Gateway Gazette

Legislative Assembly Hosts Black History Month Celebration for the First Time

The Legislative Assembly of Alberta will host its first official event to recognize Black History Month on Thursday, February 2, at 6 p.m. in the Legislature rotunda.

“The history and heritage of black Albertans have helped to shape and strengthen our province’s identity through the years,” said Honourable Robert E. Wanner, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. “It is ever important for us to not only celebrate the achievements of black Albertans but also to acknowledge and learn more about their experiences and struggles, past and present.”

“Men and women of African descent have been part of Alberta’s story for over 100 years. They homesteaded alongside settlers from around the world, helping to found our cattle industry and fighting through both harsh winters and racial prejudice to build thriving communities. In the years since thousands more have come from around the world to build new lives here and make significant contributions to our economy, culture and communities,” added David Shepherd the MLA sponsoring the event. “I thank Speaker Wanner for this historic opportunity to recognize and celebrate their legacy at the Alberta Legislature and affirm that the many advantages Alberta offers are for all people.”

John Ware and familyRemarks will be delivered by:
  • Honourable Robert E. Wanner, MLA, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
  • David Shepherd, MLA, on behalf of the Premier of Alberta
  • Ronald Orr, MLA, on behalf of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition
  • Ric McIver, MLA, leader of the PC opposition
  • Junetta Jamerson, community advocate

 

The celebration of Black History Month at the Alberta Legislature is open to the public and will feature performances by musicians Mbira Renaissance Band, Erin David with Keith Fix and spoken word artist Ahmed Knowmadic.

Jean Augustine in robes
Jean Augustine

Black History Month was formally recognized following a motion introduced in the House of Commons by the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons in December 1995, and the government of Canada officially celebrated Black History Month for the first time in 1996.

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