By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley
Each February since 1995 Canadians participate in Black History Month that honours the legacy of Black people and their communities.
In Georgina there were not that many opportunities to learn firsthand about Black history from Black people, but this is changing.
Black Saturday School, located at 204 Simcoe St, Unit 20, was established by Keswick-based Kendra Shae-Marie Mullings.
It runs every Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., during the month of February, and offers free programs for youth of all backgrounds ages 9 to 13.
During the pandemic, students connected with the school via Zoom and were joined by participants from as far as Saskatchewan and British Columbia. However, this year classes take place in person.
“I established the school,” says Mullings, “because I realized that this kind of in-depth learning about Black history was lacking.”
“I wanted to share our experience, our culture, and show history from our perspective. The program explores topics culturally relevant to Black people and all who interact with Black people” she explains.
Keswick High School students, Elena Rinne and Runi Friday, who help run the school, admit that they themselves learn a lot while researching information for younger participants.
Indeed, one of the young participants, Neveah, says: “Today I learned that there are Black Indigenous Canadians. I didn’t know that.”
Kendra Shae-Marie Mullings also established the Georgina Black Excellence Society, which had its first meeting on February 5th.
“Members are Black people in Georgina, and anyone interested in Black history,” she explains.
“We created three pillars: connecting, supporting, and honouring Black residents. In February we connected; we had music, speakers, and food. In June we will have a supporting event. A grant will be given, either to a Black Georgina resident with a great idea to start a business, or to someone who has an existing business. In October we will have a red-carpet gala to honour our Black community” she adds.
Energy is in the air! The initiatives which started in February, Black History Month, will certainly grow and develop. There are so many stories that should be heard and shared.
For more information, email Kendra Shae-Marie Mullings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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