February is annually recognized as Black History Month (BHM) in Canada. Each February, we focus on celebrating and learning more about Black people who contributed to humanity via culture, politics, arts, music, and literature. And as of Feb. 1, BHM is now officially recognized here in Edmonton after Mayor Don Iveson shared a picture of his proclamation to his Twitter account.
All month long, Edmontonians can access various online events that celebrate Black culture and history in our community. So, sit down with some Caribbean or African takeout from a local restaurant and enjoy taking the time to learn about Black Albertans’ meaningful contributions.
- Virtual S Curl Sanctuary event at the Stride Gallery.
An exhibit curated by Sabrina Naz that celebrates black hair from Jan. 27 to March 12. The event will take place over Zoom with required registration. Details will be available soon on their website.
- MacEwan Black History Month event.
MacEwan will be holding six online events throughout the month with guest speakers and various partnerships with Black organizations around the city.
- University of Calgary — Let’s Talk series.
A series of online events throughout February, the University’s series will feature various authors and scholars speaking on Black History Month.
- Black Canadian Films Watch Party.
On Feb. 5, 12, and 26, the St. Albert Public Library will be featuring Black-made films from the National Film Board.
- Chubby Fem Thrift’s Valentine’s Day/Black History Month Market.
Chubby Fem Thrift is a Black-owned online plus-size thrift store (carrying sizes from L to 5XL) operated by two local Edmonton queers. The QUILTBAG, a local LGBTQ shop, will be lending their shop space on Whyte Ave. The shop will be open at 10 a.m. on Feb. 14, and will stay open for approximately six hours. Can’t attend in-person? No worries! You can shop their online stores at chubbyfemthrift.com and thequiltbag.gay.
- Black History Month: Virtual Author Reading w/ Jemar Tisby.
Hosted by Sam’s Club on Feb. 5, author Jemar Tisby will be doing a live reading of his book “How to Fight Racism.” The event starts at 6 p.m. via Zoom, is free to attend, and is open to both Sam’s Club members and non-members. Be sure to check the event description for more Black History Month virtual readings Sam’s Club will be hosting.
With some COVID restrictions slowly starting to lift, some places may be looking into opening up for in-person events. Be sure to check websites for establishment protocols and capacity.
Feel like diving in further? Check out the following lists of books about Black Canadian and American history, courtesy of The Calgary Public Library.
- “How We Fight for Our Lives” by Saeed Jones
- “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All” by Martha S. Jones
- “How to Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
- “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin J. DiAngelo
- “Black History Month” by Cynthia O’Brien
- “Famous Black Canadians” by Ramona Heikel
- “Meet Viola Desmond” by Elizabeth MacLeod
- “Oscar Lives Next Door” by Bonnie Farmer
The Calgary Folk Music Festival has also curated a Spotify playlist of Black artists to listen to.
According to the government of Canada, this year’s theme for Black History Month is “The Future is Now.” It’s a chance to celebrate and acknowledge the transformative work that Black Canadians and their communities are doing now. For more information, you can visit the government website or the National Black Coalition of Canada – Edmonton chapter.
Image courtesy of rawpixel.