Wednesday, 10 February 2010

February 6, 2010...Across the pond!

Posted by just Bougie!

This a late post, I know! But it is still a worthy post. This last weekend was a big weekend for Caribbean’s in Toronto; we were blessed with the presence of Rita Marley the widow of the late great Robert "Bob" Nest Marley... This was all for good cause, The Mayor of Toronto officially declared this day as "Bob Marley Day"!

This year Feb 6th was used to party in the name of Bob but all for the cause of Haiti. A prominent attorney-at-law Courtney Betty proposed this idea at a Toronto Council meeting (which I attended) saying that “Marley’s messages are still relevant today and many people, no matter their discipline, can identify with his passion, his cause and his message."

This was a great way for us to bring in Black History Month, which is celebrated in February in the Americas. I'm very proud that Toronto realised how much our community needs to celebrate its culture. We are still a far way from where we need to be but we are on the journey there.

The last major step that Toronto made towards appreciating our African culture, was our first Afro centric school, the "Africentric Alternative School". This is a new school focused on African culture and heritage for African-descent children from the ages of 4-13. Unlike UK schools, in Canada we don't wear uniform to school unless you attend a Catholic school, but the children at this school sport African dashiki waistcoats with matching ties. This school was also different because it has an all black teaching staff.

There was a lot of controversy about this school when it first opened, people believed that this was re-segregation and that children leaving this school wouldn't be able to fall back into the public school system and then be ready for post secondary education. Then there were the people who opposed this idea saying that this would help with the racial barriers in the public school system and would help the children of African descent bring their test results to the same level as their Caucasian/Asian peers.

I think any step towards helping people know their history is a good step, and I hope that the city, and cities around the world embrace this more, so that the next generation have more of a chance in this society.

To remember where you have been, is to know where you are going!
Happy Black (African) History Month!