We are celebrating 2019 Black History Month in Brampton while applauding the contributions of past and present Black Canadian icons in Canada and beyond. It’s a better acknowledgment this year as both the Mayor and City Council have embarked on showing greater support to celebrating Black History Month.
The 2018 elections were both historical for our community, as Brampton got its 1st female Black Councillor and 1st black Provincial Member of Parliament. While the city of Brampton has a significant population of Black and African descent, this is not proportionately reflected in the number of elected officials, business owners and other areas used in measuring economic growth and inclusion. On a good note, the newly elected Mayor Patrick Brown has made the inclusion of Black Canadians in Brampton an important part of his mandate. For this reason, the Mayor was ceremoniously acknowledged by the Diversity Advancement Network at the kickoff ceremony of the Black History Month.
Rahel Appiagyei-David, the Regional Director for the Black Women Honors and Empowerment, was on stage to honor Charmaine Williams, the 1st female City Councillor elected into office in Brampton. Charmaine spoke passionately on her life’s journey and how she was victorious despite all odds. Rahel was back on stage to make a special presentation to MPP Kevin Yarde, the 1st black Member of Parliament elected into office in Brampton. He also gave an outstanding speech that helped the audience understand the essence of Black History Month. Both MPP Kevin Yarde and Councillor Charmaine Williams are outstanding citizens of Brampton who have consistently served in many ways and are viewed as Role Models to the community.
The kickoff event was officially hosted by Kimberley Shelley-Ajibolade, District Manager of the Black Women Honors and Empowerment in Brampton. A special flag presentation was made to the City of Brampton through Mayor Patrick Brown. The presentation was led by Kimberley Ajibolade-Shelley and other executives of Black Women Honors and Empowerment, Rahel Appiagyei-David, Stella Alize-ele, Janice Pettiford, Paul Ade, and Andria Thompson.
While a special greeting message from the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau was read and presented by MP Sonia Sidhu, MPP Amarjot Sandhu also delivered a special greeting message from the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford. Community leaders and dignitaries present at this kickoff event include Members of Brampton City Council, Peel Police, and Brampton Fire Department.
It was a great day indeed. A significant highlight of the event was the keynote speech delivered by our beloved, former Brampton City Councillor, Garnett Manning. Bishop Clive Walters of New Life Kingdom Ministries led prayers at this kickoff celebration.
The kickoff event is one of several black history months events happening in the city. The City of Brampton is running 2 additional events in the month of February. Both the “Taste of Black History Month” on Friday, February 22, and the “Closing Event” on Thursday, February 28, 2019. These events were made possible by the Mayor and the City Council. Other organizations in partnership and co-hosting these and other events with the city are BCAN Peel, Free For All Foundation, United Achievers Community Services Inc., Bringing Talents to Life and Black Women Honors and Empowerment. There will be Free refreshments, vendor booths, kids activities, a special Viola Desmond 10$ Bill exchange, along with stage performances that will include dance, poetry, spoken word, and music, along with a special officer recognition of Deputy Chief Marc Andrews, and Ingrid Berkeley at the Mayor’s Black History Award Ceremony.