Toronto Mayor kicks off Black History Month to celebrate Black Canadians through Feb

Black History Month 2024. Image credit: X/@cityoftoron

#Toronto; #TorontoMayor; #BlackHistoryMonth; #BlackCanadians, #Feb2024BlackHistoryMonth, #OliviaChow

Toronto/CMEDIA: Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow has reportedly proclaimed Feb as Black History Month and launched the City of Toronto’s annual celebration of Black Canadians’ heritage, traditions and culture. 

“It is an honour to proclaim Black History Month through February in Toronto…Throughout the year and especially this month…Torontonians to learn about the history and ongoing contributions of Black changemaker…to acknowledge and stand up against systemic anti-Black racism and oppression, which has absolutely no place in our communities,” Olivia was reported saying in a news release.

2024 marks 45 years of proclamation of Black History Month since Toronto became the first municipality in Canada, through the efforts of the Ontario Black History Society including many other individuals and organizations.

Recognizing the contributions of Black Canadians, Black History Month serves to educate, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics, human rights and more in Toronto.

Besides the month-long observance, the City works throughout the year on the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, which endorsed by City Council in 2017 responding to the priorities identified by Toronto’s diverse Black communities.

Although the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which was officially adopted  In 2019 by Toronto city ends this year, the City has continued to amplify its work through the action plan to align with the three themes of the Decade: Recognition, Development and Justice

Information on the action plan is available on the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism webpage.

Black History Month 2024 Events and Activities this year include

  • Exhibit: Print Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s newspaper at Mackenzie House
  • Black Money Talk and exhibit: African Diaspora and Histories and World Currencies at Blackhurst Cultural Centre
  • Why? – a presentation by Matthew Burnett of his musical journey at Todmorden Mills
  • Storytelling and poetry readings with local Black authors in multiple locations
  • Ekow Nimako Studios’ exhibition: Wawa Aba and Dane Dane – Building Black Civilizations: Journey of 2000 Ships at Clark Centre for the Arts
  • Black Frequency exhibition at Clark Centre for the Arts
  • Free community workshops focused on artmaking for Black wellness and stress relief at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre
  • Good Vibes Family Day weekend at Todmorden Mills
  • Canada Black Music Archive celebration at City of Toronto Archives
  • Just Us photographic exhibition showcasing StreetARToronto mural projects at Worth Gallery
  • Black Vendors Markets at Ellesmere and Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ Community Centres

A comprehensive list of in-person and online events and activities led by Toronto History Museums, Cultural Centres, Toronto Public Library and community groups – including what to expect and schedules – can be found on the City’s Black History Month webpage.

“Black History Month serves as a crucial juncture for the Black Canadians summed up in one word, ‘Sankofa’’…to reflect on our history, celebrate our remarkable achievements…the opportunities yet untapped. The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism …paved the way for revitalizing public spaces, economic empowerment..of Black people in Toronto… the spirit of ‘Sankofa’ alive and maintain the momentum of this significant work in the days and future years to come,” Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre), Chair of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee has said.

The City of Toronto this year invites residents and visitors to participate in a wide range of Black History Month events including storytelling and poetry readings, Black vendors markets, exhibitions, history and art tours and musical performances.