Montreal Black History Month Round Table organizes events to honour the black community
Every February, Canadians are encouraged to take part in a variety of events to commemorate the legacy of black Canadians, past and present.
The Montreal Black History Month Round Table, a non-profit organization which promotes black culture and education, held a press conference on Feb. 2 at Olympus Stadium to kick off this year’s festivities.
“February shines a light on all of the joint efforts made by various actors who are working to share a taste of their culture with the general public,” said Michael Farkas, the president of the Montreal Black History Month Round Table.
The theme weaved into this year’s series of events is “Here we stay, here we stand!”
According to Farkas, the theme aims to highlight the achievements of Canada’s black community and the contributions they have made to our society. Montreal Black History Month Round Table’s 26th edition of Black History Month will feature more than 100 social and cultural activities that highlight the achievements of black communities.
Black culture will be celebrated throughout the month with events such as a blood drive Feb. 18, a panel discussion, and a conference at Concordia University titled “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” led by Stanley Nelson on Feb. 25, among others.
“Black History Month began in February 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson coined ‘Negro History Week,’ which blossomed into Black History Month,” Frakas explained. February also marks the birthdates of notable historic figures such as Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln and Bob Marley, who helped with notable black movements in North America, he added.
“The month of February marks an important aspect of our history and is important for educating Canadians,” Farkas said. “Learning about one’s history is important because it is [vital] to know where one is coming from and where one stands and where one wants to go.”
Farkas discussed the importance of educating students about black history and culture in order to improve the future. “We’ve come a long way and it is important to note that Black History Month doesn’t just start Feb. 1 and end Feb. 28, but that it is an ongoing process.”
Montreal Black History Month Round Table is presenting a variety of activities for the city’s 375th anniversary, said Farkas. “All year long, let us discover and mention the contributions and achievements of Canadians of African origin and descent who, thanks to the brilliance of their accomplishments, bring honor to our place in this land.”
Notable black Montreal figures such as Henri Pardo, the founding president of Black Wealth Media and the producer and director of the Black Wealth Matters documentary series, and R&B singer-songwriter Shaharah Sinclair gave speeches about Black History Month at the press conference.
“Black History Month is very important to me because I feel that it gives us the opportunity to focus on parts of our history that have been neglected,” said Sinclair.