This month, we honour and embrace Black history month in Canada and celebrate Black Canadians’ many contributions to our history and culture. The 2023 theme for Black History Month is Ours to Tell and represents both an opportunity to engage in open dialogue and a commitment to learning more about the stories Black communities in Canada have to tell about their histories, successes, sacrifices and triumphs.
Here is a list of learning resources and events to mark Black History Month 2023 in Calgary.
Resources to explore
- Black Albertans You Should Know
- Black on the Prairies
- Black History in Canada
- Resources to combat racism
From My Mother’s Back: A Journey from Kenya to Canada by Njoki Wane
Author Njoki Wane introduces us to her mother, a woman of deep wisdom, and to all the richness of a life lived between two countries. A celebrated professor and award-winning teacher, she shares her journey from a Catholic girls’ boarding school in rural Kenya to standing in front of a lectern at the University of Toronto.
Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present by Robyn Maynard
Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond.
The Response of Weeds by Bertrand Bickersteth
This poetry collection explores what it means to be Black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical.
The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole
Chronicling just one year in the struggle against racism in this country, The Skin We’re In reveals in stark detail the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis: the devastating effects of racist policing, the hopelessness produced by an education system that fails Black children, the heartbreak of those separated from their families by discriminatory immigration laws, and more.
Black Communities in Canada: National Film Board Video Playlist
Proud of our History: Black History Month
Secret Alberta: The Former Life of Amber Valley
We Are the Roots: Black Settlers and their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies
Don’t Call Me Resilient: How to deal with the pain of racism — and become a better advocate
In Episode 2 of Don’t Call Me Resilient, the writer, activist and Zen priest Reverend angel Kyodo Williams speaks about the pain of racism, and how she uses meditation to combat it — and become a stronger anti-racist activist in America today.
Know Nonsense: Black History is Canadian History
This episode of a Canadian anti-racism podcast hammers home why we need to know our history better, in full colour.
Party Lines: who feels served and protected?
Elamin Abdelmahmoud and Rosie Barton explore various calls to reign in and re-imagine policing following the death of George Floyd. They also look at how police forces are funded, and why it’s important to have a specifically Canadian conversation about anti-Black racism and police brutality.
Friends Martine St-Victor and Isabelle Racicot have in-depth conversations with notable guests from media, sports and pop culture. They capture personal stories about the power of the Black Lives Matter movement, the urgency of this moment, and what it will take to move forward.
Events for everyone
Sunday, February 12th: Rhythm and Rhymes with Bubba B “the” MC, a Black History /365 event
This is an exciting opportunity for youth & families to learn & create together with award-winning artist & Dragon’s Den Slayer, Bubba B the MC. Using his book/CD as a starting place to centre themes of reading, literacy, and Black History month Bubba B demonstrates his technique for bringing different ideas together to create a whole new hip-hop song.
This is a free event at the Central Library, register to attend here.
Wednesday, February 15th: The Importance of Black Canadian History in the age of #BlackLivesMatter
Attend this virtual presentation with Calgary Public Library’s Black History Month Historian, Bashir Mohamed. Discover key figures in Alberta’s Black civil rights history and make connections to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Discover online research tools that you can use to find Black stories and history to support your classroom teaching, your schoolwork and your kitchen table conversations.
This is a free virtual event, register to attend here.
Thursday, February 16th: A Conversation with Distinguished Immigrants
Presented by the Black Empowerment and Excellence at SAIT (BEES) Committee in honour of Black History Month, attend this enriching panel discussion featuring Dr. Caesar Apentiik, Developmental Studies Professor, University of Calgary, Chi Iliya-Ndule, Co-Founder and President, Calgary Black Chambers, and Shauna Porter, Anti-Racism Committee Chair, Calgary Police Service.
Our distinguished speakers will share their lived experiences as Black immigrants in Canada through stories of overcoming barriers and achieving success.
This is a free event hosted at SAIT, register to attend here.
Saturday, February 25th: Ethnik Festival of Arts and Culture 2023
The Annual Ethnik Festival of Arts and Culture is the premier, all-inclusive flagship festival of Ethnik Festivals Association. It is part of the celebration of Black History (Excellence) in the Month of February each year. Members of the Afro-Canadian/ Caribbean communities come together to celebrate diversity, and inclusivity and share their vibrant cultural traditions with other communities from across Canada.
Tickets to this festival are $25.00, register to attend here.