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Peterborough city councillor, diversity officer to host discussion about Emancipation Day

Kemi Ali, left, Peterborough's diversity, equity and inclusion officer, and city councillor Kemi Akapo will discuss Emancipation Day via Instagram on Friday, July 29. File

Two Peterborough city officials will host an Instagram discussion on Friday to discuss Emancipation Day,  which marks the end of slavery in Canada in 1834.

Reem Ali, the city’s diversity, equity and inclusion officer, will host the discussion featuring a conversation with city councillor Kemi Akapo via the City of Peterborough’s Instagram account @cityptbo at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 29, leading to Emancipation Day on Aug. 1.

Read more: Reem Ali named City of Peterborough’s first diversity, equity and inclusion officer

The House of Commons on March 24, 2021, voted unanimously to designate Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day each year, marking the day in 1834 that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into effect in Britain and its settler-colonial nation-states, including the colonies that would become Canada.

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The topic on Friday will be “Emancipation Day: Challenging Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination.”

“Ending anti-Black racism and discrimination is not a one-time project,” stated Ali. “It is work that requires ongoing efforts to address systemic barriers, challenge existing biases, and reimagine our collective culture. We must take a deeper look into how Black people are navigating their belonging in this community through oppression and opportunity, and I will be doing that with councillor Akapo at this Friday’s Instagram Live conversation.”

Read more: Canada officially marks Emancipation Day commemorating the end of slavery

Elected to council in 2018, Akapo (Town Ward) and Stephen Wright (Northcrest Ward) are Peterborough’s first Black city councillors. Akapo is not seeking re-election in the fall municipal election, while Wright is running for mayor.

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“Aug. 1 – now known as Emancipation Day – marks 188 years since Britain’s Parliament voted to abolish slavery across its empire. What was the significance of this event?” stated Akapo. “How has Canada changed since that time? What work is there left to do? How do I, as a Black woman experience life here in Canada? I look forward to discussing these and other topics with Ms. Ali on Friday, July 29.”

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