Ways to mark Black History Month
February 10, 2022

Feb. 1 marks the start of Black History Month. Many of the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians have been erased or excluded from our national narrative, and this is an opportunity to acknowledge, value and celebrate them.

It’s also a chance to recognize the transformative work of Black Canadians today and to give visibility to the people and organizations creating meaningful change.

There are a number of ways you can honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities, and recommit to your own learning this month – and every day.


Attend an event at the college or in your community

Here are just a few upcoming Black History Month events open to all:

Celebrating Black History Today and Everyday

Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Join this virtual event hosted by the Shining Shield Foundation, in collaboration with JunCtian Community Initiatives. The theme is celebrating with joy, working on wellness, and exuding excellence. Access the event via Zoom: 850 6646 1739, passcode: 901577

Simcoe County Black History Month Kick-off Celebration

Friday, Feb. 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Various local community organizations have organized a virtual celebration that includes speakers, music, drumming, dance, spoken word and more.

Black History Month Orillia: We Are The Ones

Saturday, Feb. 12, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Join organizers Tshweu Moleme and Lala Kelsy-Braide for this special virtual panel discussion to celebrate Black History Month in Orillia.  This year’s keynote speaker will be Lakehead University’s incoming Chancellor, Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, who was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2005.  She will join other community panelists including singer/songwriter Zain Campbell.

See more events organized in Orillia.

Black and Canadian: Stories of Service

Saturday, Feb. 12 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

BAND and UPlift Black Arts have partnered to present an exhibition focusing on Black military history in Canada. Join the virtual talk, which will focus on the importance of documentation and archives, and will examine the process of record keeping and connecting history to the present.

Georgian College Black History Month Presentation and Community Panel

Monday, Feb. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Join us for a presentation and community panel on Monday, Feb. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.

  • One-hour presentation: Starting the Conversation (If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes), by Debbie Opoku-Mulder, Making Change
  • Community panel and Q&A: The Black Experience and the Future of Hope

PANELISTS:

Debbie will moderate the panel and invite the audience to ask questions.

This event is open to all Georgian employees, students and alumni, and brought to you by Georgian’s Centre for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDI&B) – in collaboration with faculty in Human Services and Community Safety, the Georgian College Students’ Association and Making Change.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER AND PANELISTS:

DebbieGeorgian College Chevron

Debbie holds a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. She’s a registered psychotherapist, speaker and mental health advocate. Debbie is passionate about equipping individuals and groups with the tools and resources needed to educate and motivate themselves to be innovative and creative. Her work is guided from an anti-oppressive, healing-focused, trauma-informed and anti-Black racism lens.  

As a therapist for 13 years, Debbie works to erase the stigma associated with mental health and giving people the tools they need to share their story and recognize they’re not alone on this journey. Debbie is proficient in providing trainings and her talks are informed by her direct experience with stigma and the mental health-care system. She brings her diverse and unique perspective to every audience.

ErrolGeorgian College Chevron

Errol is founder of Caring Concerts, an organization dedicated to helping youth in all communities – with a special focus on underserved communities – reach academic and personal achievement through character education concert presentations. As a singer, songwriter, motivational speaker, children’s author and advocate for youth, Errol has an ability to captivate and motivate audiences of all ages and effectively communicate his core belief that each person has unique inherent value. 

Errol is recipient of many awards and accolades. He has been featured in Literacy in Action and the Black Business and Professional Association’s Book of Excellence

GillianGeorgian College Chevron

Gillian ‘Rawberri’ has been a resident of Simcoe County for over 20 years after growing up throughout southern to central Ontario. Raised within a policing household, ‘Rawberri’ was familiar and interested in law enforcement but decided to follow her beliefs in fighting for the rights of herself and others, obtaining her Paralegal diploma. Through navigating school systems and workforce as a visible minority, she quickly learned there were many policies and procedures in place for protection of those who are often unaware of how to obtain that protection when needed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to further her education in systemic racism and its effects throughout the community, she formed an alliance with Shelly Skinner, Director of Advocacy, UPlift Black. Gillian later signed on as Co-chair of the local group Parents Against Racism Simcoe County. Through her community work with both of these organizations, she continues to consult and mentor others in the navigation of these systems through education, open discussions and activism.  

