Central Albertans who want to commemorate Black History Month will be able to with online events.
Ubuntu Mobilizing Central Alberta and the Ubuntu Youth Council will host a series of events during February to celebrate, remember and educate others about Black history.
“It’s a lot to celebrate in one short month. We like to focus on the good as well as remembering the hard times,” said Dieulita Datus, Ubuntu program director.
There will be online webinars, a youth art contest and more throughout the month. Many events will pay tribute to leaders within the Black community and discuss the obstacles Black people have faced, and continue to face.
“We, (as Black people), have achieved so much while also overcoming so many barriers and obstacles, and of course systemic racism and slavery,” Datus said.
“In celebrating we often want to remind people that our history does not start with slavery. It did not start with first contact with the Europeans – it started way before. We had really strong, well-developed civilizations, cultures, family units.”
One of the webinars will feature a discussion with a Black mental health professional and another will feature a Black entrepreneur.
Cinderella Fubara, Ubuntu Youth Council co-chair, said it’s important to celebrate Black History Month.
“We have seen the uproar of why Black lives should matter and the political and social injustices. Right now it’s of the utmost priority to make sure Black people know they’re honoured and remember what we’ve gone through. It’s not America that’s just going through this, it’s also Canada,” said Fubara.
“(In Canada) we have our own history with Black culture, Black excellence and Black people who have done amazing things, but we don’t really talk about it. In light of all the social movements around Black Lives Matter, I think it’s extremely important for us to acknowledge Black History Month.”
Datus said in past years, central Alberta hasn’t had its own Black History Month celebrations – people had to travel to Edmonton or Calgary to participate in events.
“The people who are featured there are usually from Edmonton and Calgary, so there’s usually a lack of representation from central Alberta. This year we really wanted to focus on and showcase people from central Alberta,” Datus said.
“We want to talk about what it means to be Black in central Alberta, as well as to highlight some of the things we’ve done while living here.”
Between the anti-racism protests in central Alberta during 2020 and the upcoming Black History Month celebrations, Datus said she is “filled with optimism” for the area’s Black community.
“I can’t wait for the pandemic to be over because I think central Alberta could rival any of the events taking place in the larger cities. We have so much to offer,” she said.
“It’s amazing to see our voices being heard and our faces being represented. I’m extremely excited about that.”
For more information on Ubuntu and the events being hosted throughout, visit ubuntualberta.com. All events can be viewed on Ubuntu’s Facebook page.