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:
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