Members of Montreal’s Black Community held several events on Sunday to recognize Emancipation Day. It is to officially mark the abolishment of slavery nearly 200 years ago.
In Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighborhood a small event was held at Oscar Peterson Park organized by Revive the Negro Community Centre (NCC).
Vice President of the NCC Board Jared Roboz says it’s an important day to recognize.
“Recognizing the harm this country was built upon. Not just to black folk but also the Indigenous people that were here before us,” says Roboz.
“And not only recognizing that. But celebrating our efforts.”
Roboz says with as major events picking up steam such as Black Lives Matter and Juneteenth – in the U.S – smaller neighborhood events like today’s in Little Burgundy are even more relevant.
“You get involved in your local community and that’s how you learn. Because you’re around the people. You’re hearing their voices, you’re hearing their plight and hopefully from there you can be part of the effort.” He added.
President of the Round Table for Black History Month, Michael P. Farkas says Emancipation Day is also a day to recognize the struggles the black community still face.
“We’re still fighting certain days on certain practices,” says Farkas. “Practices that remind you of of colonization and sometimes how we’re treated as black people in society.”
He adds events to recognize emancipation day also helps put things into perspective.
“It’s important to factualize and to educate our youth on really where we come from so we can better understand, really ourselves,” he says.
“And what are some of the struggles we’ve been through and are still going through.”
Canadian jazz legend Oliver Jones was in attendance on Sunday.
The pianist grew up in Little Burgundy and says it’s nice to see an outspoken younger generation.
“I think now we have the right group of young people with an education and they also knew what we went through,” says Jones. “It’s nice to see. It makes me hopeful.”
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The Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association held it’s own event at the Corona Theatre on Sunday.
It featured music and speeches from members of Montreal’s Black community.
It was followed by a historical walk through Old Montreal.