20 Actions to Take for Black History Month

By Abeer Yusuf, LEVEL Coordinator

February is Black History Month – a time to recognize and honour Black lives, stories, and legacies. As we acknowledge the month, I want to offer a small guide of some local and safe, virtual ways to gather and learn about Black communities, histories, and futures.

ATTEND or WATCH ONLINE:

  • Black Queer Futures is a digital conference by Stratagem from Jan. 23 to Feb. 28 that includes talks and workshops that “dive deep into the nuance of Black queer identity, resistance, and movement building.”
     
  • Recording of the Digital Teach-In by BC Civil Liberties Association that brought together organizers and lawyers to engage in discussion on Black and Indigenous lives in Canada.
     
  • Black History Month 2021 – The Symposium (forthcoming) hosted by the Issamba Centre will feature a series of conversations tackling topics such as Black ownership and generating wealth, Black identities, and mental and physical health.

READ:

  • 365 Black Canadian Curriculum Resource is a compilation of resources that focuses on the lived experiences of Black Canadians from the past and present. While intended for educators, it’s a valuable resource based on historically accurate information to learn more about Black history in a Canadian context.
     
  • Black History Month Library is a crowdsourced comprehensive resource about Black leaders and Black history in the US.
     
  • Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard “provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.”
     
  • Until We Are Free by Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, “describes the latest developments in Canadian Black activism, organizing efforts through the use of social media, Black-Indigenous alliances, and more.”

LISTEN:

  • Black Women Connect Vancouver is a podcast that offers listeners the chance to connect and feel supported within realities and lived experiences of Black lives in Vancouver.
     
  • BlackChat Vancouver is a podcast designed to make you feel like you’re in your friend’s living room, catching up with the many intersections and issues folks in Vancouver face.

BUY:

  • Hogan’s Alley Clothing is a Vancouver-based, Black-owned clothing brand described as “African inspired outerwear, combining African Fabrics with Western Styles” to amplify the stories and legacy of Hogan’s Alley.
     
  • Batiqua sells beautiful handmade textiles for home décor with the mission to “empower marginalized artisans into sustainable employment opportunities.”
     
  • Lion’s Den Café is located at 651 E. 15th Ave, Vancouver (Mount Pleasant) and specializes in a fusion of Jamaican and Japanese comfort foods.
     
  • Kula Kitchen is available for online orders of Afro-vegan soul food inspired by the Caribbean and East Africa.
     
  • Mumgry offers a selection of healthy, ethically sourced nut butters inspired by founder Lilian’s desire for delicious and nutrient dense snacks for women during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and beyond.
     
  • Axum is located at 1279 E. Hastings St., Vancouver and offers a wide selection of Ethiopian cuisine.
     
  • Caribbean Market is located at 804 12th St., New Westminster and available for delivery. They sell a wide range of Caribbean and African food products such as ackees, curry, hot sauces, and Jamaican patties.
     
  • Mama B’s Jamaican Patties a Surrey-based, online business delivers fresh (and halal!) Jamaican beef patties straight to your door.

SUPPORT:

  • Ethọ́s Labs, a LEVEL 2019 grant recipient, does great work in building innovation labs and great digital futures for Black youth. They describe themselves as “Hogwarts meets Wakanda meets ‘co-working space’” and is heading towards a youth-led co-op model. Make a donation by clicking here.
     
  • Vancouver Black Therapy and Advocacy Fund is a not-for-profit initiative that aims to raise funds to make mental health support more accessible to Black community members in the Lower Mainland. Make a donation to their GoFundMe page in the link above.
     
  • Hogan’s Alley Society is a non-profit organization composed of civil rights activists, business professionals, community organizations, artists, writers and academics committed to daylighting the presence of Black history in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia. Make a donation by clicking here.

Black History Month is ceremoniously an ode to the history of Black people on this land and serves as a reminder for us to remember where important stories and lives come from. It is also just as important to commit to Black futures and support young Black people in our communities in the many intersections, causes, and issues Black people face and support.

There are a number of Black businesses, organizations, and individuals missing from this list, but I hope it inspires you to learn about and invest in Black communities and futures.