Dr Julius Garvey delivers the feature address at Emancipation ceremony in North York

Dr Julius Garvey (right) with Chris Moise, Turn City Councillor

Flag’’ – designed and popularized by the late Marcus Garvey – was hoisted on August 4 at the Civic Centre at Mel Lastman Square in North York.

Dr. Julius Garvey led in the flag-raising ceremony and also was the featured speaker in a discussion at the North York Central Library.

The “Afternoon with Dr Julius Garvey’’, whose discussion included sharing his recollected experience growing up with his father and the son’s thoughts on present-day activism, was a collaboration involving the city and the library. They partnered with the Global African Communities Network and the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities.

August 1, 1834, marks the day that the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect emancipating more than 800,000 enslaved Africans across the British Empire, including Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean.

In 2021, the federal government officially designated August 1 as Emancipation Day across Canada.

“Emancipation Month is a celebration of the strength, resilience and spirit of Black communities. It’s a time to reflect on the hard-won progress towards freedom and equity; to honour Black resistance and struggle in the pursuit of justice, while acknowledging that there is more to do,’’ said mayor Olivia Chow, who hosted an August 1 ceremony of the raising of the Liberation Flag at Toronto City Hall, and also issued an Emancipation Month Proclamation.

“In Toronto,’’ said the mayor, “we reaffirm our commitment to eradicating anti-Black racism through tangible action and investment in communities. Together, we are building a city where racial justice and equality are foundational principles.”

Julius Garvey, a cardiovascular surgeon and medical professor, was the second of two sons born to Marcus Garvey, who died June 10, 1940.

Born and raised in Jamaica, the doctor studied in Canada and graduated from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in 1961.

Garvey, who started his medical career by interning at The Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, later moved to the United States to work and live.

Black communities today, as in the past, first need leaders that would “unite the people’’, Garvey said in an interview. “Then, he has to develop an economic base, so that he can revive the culture and traditions of his people. It is political, it is economic and it’s cultural.’’

It requires genuine leaders who must be supported by the people, said Garvey, referencing the lack of support for his father from some in the Black community.

“Many people attacked him and there was a ‘Garvey Must Go Movement’ in the United States. They were destroying our own leadership. People need to support the leaders maximally and people need to know who the enemy is, and the right direction to go, and to follow the true leaders,’’ Garvey advised.

Moise said it was “incredibly important’’ to have Garvey in Toronto for the Emancipation event, given the work that the Garveys have done in the Black liberation struggle.

Observing Emancipation, said Moise, is “a time for reflection and also a mirror into the future, making sure that our young people understand their history; and also, too, we continue to fight anti-Black racism in all corners of this city’’.

It’s also “a way of amplifying Black voices and our contribution to Toronto, Ontario and Canada, as a whole’’, added Moise, a former school board trustee.