What is Black History Month?
Black History Month is an annual celebration of Black heritage, accomplishments, and important events in the timeline of Black populations throughout history. Since 1995, BHM has been a nationally recognized month of celebratory and educational offerings for Canadians. It is also a means for Black Canadians and residents to connect with each other across the African diaspora.
The Black Cultural Society of PEI (BCSPEI) uses the month to also celebrate the various cultures that make up the Island’s Black community, and to recognize the direct link between our past, our present, and our future; acknowledging that, in fact, we are always creating history through our actions each day. In Prince Edward Island, the Black population has been steadily growing for the past decade and although there have been minimal opportunities for cultural awareness, cultural initiatives, or cultural development during this time, BCSPEI has been raising awareness of the culture since its incorporation in 2016 through BHM programming each year. In the past four years, BCSPEI was able to significantly increase its BHM programming by expanding our outreach and developing a signature event series.
The Black Cultural Society of PEI (BCSPEI) has officially launched Black History Month to celebrate the various cultures that make up the Island’s Black community. Black History Month is held in February every year to celebrate Black heritage, accomplishments, and important events in the timeline of Black populations throughout history.
This year’s theme is Sankofa: Honouring our Past, Igniting our Future. It was chosen to give PEI’S Black community a platform to reflect on their history and acknowledge the significance of this history in shaping the future. Sankofa symbolizes the ways in which Blackness is redefined in perpetuity and the history as a guidance for current and future generations, said Tamara Steele, the Executive Director of BCSPEI. To ignite one’s future is to illuminate all possibilities, to clearly see the textures and landscapes of those possibilities, she said. “Like the Sankofa bird, we continue to look back to honour the strength, magnificence, and adversities of those who came before us to empower our communities to go beyond.”
Sankofa is a Twi word that means to look back into our past to guide our future. The word Sankofa, and its eponymous bird can be seen with its head turned back while its feet are firmly planted forward. San (Return) Ko (Go) Fa (Look, seek).
SEE THE 2023 BHM EVENTS CALENDAR HERE.
In honour of Black History Month 2022, BCSPEI presented The New Black: Celebrating & Educating.
The theme was chosen as a way to engage the community in a dialogue around defining or redefining Blackness in PEI in terms of the social determinants of health and wellness, and challenging the preconceived notions of others about who Black people are or what Black culture is.
SEE THE 2022 BHM EVENTS CALENDAR HERE.