It’s February, which means it is also Black History Month! Not only is this month a celebration of the achievements, talent, and well-deserved recognition of African and Caribbean pride, it is also a month full of opportunities to become educated about Black history and issues affecting Black people today. If you are looking for ways to take full advantage of these learning opportunities and ways to commemorate Black History Month online, I’ve compiled a list of both virtual and in-person events happening in Edmonton that take place all the way up until the end of the month, and some lasting until April.
Here are seven ways you can commemorate Black History Month this year:
- Festival Place Black History Month Series
Enjoy an unforgettable night of live music from various talented Black artists all month long with featured artists Terrell Edwards, Tanika Charles, and other incredibly gifted artists and musicians. This event is perfect for all music lovers as the genres range from Soul and RnB to Country and to Jazz! For more information and tickets click here.
- Challenging discrimination through community conversation: Celebrating the Black community in Alberta
On Feb. 23 from 5 to 6 p.m., gather online to participate in a crucial conversation about the current discrimination the Black community of Alberta faces, how to practice antiracism, and celebrate Black talent in our province. You can register for the virtual event here.
- 5 Artists 1 Love art exhibit
This annual event brings various art disciplines like photography, sculpt work, paintings, and music under one roof, highlighting the brilliant work of various Black Canadian Artists. This event, taking place at the Art Gallery of Alberta, is free and to be enjoyed all the way until Apr. 3. Be sure to take advantage of exhibits and if you take pictures of any art to post on social media, please give the artists a well-deserved shoutout! The featured artists are named on cards next to their work.
- Digital Book Club Meet-up: Black History Month
If you consider yourself to be a bit of a bookworm, I’ve got the perfect event for you. Get access to Edward P. Jones’s The Known World all month long then on Feb. 24, join Edmonton Public library for a virtual book club meeting for a discussion and debrief. The Known World is about the life of a man named Henry Townsend and explores the problem of ownership of Black slaves both white and Black Americans. Find out how to register for the event here.
- And Still We Rise: A Black Presence in Alberta, late 1800s-1970s
No time to go to the museum in person? No problem! This event is an immersive virtual exhibit where you are given the opportunity to learn about the first Black communities to arrive and live in Alberta. The online exhibit provided by Edmonton City as Museum Project (ECAMP), examines the origins, hardships, and achievements of Black communities in the province of what is now known as Alberta.
- Edmonton Annual Black History Month Gospel Concert
The National Black Coalition of Canada (NBCC) holds this event every year and this year is no exception! Gather at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Feb. 26 for a night of live music by featured Black artists. For more information visit their website.
- By Black For Black Business Summit
Held at Maharaja Banquet Hall, this is an annual gathering where Black entrepreneurs and creators alike come together to assess new strategies and innovations in the business world. BBFB is a gathering place where business leaders of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds assemble to network. Its mission is to strive for excellence through an emphasis on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in business. Click here for more information.
I want to emphasize the importance of celebrating Black history month by focusing on Black joy, Black success stories, Black excellence, rather than focusing on Black struggle, Black hardship, and Black pain. This month is about reflecting on how far we have come and how much we have grown from what our ancestors endured for our present reality. While it is crucial we honor that large part of our legacy and it should never be erased from history, it is equally important to recognize the achievements, wins, and incredible talent of Black people. I would like to take this opportunity to be a reminder that practicing anti-racism and highlighting BIPOC students and talent around our city should not happen just one month out of the year, rather it is a continual practice, attitude shift, and process of unlearning bias that is essential to our reconciliation and healing. Amplify Black voices, achievements, stories, and talent all year round.
Be sure to visit this year’s Black History Month events calendar here.