This Black History Month, we find anti-Black racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of our conversations and dialogue more than ever before and we welcome this increasing awareness and laser focus on this conversation at all levels. While we can say Canada has made great strides in addressing issues of race and racism, we can also say with all honesty, that racism and anti-Black racism, continues to be an issue in our society. We know more work is needed from all Canadians and organizations, including Pride Toronto, to get us where we need to be as a global community.
Many people see Black History Month is a time to celebrate the numerous contributions Black/African people have made to our society, and we definitely need to acknowledge and celebrate both the people and their accomplishments. However, it is also a time of deep reflection as we remember the many Black/African lives, especially the lives of our Black/African Trans sisters and 2SLGBTQ+ community members, that were tragically lost to senseless acts of violence, where Black/African people are targeted solely because of the colour of their skin.
This year, we want to put out a challenge to everyone to take a quiet moment to reflect on the many Black lives that have been lost and damaged which no one was held accountable for.
We have all heard statements like, “All Lives Matter” to fight back at the well-articulated statement of Black Lives Matter, which finally acknowledges the centuries of anti-Black racism and lived experiences of Black people being treated like they are invisible and less than. It is long past the time for us to engage in senseless discourse about all people being the same when Black people continue to be economically disadvantaged on numerous levels and have poorer health outcomes than most members of society, right here in Canada. 2020 has shown us, all lives matter but Black Lives Matter too!
At Pride Toronto, we are doing our part to address some of the historic wrongs and calling on all individuals, organizations, and levels of Government to do the same. We must stand up and work towards eliminating inequality and injustice in our society at all levels, and in particular, we must address systemic and institutional racism that continues to create barriers for members of the Black community.
This year Pride Toronto has planned activities for Black History Month that encompass three core pillars. We want to showcase the beauty, diversity and resiliency of the Black community, empower the most marginalized in our ranks and celebrate Black Queer Joy throughout the Month of February. Join us for our Black History Month event series which includes;
Social Determinants of Health
Fri Feb 5th, 1:00 PM
How can Black 2SLGBTQ+ folks access the healthcare system safely? and in what ways can we as the BIPOC community look after our own health? This workshop is hosted by Simone Atungo. Simone possesses over 30 years’ experience as an Executive Leader in the community-based not-for-profit and public sector organizations.
Facilitated by Simone Atungo.
Know Your Rights
Fri Feb 19th, 1-2:00 PM
Receive fundamental tools on how to navigate the legal system and protect yourself during encounters with the police.
Facilitated by BLACK (Black Legal Action Centre).
Fri Feb 12th, 1-1:30 PM
How to handle an oppressive environment and navigate whiteness in the workspace while standing your ground.
Facilitated by Tenniel Brown, BA, MSW, RSW, of the Centre of Oppressive communication.
Fri Feb 26th, 1-1:45 PM
Mind, body, and soul, have the power to help us overcome triumphs and tribulations.
Join us for group meditation and to learn the tools you need to build self-love, self-confidence and self-care.
Facilitated by Raia Carey, Coach Carey
Rise Up – The Grande Finale Event
Sun Feb 28th, 2- 4 PM
A new annual Pride Toronto event for Black History Month, bringing the Black 2SLGBTQ+ community together (virtually this year) in the spirit of fellowship, healing, love & entertainment. Celebrating our people, their accomplishments & looking forward to the everchanging future. Hosted by the amazing Jada (Shada) Hudson with a performance from some of the great talents in our community. They will keep you entertained & will make you RISE UP!
All events will be a safer space for Black 2SLGBTQ+ community members and allies.
Please register in advance online at pridetoronto.com/calendar
Another way of celebrating Black History Month, we would also like to invite you to:
- Read a book by a Black author that speaks of the experience of Anti-Black Racism and the struggle to end racism in Canada.
- Donate to a Black-led or Black-identified organization working on ending Anti Black Racism in our society.
- Shop and Support Black-owned local businesses.
- Run for elected office or support a Black candidate to run for office at all levels of government; Check out Operation Vote Black Canada (OBVC); a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization focused on expanding the talent pool of future elected Black leaders in government at the Municipal, Provincial, and Federal levels.
- Most importantly, STAND UP and STOP being silent to Anti-Black Racism and injustice.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” —Barack Obama
Stay Proud, Stay Safe
Executive Director, Pride Toronto