DRPS, the Region of Durham and the Canadian Jamaican Club of Durham launched Black History Month this morning with a joyous celebration.
"For me, celebrating diversity is such a Canadian mindset. I know we don't have a copyright on it - other countries celebrate diversity, pass declarations, hold public events. But to me, it's ingrained in how we think and how we live - it just seems embedded in our Canadian psyche," said Chief Paul Martin during his opening remarks.
The Pan-African flag was raised and a new DRPS cruiser was unveiled, which features the faces of Canadian and international leaders and symbolizes our solidarity with the Black community. The crowd was entertained by The Femtones, a choir from Pickering High School, who sang the Canadian National Anthem and the Black National Anthem.
Jean Augustine, whose image is a part of the new cruiser, attended the event to speak about her role as the first African-Canadian woman elected to the Parliament of Canada. While in office, she was the driving force behind legislation that recognizes February as Black History Month in Canada.
The keynote address was given by Bernice Carnegie, who spoke about Black history in Durham Region. Bernice is the co-founder of the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation - a program that empowers youth to succeed with positive support and enrichment.
After the ceremony, an International Fair Place was displayed with an array of Caribbean-infused food.
Unveiling the new cruiser with Jean Augustine (JPG file, 451.5K bytes)
Deputy Chief Fernandes welcomes the crowd (JPG file, 864.5K bytes)
Raising the Pan-African flag (JPG file, 2,057.6K bytes)
The Femtones sing O Canada (JPG file, 1,135.4K bytes)
Regional Chair Roger Anderson speaks (JPG file, 756.9K bytes)
Chief Martin addresses the crowd (JPG file, 1,587.5K bytes)
Jean Augustine tells about creating Black History Month in Canada (JPG file, 932.7K bytes)
The event was co-presented by the Canadian Jamaican Club of Durham (JPG file, 810.9K bytes)
Bernice Carnegie delivered the keynote address (JPG file, 808.3K bytes)
Enjoying the International Fair Place (JPG file, 946.3K bytes)