Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and members of City council on Wednesday morning raised the Pan African flag in honour of the start of Black History Month.
“We raise this flag in recognition of Black History which is Canadian History,” said Brown.
Members of the community were awarded for their achievements and contributions towards the progression of a growing legacy.
The flag was created in 1920 by the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association). The flag, also known as the Black Liberation flag, was designed by Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey Jr.
The red represents the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry and the blood that was shed in the fight for freedom. The black represents the people as the nation. And green represents the wealth of Africa through its natural beauty and abundance.
“Black History Month is so important for us to start looking towards the future, reminding us where we came from,” said Brampton Centre MPP Charmaine Williams.
But, she said, the month is also about “looking towards the future, and making sure that we are working every day, holding people accountable, that are keeping us out of spaces where we should be long, and also pushing ourselves to be at the table in spaces where we need to be.”
“A significant per cent of the black community is here in the Peel Region for Canada. We make up the majority. And, you know, we are 11 per cent of the population in the in the Peel Region,” said Williams who is for also Ontario’s Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity.
For the month of February Brampton will be hosting different events throughout the city to educate and unite the public in celebration. This year’s theme is Black Resistance, which dives into how the Black community has resisted the many forms of oppression on a global scale.
“When we think about the journey of resistance, I think our young people have to understand the struggle continues. But the path has been a lot easier, because now we have allies working with us on this journey working with us to create a better future for our young people,” said Erica Henry-Jackman, Advisor with the City of Brampton equity office.
“We have fulfilled the legacies of our foreparents because we are their dreams,” Henry-Jackman said.
Throughout the weeks, the public can indulge in different experiences such as Spoken Word, Making Black History Awards, and different panels such as the panel on Race and Education.
There will be live performances, a vendor market, and dishes to taste. Wednesday evening will showcase the Black Makers Market until 9 p.m.
Also, on Wednesday evening at City Hall, Brampton will be honouring the first Black full-time driver for Brampton Transit. She retired Tuesday and has been a crucial part of progress in the Black community.
“After 30 years, when we think about black resistance and transportation as a service. The journey when we had resistance with Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus,” said Henry-Jackman.
“I’m thinking about our fire trucks being wrapped with inventors who are Black inventors on it,” she said.
Black History Month in Canada was officially recognized in December of 1995 by the House of Commons. February was chosen as the celebratory month because it was the birthday of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. He was known as the president who freed the slaves.
“We make up such a large portion of the population, yet we are underrepresented at many decision-making tables. And that means we need to be holding those who we elect accountable. And then also making sure that we are engaged in our community. To be engaged and involved in the electoral process,” said Williams.