February 1st marks the beginning of the annual commemoration of Black History Month. A month often associated with looking back and holding space for learnings on the effects of colonization, atrocities of the Slave Trade and the displacement of ACB (African, Caribbean, Black) people, and looking forward to building better futures for Black folks.
Black History Month hosted by the Anti-Racist Cooperation Hub in that spirit is aimed at centering the important work of this month in the context of the Canadian International Cooperation Sector. A month on challenging the past and present effects of anti-Black racism and violence and uplifting the diverse and unique voices of Black folks in our work while creating various opportunities across the sector spaces of learning, sharing, and community.
The conversations around Black History Month and Anti-racism are both currently at a critical point being asked by communities for deeper analysis, reflection, and action. We hope that this programming will offer different access points to gauge where the sector is at, what needs may be, what works and doesn’t work and more. There is important work for us to do with the grounding of months like these in our work but we hope to do it together because it’s the only way we can succeed.
The reading group will be a space for learning, reflection, and exchange. Beginning this Black History Month grounding the important work of this month in the context of our sector we will be reading Afrotopia by Felwine Sarr.
“Sarr takes the reader on a philosophical journey that is as much inward as outward, demanding an elevation of the collective consciousness.Through a reflection on contemporary African writers, artists, intellectuals, and musicians, philosopher Felwine Sarr elaborates Africa’s unique philosophies and notions of communal value and economy deeply rooted in its ancient traditions and landscape.”
We are trying to really encourage folks to get their copies from Black or Indigenous owned bookstores. Here are some examples:
- A Different Booklist – 779 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON
- Librairie Racines – 5118 Charleroi, Montréal-Nord QC
- Massy Books – 229 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC
If you are a BIPOC person within our sector and need help accessing the book please reach out to [email protected]
While February is a month of intentional reflection on the past and present effects of anti-Black racism and violence it is an important opportunity to uplift the diverse and unique voices of Black folks in our work. This commitment goes beyond the 28 days of the month and must be an integral part of our work across the sector at all time!
To wrap up our Black History Month programming and transition into this ongoing engagement, the ARC Hub team invites you to join its BHM Wrap up Event: Live conversation between ARC Hub co-chairs on March 16th at 1pm (EST).
- When: March 16th, 1pm (ET)
- Where: Live Twitter Space
Joint our Twitter Space here!
The gatherings hosted by the ARC Hub during Black History Month will serve as closed safe(r) spaces for Black folks across our sector. For networking, learning and community, these spaces will take place once a week throughout February. Themes will be: setting the ground and getting to know each other, sharing experiences, backgrounds and perspectives, imagining the future of the sector, sharing the needs of ARC’s work. Black people at all levels will be invited into the space for equitable participation.
“In Port-au-Prince, a humanitarian aid organization’s 4×4 vehicle has been hacked: its Haitian passengers now use it to talk about neocolonialism and to denounce the promises of the international community that were made and never kept. Outside, barricades are erected, and the people cry out in anger.”
The movie screening will be followed up by a discussion.
We are setting a challenge for the sector under the communications pillar of the framework for organisations to engage in the process of storytelling with the communities they work with. In our sector, we have a particular responsibility to acknowledge the impact of colonisation in our work and to do what we can to rectify it. With this call to action, we invite the sector to begin, continue and highlight the process of amplifying the stories and traditions of the communities we work with. To help move the narrative that our sector has contributed to writing from one that is infantilising and riddled with erasure, to one that accurately represents the incredibly important role that racialised and global Indigenous communities have played agriculturally, economically, technologically, etc. on their lands, through our work, and in building the West.