Black History Month returns to in-person events
February is Black History Month, and it’s full of family events where people can enjoy themselves and learn more about Manitoba’s and Canada’s rich history. Black History Manitoba, a community organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of ethnic, cultural and racial diversity, has filled the month with can’t-miss activities.
“We’re going to be celebrating our 42nd year, and most of our events are back in person, which is awesome,” said Nadia Thompson, chair of Black History Manitoba.
This year will mark Black History Month’s first in-person events since February 2020, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic struck Winnipeg, and the globe, in full force.
“I am really excited. I’m excited that we’re able to be back in-person, because that makes a huge difference. However, we understand that some people are still not comfortable so, as much as we can, we’ll still be having some hybrid events, but the majority are trying to get back to connecting and just having fun together,” Thompson said.
Thompson said her organization’s efforts during Black History Month are aimed at educating people on the importance of not partitioning celebration of Black history into a single month. February serves to celebrate bountiful histories of Canada’s Black communities, but also to show that those histories are inextricable from Manitoban and Canadian history, as a whole.
“Black history is Canadian history,” Thompson said. “It’s a part of our right to know where we come from and what we’ve done and how we’ve affected the past and the future and what we can do to help make changes within our city and our province.”
Thompson said this reflection helps to connect people.
“There’s a lot of things going on around the world, and if you take the moment to really reflect on the differences that we have growing up, the different cultures and the different ethnicities that come together to make Manitoba, we realize that there’s a lot of similarities there, too. And our past helps us reflect on that. The good and the bad will help us create a better future,” she said.
Black History Month was officially kicked off at city hall on Feb. 1 with an invitation-only breakfast with Mayor Scott Gillingham and other members of council. (Black History Manitoba also held its own opening ceremony featuring a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute on Jan. 29.)
All other events are open to anyone who wishes to attend. There was a “Non-Trivial Trivia Night” on Feb. 4, at which tickets to the Winnipeg Jets Black History Night game on Feb. 28 were given as a prize.
Some events include tours at the Manitoba Museum and the Manitoba Children’s Museum, a movie night at Vincent Massey Collegiate, a luncheon and a history lesson at the Jamaican Cultural Centre, a tribute basketball game at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute on Talbot Avenue, virtual cooking classes, and a banquet and closing ceremony at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
For a full list of events, ticket prices, and other information, visit the event calendar at bhmwinnipeg.com
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at email@example.com or call him at 204-697-7206.