Ontario Progressive Conservatives celebrate Black History Month at Queen’s Park

Ontario Progressive Conservatives held their annual Black History Month celebration at Queen’s Park last Tuesday.

From left: Patrice Barnes, David Smith and King Nana

Premier Doug Ford who  attended at the event, welcomed a special guest from Ghana – King Nana Yaw Osam I Mawereehene from the Enyan Denkyira Kingdom – and politicians from the various provincial parties.

Charmaine Williams, MPP for Brampton, who addressed the gathering, praised Premier Ford for his efforts in promoting  inclusivity and  the representation of Blacks at Queen’s Park and noted the historic election  of several Black candidates in in Ontario in 2022.

” When I stand in a room of Black people, the energy, the love, the history..It’s is just so vibrant,” she told the gathering.

Williams also spoke of the importance of teaching Black history in schools and expressed her gratitude for its inclusion in the Ontario curriculum.

From left: Charmaine Williams, David Smith and Sol Mamakwa

Anther speaker at the event, MPP Sol Mamakwa of the New Democratic Party, noted the  ” historical connections and solidarity between Black and Indigenous communities.”

” Black people have always been allies with Indigenous people. We have been allies because we face the same things -oppression, colonialism, racism,” he said.

” We stand with you today as Indigenous people, First Nations people, on this, your Black History Month. We honour you. We accept you,” he said.

“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement,” he added.

The event also featured speakers from various unions, including Chris Campbell from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, who honored past Black leaders in their field. Ivan Dawes from the International Union of Painters highlighted the historical challenges faced by Black workers in unions and the progress made in diversifying leadership.

Ivan Dawns of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPATA) went deep into the history of the union and talked about the fact that he was standing on the shoulders of those who came before in the struggle, Rudney Clark from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union highlighted the contributions of Black members to their union’s history, emphasizing the importance of documenting and celebrating their achievements. Rokhaya Gaeye, representing the Carpenters Union, emphasized the significance of Black excellence and inclusivity in the labor movement.

The event concluded with MPP David Smith expressing gratitude to all attendees and sponsors for their support. He emphasized the ongoing importance of recognizing and celebrating Black history throughout the year, not just during February. Smith encouraged unity and collaboration in continuing to uplift and support the Black community in Ontario.