The Town of Newmarket is proud to once again partner with the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) along with this year's presenting sponsor Magna International to present events and activities that honour Black History Month this February.
This year's theme: "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now: Telling our Story, Writing our History" delves into conversations about how Black Canadians are using storytelling as a mode of resistance to counteract the systemic erasure, silencing, and marginalizing of Black Canadian history and experience.
"As a community, when we recognize and celebrate the achievements and experiences of Black Canadians, we broaden our understanding of our collective history and identity as a nation," shares Jerisha Grant-Hall, Chairperson and Founder of NACCA. "Black History Month is an opportunity to acknowledge and address the ongoing challenges faced by Black communities and continue to create a more inclusive and just society for everyone. NACCA is committed to this all year round and we believe that, while working with our partners, this month is an important opportunity to highlight and amplify the voices of Black Canadians."
"Black Canadians' stories are an important part of Canadian history, and Newmarket's history," says Mayor John Taylor. "Let Black History Month be a call to action – a reminder that everyone has a role to play in creating a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community. This year's theme is a testament to the importance of amplifying Black voices. I want to thank NACCA for their continued partnership and leadership. Together, through the stories of the past and present, we can inspire positive change for future generations."
Newmarket's lineup of free events for Black History Month presented by Magna International includes:
- Pan-African Flag Raising Ceremony – Thursday, February 1 at 11:30 a.m. at the Municipal Offices (395 Mulock Drive)
The Pan-African Flag will be raised at the Municipal Offices to commemorate Black History Month and to honour the heritage, diverse culture and invaluable contributions of people of African descent to our community.
- Black History Month Reception, Art Exhibition and Ujamaa Marketplace – Saturday, February 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Old Town Hall (460 Botsford Street)
The community is invited to attend an in-person reception featuring live entertainment; a keynote address from special guest Wes Hall, entrepreneur and founder of BlackNorth Initiative; dance; spoken word and more. The popular Ujamaa Black-Owned Marketplace will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with talented local artisans. Register at the link above.
- Black History Month Art Exhibit – February 3 to 29 at Old Town Hall (460 Botsford Street)
This year's exhibit interpreting the theme, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now - Telling Our Story, Writing Our History" is a powerful showcase of Black Canadian history and experiences. The talented artists behind the pieces use their unique perspectives and artistic vision to convey the message of reclamation and empowerment.
- Museum Exhibit – February 3 to 29 at the Elman W. Campbell Museum (134 Main Street South)
Explore the many achievements of Black individuals and communities through interactive displays and gain a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped Black history in Newmarket and across the country.
- Evening Falls Illumination – Friday, February 9 (dusk) at Riverwalk Commons (200 Doug Duncan Drive)
Newmarket's Fred A. Lundy Bridge will be lit yellow and green in honour of Black History Month and to celebrate African heritage and the beauty and diversity of our communities.
- Film Screening: 'Living in Colour' and Archives of Ontario Presentation – Wednesday, February 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Newmarket Public Library (438 Park Avenue)
Written and delivered by The Black Rivers' Alliance, "Living in Colour" is a documentary that features conversations about Black culture, the reception of Caribbean and African cultures by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants across Canada and the Greater Toronto Area.
This evening will also feature a talk entitled "Reclaiming the Narrative: Black Archives at the Archives of Ontario," with special guest Melissa J. Nelson, an award-winning archivist, writer, and educator based in Toronto. Register at the link above.
- Speaker Series: "Writing Our History" with Dr. Natasha Henry-Dixon – Wednesday, February 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Newmarket Public Library (438 Park Avenue)
Hear from Dr. Natasha Henry-Dixon during this interactive presentation and interview. Dr. Natasha Henry-Dixon is an assistant professor of African Canadian History at York University and a 2018 Vanier Scholar and is researching the enslavement of Black people in early Ontario. Register at the link above.
Learn more about this year's theme and events at newmarket.ca/blackhistory and naccacommunity.ca
Newmarket is deeply committed to building a strong, healthy and equitable community. In 2023, the Town of Newmarket established an action plan to dismantle anti-Black racism and remove barriers Black individuals face in Newmarket. Read more at heynewmarket.ca/dabr
Since 2018, the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA), a registered charity, 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 naccacommunity.ca