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  • Newmarket Proclaims February as Black History Month, Honouring the Black Family

    Created: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

    The Town of Newmarket is proud to continue its partnership with the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) to bring a series of events and activities to the community, honouring Black History Month, February 1 – 28.

    For the past five years, the Town of Newmarket has been partnering with NACCA to deliver Black History Month programming. This year's theme, The Black Family: Source of Perseverance and Resilience, is inspired by writer and activist Maya Angelou, who describes the perseverance one gets from family when she said, "I sustain myself with the love of family," recognizing the significant strength in the Black family to nurture, sustain and protect.


    "The Black family, as an institution, has endured unprecedented historical and systemic injustices at every layer of society," shares Jerisha Grant-Hall Chairperson and founder of NACCA. "From trans-Atlantic exploitation to present-day neocolonial practices, Black diasporic families have had to navigate unsafe, and often hostile, environments to survive. So how has it been able to remain intact? We want to explore aspects of that journey, paying tribute to dynamic and diverse ways, and look at the African values, storytelling tradition, art-forms, faith, spirituality and other sources that have been at the root of survival. Indeed, the history of Black Canadians is a history of perseverance and resilience."

    "It's important that as a community, we come together to learn and engage during Black History Month," says Mayor John Taylor. "Allyship is such an integral part of combatting injustices and creating a more inclusive community, and it's something that as a Council we will continue to embrace. For those who ask themselves what they can do to make a difference, here's where you can start. Black History Month is an opportunity to learn and take action, but it's important for us each to continue this work throughout the year too. I want to thank NACCA for their partnership. Our participation is stronger and much more meaningful with NACCA leading the way."

    The lineup of events and activities for 2023 Black History Month in Newmarket includes:

    • Pan-African Flag Raising Ceremony – Wednesday, February 1 at 11:30 a.m. The Peace Park Flagpole, Cane Parkway, Newmarket 

    • Black History Month Reception – Saturday, February 4 at 10:00 a.m. The community is invited and encouraged to attend an in-person reception and get a first look at the Art Exhibit at Old Town Hall (460 Botsford St.). The event features live entertainment with Gemini Pangroove Steelband, featured guests, spoken word poetry, keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Wade on the Black family and more. Registration is required. Please register here.

    • Black History Month Art Exhibit – February 4 to 28. Talented artists create their interpretation of "The Black Family: Source of Perseverance and Resilience" on display at Old Town Hall (460 Botsford St.) throughout February. See gallery hours at  

    • Ujamaa Marketplace - February 4 to 28. See, celebrate and support Black-owned and operated businesses featured in person on February 4 at the reception and continued all month long in an online market.  

    • Walk with our Children: Ginelle Skerrit - Moderated Discussion – Wednesday, February 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. In partnership with the Newmarket Public Library, NACCA is hosting a moderated discussion with the CEO of the York Region Children's Aid Society, Ginelle Skerritt in-person at the library (438 Park Avenue). Register here.  

    • Evening Falls Illumination Honouring Black History Month – Thursday, February 9 from dusk to 11 p.m. The Newmarket Riverwalk Commons (200 Doug Duncan Drive), and the Fred A. Lundy Bridge will be lit green and yellow in recognition of Black History Month in Newmarket.  

    • Achievers in Black Excellence – Black Youth Panel Discussion – Wednesday, February 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. A virtual youth-led and moderated panel discussion on the Black family's influence on their youth's drive for excellence. The online discussion is moderated by NACCA's Youth Director, Matthew Palomino. Register here.

    • Film Screening and Discussion: Barrel Children: The Families Windrush Left BehindWednesday, February 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. NACCA has partnered with the Newmarket Public Library to host a film screening and discussion of Barrel Children, a riveting documentary film from British-Jamaican journalist Nadine White. The documentary depicts the experience of the children left behind when their parents travelled for work after World War II in what has come to be known as the "Windrush Migration." Watch the film virtually via Zoom, or experience it in-person at the Newmarket Public Library (438 Park Avenue).  Register here.

    • Black History Month Historical Exhibit at the Elman W. Campbell Museum – February 1 to 28, Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Visit the Elman W. Campbell Museum (134 Main Street South) throughout the month to learn more about Windrush through a new featured exhibit that explores Newmarket's Black history, highlights the contributions of Black people in Ontario and more. Admission is free.

    • Story Time! African Fables and Folklore with Sandra WhitingSunday, February 26 at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Come visit the NACCA Community Centre (449 Eagle St.) and cozy up at its new Iris Malcolm Library for a fun-filled family event with award-winning storyteller, Sandra Whiting. Her stories are filled with the vibrancy of African and Caribbean folklore; they are colored by the magical experiences of growing up in the Caribbean, and they are enriched by the joy of her life in Canada. Register here.

    In 2020, Newmarket created a Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Task Force (Task Force) to support the Town's work in this area. The Task Force works to amplify voices from the Black community and is responsible for making recommendations to Council that focus on racial equity opportunities, and on issues or activities that impact the Black community. In 2021, the Task Force presented a report to Newmarket Council, including a number of recommendations that the Town is working toward implementing to ensure Newmarket is a community where everyone feels a strong sense of support and belonging. Stemming from the recommendations, the Town has worked closely with a consulting partner, EMPOWER Strategy Group to create an action plan, which Council received this January and staff will be using to guide action.  As an initial step, Council has proclaimed that February will be recognized as Black History Month in Newmarket.

    About Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association
    Since 2018, the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) which is a Registered Charitable organization, has provided strong leadership for the diverse Black community in Newmarket and surrounding areas. As a group of like-minded individuals, NACCA is committed to the collective work of engaging the African Canadian communities and its allies through program delivery, education, and partnerships, to cultivate an empowered and united Black community in Newmarket. The association operates with a vision to serve as a community hub that will support and strengthen the present and future outcomes of the Black community, especially Black youth. To advance generational skills-building, knowledge exchange, empowerment, and expression. To ignite change through allyship, and cross-cultural learning. Learn more at