RoxannGeorgian College Chevron

Roxann is a trained child and youth practitioner, graduating at the top of her class from Georgian while working as VP of Community Engagement for the Georgian College Students’ Association. She holds a diploma in Education and has over 10 years of teaching experience, working with elementary and high school students in Jamaica. She has the distinct passion of advocating for, empowering, motivating, and inspiring young people. Most of her Canadian work experience revolves around children and youth from marginalized groups, with various disabilities and mental health conditions. She’s currently a Graduation Coach at Nantyr Shores Secondary School, one of the first two coaches with the Simcoe County District School Board. Her Caribbean upbringing and roots afford her the tenacity and resiliency skills needed to support this dynamic group. Roxann does everything with heart and soul, an imperative ingredient needed for the vulnerable sector in which she practices.

Roxann is a changemaker and backs up her values and beliefs with action. She’s the proud founder of the Black Education Empowerment (Scholarship) Fund, instituted to encourage and support Black students applying to Georgian while stimulating diversity. She’s the owner of Ms. Hotty Hotty Jerk Marinade, a company that produces authentic Jamaican Jerk Marinade; a published author of three books; a proud member of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care, Uplift Black, and Making Change; and a mother of two handsome boys, Akeem and Joshua. 

NandiGeorgian College Chevron

Nandi studies at Georgian’s Orillia Campus. In addition to completing her final semester, Nandi works as a peer mentor and Student Engagement and Outreach Assistant with the college’s Centre for EDI&B. In this role, Nandi is committed to fostering community, belonging and inclusion among racialized students at Georgian and making sure their voices are amplified. As a student of the Social Service Worker program, Nandi is committed to promoting diversity, de-colonization, anti-racism, equity, and inclusion within her community.

Black Voices, Black Authors

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 7 to 8 p.m.

Celebrate local Black authors and their stories. Organized by the Orangeville Public Library in partnership with the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association.

Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum Speaker Series

Various dates

Upcoming talks include one from Dr. Jean Augustine, the first black female Member of Parliament, first black female Cabinet Minister, first Fairness Commissioner in Ontario and introduced the Motion to declare February as Black History Month in Canada.


Educate yourself

Learning about the experiences of Black friends, colleagues, neighbours and community members extends far beyond Black History Month. We encourage you to sustain a commitment to change all year long by:

  • Reading articles and books
  • Watching documentaries
  • Listening to Black-led podcasts

Not sure where to start? Begin here: Educational resources on racism and anti-Black racism

Amplify

Share Black voices.
Celebrate Black accomplishments.
Promote Black-owned businesses.

Get involved

Learn how you can support Black-led organizations or volunteer for initiatives in your community.


Georgian’s new Centre for EDI&B

One of the ways Georgian is furthering its commitments is through the Centre for EDI&B, made possible thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Check out the website to learn about initiatives underway.

Partnership with Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion

Georgian is now a proud member of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. Through this partnership, students and employees have access to many great resources and supports, including:

  • a monthly newsletter, Diversity Ink
  • a Knowledge Repository with articles, reports and videos
  • free monthly webinars
Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) Employer Partner

Over the last few years, there’s been a growing social consciousness across our institution to dismantle racism and the systems and structures that uphold oppression, and to take responsibility as individuals. Equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDI&B) has become a strategic priority at the college. Together, and with the support of community members and allies, we’re cultivating a learning and working environment where everyone feels seen, heard, valued and knows they belong through demonstrable, accountable and system-wide commitments to EDI&B, de-colonization and anti-racism.

-Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian’s President and CEO

This article was originally posted Feb. 1 and updated Feb. 7 and 15.