Black History Ottawa President June Girvan, centre, Mayor Sutcliffe, left, and Councillor King right, other councillors and Black History Ottawa Board members All photos credit: Black History Ottawa

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Ottawa’s iconic heritage organization Black History Ottawa was chosen by Capital Heritage Connexion as the 2024 recipient of the Heritage Day Proclamation on Heritage Day which took place on Tuesday 20 February at City Hall. The proclamation was presented to Black History Ottawa President June Girvan by Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, at the Heritage Day celebration attended by city councillors, Black community leaders and representatives of the city’s diverse ethnic and racial communities.

Prior to this event, Capital Heritage Connexon Acting Executive Director Meghan Walsh had sent the following mail to Black History Ottawa”

“It is with great pleasure that Capital Heritage Connexion informs you that Black History Ottawa has been selected to be the 2024 recipient of the Heritage Day Proclamation on Heritage Day, Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 at Ottawa City Hall! 

Given the 2024 Heritage Day theme “Diversity of heritage – recognizing the past and celebrating the future”, we believe the work being done at Black History Ottawa historically and throughout the last year ensured Black History Ottawa is best suited to be recognized in this regard.

Our rationale for this 2024 Proclamation Recipient was that in keeping with the theme “Diversity of heritage – recognizing the past and celebrating the future,” Black History Ottawa has championed the recognition and celebration of the people of African descent and their culture in Ottawa since at least 1985. Through the promotion of primary research in African history, your support of Black History Month and Emancipation Day celebrations every February and August, as well as your History in the Streets project and various programming activities engaging youth in culture and storytelling, we have no doubt that Black History Ottawa is well deserving of this year’s proclamation. 

It is especially fitting that 2024 marks the culmination of The International Decade for People of African Descent as set by the General Assembly of the United Nations and their theme of “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.” 

In a Facebook post after the event, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe stated:

Thank you to everyone who gathered at City Hall today to celebrate Heritage Day, and to all those who showcased their amazing work in preserving Ottawa’s heritage for generations to come. It was an honour to recognize Black History Ottawa for their 38-year commitment to advancing education on the history, culture, and achievements of Canadians of African descent.