February 1st marks the start of a month packed with special events to honor and celebrate the notable names and accomplishments of Black Americans that led to revolutionary changes. On Feb. 3, an opening ceremony at Museum London will kick-off the Black History Coordinating Committee’s agenda for the month.
This year’s Black History Month theme in London: forces of resilience. Committee members have scheduled special events in hopes to bring a diverse range of community members from different backgrounds and culture together. It is an opportunity for community members to share their thoughts and beliefs in spaces where they can teach and learn from one another.
“Our voices are important…. [Sometimes] in society, our voices are marginalized… Our voices sometimes have been excluded from books – from the curriculum. We want to bring people together to let them know that we are just as important as other communities in the city. [I] think it’s important that we look at black history not independently from Canadian history, but apart of the fabric of the particular nation,” says Outreach Program Coordinator of LUSO, Leroy Hibbert.
“Education is the passport to the future”
The celebration of Black History Month opens the opportunity to showcase and celebrate everybody’s differences. Something as simple as knowing how to address and identify one another is a topic that Hibbert says he wants to help educate others on.
“Sometimes people don’t know what terms to use when referring to people like myself. Is it African-Canadian? Is it black? Is it coloured? People may look at that as semantics but it does affect the people that you talk to,” says Hibbert.
Education and cultural awareness as continuous learning experiences
Saturday’s event will bring singing, beechnut drum performances, spoken word artists, food, and educational booths. Event organizers encourages all Londoners to come out and join in on conversations. Volunteers present at the booths will be available to answer questions guests may have, providing an opportunity to familiarize with local neighbours in the community.
“We can know a lot of information, but if we don’t renew our minds with the information we know, we’re going to go in the same place that we were in 10 years ago,” says Hibbert.
For a list of all Black History Month events in London, visit London Tourism’s website.