February has officially been proclaimed Black History Month in the City of Red Deer.
Mayor Ken Johnston signed a proclamation at an event hosted by Ubuntu – Mobilizing Central Alberta at the city’s Cultural Services building on Thursday morning.
“We think that it’s important, especially in central Alberta, to have that official proclamation,” said Dieulita Datus-Hall, Ubuntu Mobilizing Central Alberta co-founder and program director.
“The city and the mayor have been so gracious to accommodate and we have been looking forward to officially welcome Black History Month in Red Deer.”
Datus-Hall said recognizing Black History Month is important as a black woman.
“It reminds me of the tragedies and the trauma that my ancestors had to go through, but it also celebrates me as an individual and that I’m able to be here, that I made it here,” said Datus-Hall.
“It’s also about the future of Black communities around the world. It’s about celebrating, remembering and looking forward.”
There are other organizations hosting events throughout Black History Month, Datus-Hall.
There will be an event presented by the International Women of Purpose Cultural Association at Carnival Cinemas on Feb. 18 featuring dancing, drumming, storytelling, an African East-Indian dinner and a showing of Love Nwigwe’s documentary film I Can’t Breathe.
There will also be a Black History Month celebration in support of the Education for Somali Girls and Boys Foundation on Feb. 24.
“We’re trying to stretch out the events throughout the year as opposed to everything in February,” Datus-Hall said.
Johnston said this was “an organic proclamation,” which was composed, researched and delivered by members of Red Deer’s Black community.
“I thought that’s what made it so powerful this year,” he said.
“I learned a word last year which really resonated with me and that word was ‘erasure.’ Erasure … basically means we’ve taken a chapter of Black history and not paid attention to it.
“Black History Month is an invitation for us to restore that erasure … and to understand the contributions of Black people, to understand the contributions they’ve made over centuries, their cultural richness, their spiritual richness.”
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