A Call for Celebrating Black History Today and Every Day In Niagara, Ontario

“While we take the time to look back on Niagara’s historical connection to the Underground Railroad, the events we have witnessed in recent years continue to highlight the fact that anti-Black racism is still an issue that deserves everyone’s attention.” – Jim Bradley,Regional Chair, Niagara, Ontario

A Message on Black History Month from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Posted February 1st. 2022 on Niagara At Large

Today (this February 1st), we mark the start of Black History Month, a time to honour, celebrate and reflect on the stories, experiences and accomplishments of Black Canadians here in Niagara and across our country.

Niagara is fortunate to have an especially rich history that intersects with that of the Underground Railroad and key figures in Black history, including Harriet Tubman, Anthony Burns, Richard Pierpoint and others. Niagara’s connection to Black history is of importance, and I invite everyone to take the time to reflect on our community’s role.

While we take the time to look back on Niagara’s historical connection to the Underground Railroad, the events we have witnessed in recent years continue to highlight the fact that anti-Black racism is still an issue that deserves everyone’s attention.

This past year, the bust of Harriet Tubman was maliciously pulled off its pedestal at the historic Salem, Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church, a place of worshp for many Black residents in the St. Catharines area of Niagara. Fortunately, members of the Niagara community came together to raise funds for a replacement bust to be created by Florence, Italy based artist and St. Catharines native Frank Rekrut – showing that for every ugly act, there are many among us who respond in a loving way.

This year’s theme – February and Forever: Celebrating Black History Today and Every Day challenges us to continue recognizing the many ways Black communities contribute to the inclusive, diverse, and prosperous communities that make up the Niagara region. It also calls upon each one of us to reaffirm our shared commitment to work toward policies that eradicate racism and discrimination, and promote human rights and diversity.

This term of Regional Council has demonstrated its commitment to building a more welcoming community by joining the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities as well as establishing the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. I am encouraged at the progress we have made, however much work still remains to be done.

On behalf of Niagara Regional Council, I invite all residents to take the opportunity to explore the many in-person and virtual exhibits, displays and resources on Black history that Niagara has to offer, including Niagara Parks’ Black History Speaker Series, and find ways you can get involved.

We owe it to ourselves to become better acquainted with these seminal moments in our history, to learn from them, and to use them to build a brighter future for us all.

A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper – One of the favorite people I met in all of my years as a newspaper reporter in Niagara was Wilma Morrison – a prominent member of this region’s black community. Unfortunately, Wilma died in early 2020 of COVID-19 related symptoms.

A nice documentary film of her survives however, and here s a trailer for it that you can click on here –

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.