“History is power. History is self-determination. Those who have power to exercise self-determination have power to control the writing and promotion of their history. Therefore, celebrating Black history and Black History Month is more than a perfunctory exercise that acknowledges Black people throughout the African Diaspora and Africa. Teaching, researching, and promoting the history of a globally subordinated and subjugated racial group is an innocuous yet profoundly revolutionary act of self-determination.”
Black History Month officially starts on February 1 in Canada (tomorrow!). It's an opportunity for us to celebrate and highlight the achievements of Black Canadians and reflect on their accomplishments, stories, and experiences.
This February 2022 the theme is: February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day We've compiled some local and online events to attend this month. Check it out!
When? Feb 1–28, 2022
Where? Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto
Description: Toronto's largest and longest-running Black Futures Month festival. Through music, dance, theatre, educational workshops and literary events, the festival aims to support and help strengthen Toronto's Black community by connecting the future to its past.
When? Friday evening, February 4th, 6:30-9:30pm ET
Where? Virtual! Note that the Zoom link will be sent out the day of the event via email.
Description: Listen to and engage with guest author Dani McClain, whose writing focuses on race, reproductive justice, policy, and politics. In 2019, she published We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood. The event will also let attendees view newly acquired artwork from internationally known Nigerian artist Ben Ibebe.
When? Throughout February
Description: Not so much an event, but the CBC Books blog will highlight the work and achievements of black Canadian literary talents throughout February. You can check out their page to watch/listen to interviews, discover great reads, and take quizzes.
When? Thursday, February 10, from 6 to 7:45 p.m. ET
Description: The Law Society of Ontario, along with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and the Ontario Association of Black Paralegals, will be hosting an virtual event. During this event, a panel of legal professionals and leaders in education will examine the impacts of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) on BIPOC people and communities.
When? Saturday, February 26, 2022 from - EST
Description: Waveland is holding a virtual music festival featuring 100% Black Canadian performances! This year they are featuring artists as diverse as Juno award winner Sammy Jackson, RBC Bluesfest winner Michelle Hopkins, Canadian Idol runner up Gary Beals, powerhouse performer KHAY, and many more. Check out the free tickets here.
When? Wednesday February 16 – 21, 2022
Description: The Toronto Black Film Festival is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. This year the will be online programming and has a record number of 200 films from 30 countries.
When? Already out!
Where? You can listen to the episodes on Apple Podcast
Description: Not an event, but another great option: this podcast that came out in January 2020. It's a great option for those who don't have time to make it out to an event. Instead, throw on your earbuds and listen to a podcast which exploring Black history in Canada.
When? Thursday February 24th from 10:00 am - 12:30 pm EST
Description: The University of Toronto is offering a film screening and discussion: HERstory in Black.
HERstory in Black shares the experiences of 150 women who excel in their field, who push for greater diversity and who help build vibrant communities. Directed by Emily Mills in recognition of Canada’s 150th celebration, the documentary is “intended to shine light on Black women – here and now.” The participants range from the first Black woman to become an elected Law Society of Upper Canada bencher for the Toronto region, to a dedicated volunteer who works with several not-for-profits, to Black women influencing the fields of arts, media, science, engineering, law and others. Register here (for free!).
When? Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 7:00pm ET
Description: Gain a new perspective on the rich heritage of Black communities and individuals in Essex County during the eras of slavery, abolitionism and the Underground Railroad. Discover key contributions of notable Black Canadians and their individual and collective efforts to resist injustice. Commonly held myths regarding Black history in the region will also be dispelled in this session alongside historian Irene Moore Davis. Register and read more here.