Overwhelmed with sub-zero temperatures, slippery icy roads and very busy
schedules, every year, Edmontonians are invited to participate in Black
History Month events that honor the legacy of black people, past and
present. From my time in Belgium and the UK, celebrations of black
achievement were close to non-existent. When I moved to Edmonton, it
became apparent that Black History Month makes sense and should be given
The irresistible passion and the leadership of National Black Coalition
(NBCC) Edmonton Chapter trademarked by their colorful booklet, Gospel
Concerts, Celebration Brunch and Awards of Excellence, led the show. In
2017, BHM launch will take place on Saturday, from noon to 6 PM at West
Edmonton Mall. A host of supporters and volunteers of NBCC attracted me to
my very first Black History Month launch at Londonderry Mall, Edmonton, in
2011. There, I met the tireless and exciting organizer in chief (for 10
years now), Joy Thomas. I visited exhibition's tables, had lots of fun as
I listened to informative and educative presentations on the achievements
of people of African descent across the world as I joined hundreds of
people from all races to enjoy fantastic artistic performances from music
to poetry. 2013 and 2014 have seen NBCC launch BHM in West Edmonton Mall.
Since 2011, my Black History Month involvement in Edmonton has witnessed
the proliferation of activities through various events. "Black History
Month is not only a period of celebration; it is also a period of
remembrance to make sure it does not happen again", Nii Koney, a local
Edmonton Historian and founder of Nile Valley Foundation, an organization
that has worked tirelessly to get black history in schools and now has a
section in Edmonton Achieves Library. Each year, during BHM, Nile Valley
celebrates the triumph of the human spirit¬ themed to remember five
hundred years of trans-Atlantic slave trade and to say never again.
Afro Quiz usher the kids into the past. Organized by Council of Canadians
of African and Caribbean Heritage (CCACH), Afro Quiz is an annual quiz
competition that celebrates the rich history of people of African descent
across the globe. AfroQuiz Silver Fundraising Gala will take place on
Saturday, January 28, from 6 PM to 1 AM at La Cité Francophone in
Where there are young people, there is passion and energy! Africa Centre
Edmonton use to be active on the BHM agenda with A 2014 events that
brought out its YEG youth group into action with a focus on challenging
and redefining what is "black".
Arts bring life! Darren Jordan has been presenting the BHM artistic
dimension through the event, 5 Artists 1 Love, for the last 10 years. The
event showcases black visual artists. The visual arts component gives the
Artists the opportunity to have their work showcased and promoted on a
large scale, as well as highlighting the cultural diversity within the
community. The “Evolution” version of the show will take place on February
18, 2017, at MacLab Theatre in Edmonton.
Where there are women, there is energy! Black History Month would not go
well without bringing in women to spice it up. This is where The Congress
of Black Women of Canada, Edmonton Chapter comes in for several years now
before running out of steam. "The Congress has developed a positive
working relationship with faith based group. To constantly re-examine its
objectives and purpose and adjust its efforts accordingly", Maureen Braun,
member of the Edmonton Chapter.
Within the last couple of years, African fashion has taken its place on
the BHM calendar, led by Giles Wouanko, with the next show scheduled for
February 24, 2017, at the Sutton Place Hotel in Edmonton.
Ahmed Abdulkadir and the Ogaden Somali Community of Alberta has flavoured
the BHM landscape with some intellectual dimension through their Annual
Social Justice Forum. 2017 edition will be held at Concordia University of
Edmonton on February 11-12, in Edmonton.
MLA David Shepherd representing Edmonton Centre has been sharing a
petition calling on the Alberta Government to create and pass legislation
establishing an annual African-Canadian Heritage Day. The petition will be
tabled in the Legislature at the start of 2017 Spring Session. “This is a
fantastic opportunity for all of our communities to come together to
celebrate the heritage, history and ongoing contributions of Albertans of
African descent, and it’s my hope that you’ll stand with me to make
it happen,” MLA David Shepherd shared at the Kenyan Independence Day event
on December 3, 2016.