Kingston, Ont. unveils lineup of activities for Black History Month

Click to play video: 'Kingston Black History Month'
Kingston Black History Month
WATCH: A number of festivities are lined up in celebration of Black History Month in Kingston, Ont – Feb 1, 2023

February is recognized as Black History Month in Canada, which provides an opportunity to reflect on the many contributions Black Canadians have made to this country.

This year, organizers in Kingston, Ont., hope to focus beyond the month and ensure the reflections carry on through the rest of the year.

“I’m really excited to launch the month with everyone,” says Jermaine Marshall, an inclusion and anti-racism ddvisor for Queen’s University.

Marshall is coordinating all kinds of events and activities celebrating Black history.

“For me, the month is a moment when I can really reflect on my identity, my histories, and what I want for my community and what I want for the society that I’m living in,” says Marshall.

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Since its inception in 1995, Black History Month has been a period of reflection and celebration of Black culture, and the Black men and women who have blazed the trail for others.

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One such person is Molly Williams — a Black woman who, in pre-abolition days in the United States, became the first woman firefighter.

“I am so proud of the fact that Molly Williams is the true, real trailblazer for women in the fire service,” says Monique Blair, the fire chief for the Belleville Fire Department.

Blair has been instrumental in memorializing Williams — through her efforts, Camp Molly was born, a program designed to get more women involved in firefighting.

Click to play video: 'Quinte holds firefighter summer camp aimed at girls'
Quinte holds firefighter summer camp aimed at girls

Marshall hopes to spark interest in stories like those, through a series of events over the month.

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“We have quite a few events that are open to the community, several events that are coming out of the Kingston Grand Theatre,” says Marshall.

While he believes in celebrating how far we have come, Marshall says he also believes it’s important to avoid complacency.

“I always say a pat on the back is both a pat and a push forward,” he says.

The festivities will kick off Wednesday evening with an online opening ceremony, featuring performances and the unveiling of a live calendar that will be updated with events over the course of the month.

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