2018 Black History Month launched at City Hall

African-American anthem is sung by MeganAlexa & Chelsea Sikubwabo, with Lygie Shimwa

African-American anthem is sung by Megan-Alexa & Chelsea Sikubwabo, with Lygie Shimwa                                            Photo copyright Black Ottawa Scene

Saturday 27 January

Over 200 people were at Ottawa’s City Hall to participate in the launch of the 2018 Black History month. Hosted by Black History Ottawa, the city’s leading Black community organisation, led by Acting President June Girvan,  it was an afternoon of reflections, awards, entertainment and networking with the national capital’s diverse community. Among the VIP’s present were: Mayor Jim Watson, MP’s Greg Fergus and Anita Vandenbeld, MPP’s  John Fraser and Yasir Naqvi, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau and Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches

Diplomats from various countries were well represented:

H.E. Florence Z. Chideya, Zimbabwe (Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Canada)
H.E. Joseph Ayikoi Otoo, Ghana (new High Commissioner)
H.E. Frantz Liautaud & Mme Liautaud, Haiti
H.E. Janice Miller, Jamaica, accompanied by Mrs. Denton-Watts, Counsellor
H.E. Anu’a-Gheyle Solomon Azoh-Mbi, Cameroon
H.E. Yvonne Walkes, Barbados
Her Excellency Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo, South Africa
H.E. Alvin Alfred Smith (new High Commissioner) and  Mrs. Roselyn Dorsett-Horton, Deputy High Commissioner, Bahamas
H.E. John Lanyasunya, Kenya
Ms. Ana Melba Rosario, Minister Counsellor, Dominican Republic
Mr. Dick Custin, Cultural Attaché, U.S. Embassy Ottawa

Highlights of the event were the proclamation by Mayor Jim Watson of February as the 2018 Black History Month;  unveiling of  Canada Post’s Black History Month commemorative stamps featuring Kay Livingstone, founder of the Congress of Black Women of Canada and former Ontario Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander; video of the coloured hockey league with hockey historian Bob Dawson; “On the Road North – Journey to  Freedom” exhibit, produced by the Department of Canadian Heritage and chronicling the hazardous trip to Canada, via the Underground Railroad, by slaves escaping from the US ; and an amazing slide show featuring the theme of the 2018 Black History Month: Honouring the UN International decade for people of African descent.

The following received the Community Builder awards for outstanding leadership, volunteerism and community engagement: Dr. Nduka Otiono, Merrick Palmer,  Suzan Lavertu, Petronila Michael, Illili Ahmed and Ketcia Peters. The Black History Ottawa President’s award went to retired teacher Rick Desclouds, while the John Dennison award went to Black historian Natasha Henry. Special awards were also given the the Somali and Eritrean Mothers’ organisations.

A big shout-out to an amazing team, the Black History Ottawa Board of Directors for a great job:

June Girvan – Acting President

Godwin ifedi – Past President

Jean Marie Guerrier Vice President and Treasurer

Sarah Onyango – Community Outreach Officer

Joanne Robinson: Events Coordinator

Eldon Holder – Youth Coordinator

Natalie Domey – Membership Coordinator


All photos copyright Black Ottawa Scene


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  1. Mrs. Lincoln Alexander February 8, 2018 at 2:33 am - Reply

    I wish someone had thought to invite Lincoln Alexander’s widow.
    Perhaps you can put her address in your future email blasts. Although located west of Toronto, she would have appreciated being included.
    For future mailings send to:
    346 Bronte Road
    Oakville ON. L6L 3C8
    Please forward to host of Ottawa Black History acting President June Girvin and Joanne Robinson.
    Re: “…….unveiling of Canada Post’s Black History Month commemorative stamps featuring Kay Livingstone ………. and former Ontario Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander.”

    • blackottawa February 8, 2018 at 4:48 pm - Reply Author

      Dear Mrs. Alexander
      I have forwarded your mail to June Girvan Acting President of Black History Ottawa and the members of the Board of BHO. I have also forwarded it to Elizabeth Wong who represented Canada Post at the stamp unveiling during the launch of the 2018 Black History Month. All the best.
      Godwin Ifedi

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