantic Canada, as Crooks discovers that his unshakable passion is tied to a rich and remarkable heritage."

Visit https://www.nfb.ca/film/ice-breakers/

 

9. Read: 25 Books by Black Canadian Authors by CBC

February is Black History Month. CBC Books has selected 25 notable books by Black Canadian authors to read this month (and every month).

Visit https://www.cbc.ca/books/25-books-by-black-canadian-authors-to-read-in-2021-1.5908504

 

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 https://www.nfb.ca/playlists/nfb_celebrates_black_history_month/playback/#4

 

11. Visit: Reflection Prompts with Pickering Public Library

From February 11 to 19th, visit Pickering Public Library locations (Central, George Ashe, Claremont) to reflect on the themes of anti-Black racism, what it means to be an ally, and honouring Black joy. 

Visit https://pickeringlibrary.ca/BHM/

 

12. Visit: Canadian Museum for Human Rights featuring Sleeping Car Porters

Learn about "the struggle for Black labour rights on Canada's railways" and other important topics on Black history in Canada.

Visit https://humanrights.ca/story/sleeping-car-porters

 

13. 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 https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/203-the-secret-life-of-canada/episode/15671248-s2-the-province-of-jamaica

 

14. Shop: Black Business Showcase by Centennial College

Solv. and the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion present Centennial College’s Black Business Showcase throughout the month of February. Featuring over 40 Black-owned businesses in fashion, food, art and more, the Showcase offers multiple ways to engage with and support the innovative work of Black entrepreneurs from Toronto and neighbouring areas. During the month of February, celebrate Black History Month and join in the #CCSupportsLocal campaign by supporting these dynamic Black-owned businesses!

Visit https://www.centennialcollege.ca/about-centennial/centres-and-institutes/centre-for-global-citizenship-education-and-inclusion/black-history-month/ 

15. Watch: 5MFF Film Club - Honouring Film Legend Sidney Poitier

Join local filmmaker Romina Diaz for an evening of discussion in this special 5-Minute Film Fest event as we honour the late, great Sidney Poitier and his pioneering contributions to both the world of cinema and the early civil rights movement of the 1960s. We will highlight his 1961 film ""Paris Blues"" and discuss the relevant themes in the film. Please note that we will not be livestreaming the film. Attendees are strongly encouraged to watch the film for free on Hoopla before the event for a lively and engaging discussion: https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/13986343

 

16. Watch: Toronto Black Film Festival

Running from February 16 to 21, 2022, "The Toronto Black Film Festival is Canada’s largest celebration of Black History Month through Films and much more. TBFF is dedicated to celebrating the very best in cinematic work dealing with the experiences of black people from a diversity of communities. [TBFF's] mandate is to provide an opportunity for filmmakers from all ethnic backgrounds to shine the spotlight on authentic stories that reflect the realities of black experiences." 

Visit https://torontoblackfilm.com/toronto-black-film-festival-celebrates-its-10th-anniversary-feb-16-21-2022-online/

 

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  https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month/black-canadians.html

 

18. Visit: Africville Museum

For over a hundred years, the African Nova Scotian community resided in Africville. Located on the northern shore of Halifax Harbour, the community was destroyed in the 1960s to make way for industrial development. Forcibly relocated, the former residents of Africville and their descendants were scattered. This is an example of the “urban renewal” trend that destroyed similar neighbourhoods across Canada... The Africville museum stands as Black Heritage destination and a venue to remember the story of Africville and to recognize its contribution to Canadian and African diasporic history.

Visit https://africvillemuseum.org/

 

19. Reflect: In the words of 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 https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/536075/the-skin-were-in-by-desmond-cole/9780385686341

 

20. Register for a screening of "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I am" beginning at 10:00 am followed by a community discussion at 3:00 pm

This event is presented the Congress of Black Women of Canada, Ontario Region, Ajax/Pickering Chapter and Oshawa/Whitby Chapter. Registrants will be provided with a login link to view the moving and Zoom link to attend the discussion. 

Visit https://www.ajaxlibrary.ca

 

21. 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 https://blackhistorysociety.ca/

 

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 https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/381-radio-party-lines/episode/15780176-who-feels-served-and-protected

 

23. Connect: Womxn 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 https://wocdurham.ca/

 

24. Read: On Black Lives Matter and Black Activism

"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 https://uofrpress.ca/Books/U/Until-We-Are-Free

 

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 https://www.nfb.ca/playlists/nfb_celebrates_black_history_month/playback/#23

 

26. Reflect: In the words of 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 https://www.michaellejean.ca/detailed-biography

 

27. Listen: Pop Chat Podcast featuring: "Black Futures, with Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew"

Where do you begin to process the last four years? All the grief, the joy, the heaviness, the fear — it's all so much to unpack. But...you have to start somewhere. We start with New York Times writer and podcaster Jenna Wortham and curator and activist Kimberly Drew.

They give us their insights and reflections on the moment, and we talk about their new anthology book Black Futures, and how it reimagines possibilities for Black people.

Visit https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/438-pop-chat/episode/15819772-black-futures-with-jenna-wortham-and-kimberly-drew

 

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.ca and https://pickeringlibrary.ca/abrwg/