Proclaiming February Black History Month by City of London

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February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month across North America, in our country and our province. Each year, Canada and the United States of America set aside a few weeks to focus on the contributions that people of African descent have made to the countries’ histories. While it is recognized nationally and provincially along with many other municipalities, there is still a long way to go in London Ontario as our municipality has yet to formally recognize the importance of celebrating this month for our community.  There are so many reasons why municipal governments need to take leadership in celebrating Black History Month especially in London where we continue to see a seemingly never-ending rise of anti-black racism. Celebrating Black History Month is beneficial to the whole community as it deepens our knowledge and understanding London and Canada's history. 

Celebrating Black History Month provides opportunities to see the best of our culture and history, it creates awareness and allows us to forge greater bonds within our London community. Celebrating Black History Month is a celebration of Canadian history. Cities like Toronto, Brampton, Ottawa, Kingston and many more already officially celebrate this month and many other important and commemorative dates in our country and province and therefore we call upon LONDON ONTARIO to do the same!

Council’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan identified a need to develop a Community Diversity & Inclusion Strategy (CDIS) as a way to build a “diverse, inclusive and welcoming community” by “supporting all Londoners to feel engaged and involved in our community.” More than 200 Londoners were actively engaged in the process which provided strong commitments and recommendations from Champions within our City. One of the commitments by the City of London stated, “Learning and honouring the unique histories and lived experiences of all peoples in our community.”

There were also numerous strategies provided as recommendations that would coincide with support for Black History Month and formal acknowledgement of this month. Noteworthy are the “learning, sharing of knowledge, and building awareness about people with different experiences and perspectives,” “learning, sharing, and recognizing the lived experiences, cultures and histories of Londoners,” “building cultural awareness among children and youth through community engagement activities,” and “promoting events and opportunities for Londoners to collaborate, share, and access information.” We understand and acknowledge that the CDIS was constructed under a different administration but we hope that the input and values from community members and this administration remain the same. 

If you too agree that this is a positive, progressive direction London should move to, we ask you to support this petition that will go to the Corporate Services Committee on November 19th 2019 at 12:30pm to councillors consideration. 

Thank you.