A live virtual event to recognize the 25th silver anniversary of the national declaration of Black History Month in Canada will run on YouTube from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 26.
The event, titled Black History Month (BHM) Rooted & Resilient, also celebrates the United Nations (UN) designation and proclamation that the decade from 2015-24 is dedicated as the international decade for the people of African descent.
The event is searchable on YouTube as “BHM Rooted & Resilient.”
This virtual celebration will be packed with candid personal stories of Black Canadian trailblazers including Jean Augustine (first Black Canadian woman elected to parliament, former MP, and educator) and Rosemary Sadlier (former president of the Ontario Black History Society, OBHS, and Order of Ontario recipient).
As well, it will highlight a greater calling for global amplification, recognition and implementation of the United Nations (UN) proclamation that the decade 2015-2024 be The International Decade for People of African Descent. The UN cites that, “There is a need to strengthen national, regional, and international cooperation, in relation, to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights by people of African descent, and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society.”
It is the vision of Winston LaRose “Mr. Jane & Finch” (executive director, Jane & Finch Concerned Citizens Organization, JFCCO, and community leader) to showcase the rich legacy of local grassroots community activists and leaders by leveraging the theme Rooted & Resilient. For LaRose, launching the Black History Month virtual program symbolizes the start of a Black History Year celebration that will end February 2022.
Along with Sadlier, LaRose and Augustine, the YouTube LIVE celebration will showcase riveting conversations and interviews with Canadian celebrities and professional athletes, including Paul Jones (Toronto Raptors broadcaster), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles Football Club), Cynthia Appiah (Olympic bobsled hopeful), the Basement Gang (Toronto dance trio with over 2.8-million TikTok fans) and Jamal Campbell (Toronto Argonaut and Jane & Finch ambassador). This talented ensemble will share their personal experiences on how they stayed rooted and resilient through their respective journeys.
Well-known host Gwyn Chapman (senior advisor, City of Brampton, Black African and Caribbean Social Cultural & Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Unit) along with Ray Gover (All-American, University of Kentucky Football alumni and motivational speaker) will host the virtual event.
The program will also feature presentations and special performances from: MP Judy Sgro (MP for Humber River-Black Creek); York University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Rhonda L. Lenton; York University Vice-President Equity, People & Culture, Sheila Cote-Meek; Dr. Maurice Bygrave (co-founder Caribana and dentist); Teni Odetoyinbo (York Lions women’s soccer captain), Jaxon Hume (York Lions dual sport athlete in football and track & field); Bolu Sings (13-year-old singer and songwriter); Highly-Favoured Blake (Nekesha Blake is a healthcare worker that provides a special tribute to all the frontline workers); Ballmatics powered by QSLA; Annet and The Planets; Edo Royal Troupe; and special video tributes.
For more information on the virtual celebration, visit yorkulions.ca/BHMRootedandResilient or subscribe to @BHM Rooted & Resilient on YouTube.
Black History Month Rooted & Resilient Celebration is organized by the Jane Finch Concerned Citizens Organization (the JFCCO) PROJECT and JF-ECI Initiative, and made possible by the stewardship of Elder Winston Larose and his Jane and Finch Concerned Citizens Organization, driven in conjunction with the Athletics & Recreation Department at York University and in coalition with many local community organizations & leaders.