GUELPH – While the rest of the country will celebrate Black History Month in February, the Guelph Black Heritage Society will celebrate its third annual Black Heritage Month.
The difference? Heritage commemorates past and present accomplishments within the Black community and set sights on a bright future ahead.
History celebrates the contributions that Black historical figures have made to society, like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and Viola Desmond.
“While we will continue to acknowledge the resilience and bravery of those who came before us, we must recognize that Black history and experiences are much more than the narrative of enslavement,” officials say.
“The GBHS calls on the community to honour our past, celebrate today, and look toward the future.”
The GBHS will also be observing Black Vacation Week during February 2023.
Black Vacation Week is an initiative launched by Kween at The Kween Company in efforts to create time and space for Black individuals during Black Heritage Month (BHM).
Black Vacation Week runs the last Monday of the month until the end of February, recognizing the depth of planning events, hosting and the amount of work that is done over BHM, it is often that Black people do not get the time off or time needed to connect with their community.
“While Black Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the achievements of Blackness here on Turtle Island, for years it has come with the expectation for Black people to educate, work and give time on top of their regular day-to-day lives,” officials state.
“And celebrating Black heritage isn’t just one month – but all year long.
“Black Vacation Week is to encourage our Black community to take time for themselves: to heal, to travel, to eat, to dance, to spend time with one another, and to just be.”
Still, the following as been planned for Black Heritage Month:
- Feb. 1, 11am: Flag raising, open house and Heritage Hall tours;
- Feb 4, 1:30 to 3pm: Our Stories. Our History. Our Heritage. exhibit opening at Wellington County Museum and Archives;
- Feb. 9, 6:30pm: Songs of Sunya immersive theatre experience. In-person at Heritage Hall and online;
- Feb. 16, 6:30pm: Canvas ‘n Cocktails. In-person at Heritage Hall;
- Feb. 24, 7pm: Fourth Friday Concert featuring Shane Philips at Guelph Civic Museum.
The Royal City Brewing Company is bringing back its Lantern Ale in honour of Black Heritage Month.
During the American Civil War, lanterns were used as beacons for ‘safe’ houses along the ‘Underground Railroad’ which was a network of people and paths that helped enslaved individuals escape to freedom and to the Queen’s Bush settlement just north of Guelph.
The lantern was not only a sign of a safe haven but a symbol of hard-won freedom.
“Feel the love of the lantern and raise a glass to freedom with us,” organizers say.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the GBHS.
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