Making Black History Month all year-round at The Storefront

The recognition and celebrations for Black History Month have wrapped up for another year, but Storefront staff are committed to celebrating Black excellence and Black history at Storefront in more intentional ways all year round. 

As a starting point, we are publicly sharing our Black History Month slideshow of exemplary Black individuals from the local community and beyond, which has been playing in The Storefront’s Resource Hub for the past month. Click here to view. 

In addition to the individuals featured in this slideshow, Staff came up with this list of ‘Storefront Staff Picks’ celebrating Black artists & creators during our all-staff Black History Month celebration:

Curtis Carmichael, Author – Butterflies in the Trenches

Benny Bing, Artist

Dr. O, Podcast Host – Race, Health & Happiness

Jully Black, Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul

Lizzo, Musician and Recording Artist

Morgan Harper Nichols, Poet & Artist

Joe Harry, App Creator – RealOnes

Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature 

Drake, Rapper, Singer, Actor

Felicia Guy-Lynch, Web Developer – Si Obi Green

Jake Blount, Banjo Player

Tupac Shakur, Rapper. Actor. Activist. Thug. Poet. Rebel. Visionary.

Lucie & Thornton Blackburn, Entrepreneurs – The City

Denzel Washington, Actor and Filmmaker

Chris Rock, Actor and Comedian

Randell Adjei, Ontario’s First Poet Laureate – 2021

Issaq Ahmed, Director – Project Susan

Jordan Viera, Poet & Spoken Word Artist – The Good Part

As we continue our efforts to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the Black community in the year ahead, we will draw on the Connected Community Approach and use the10 Keys to Dismantle White Supremacy. Priorities areas will include: Making community building visual, Creating connected communities from the inside out, and Facilitating collaborative processes. 

The Black History Month slideshow that has been playing our Resource Hub is an example of  Making Community-Building Visual. We will continue to add to it in order to highlight the achievements of Black community members throughout the year. We are looking forward to showcasing more photos and stories of Black grassroots leaders and figures in Canadian Black History on the walls in The Storefront Resource Centre, as well as featuring art and music by Black creators in Storefront spaces. 

Creating Connected Communities from the Inside Out at Storefront starts with staff engagement and participation. Following the enjoyable and educational experience of compiling our list of Storefront Staff Picks for Black History Month this year, staff now want to embed a recurring Black excellence feature in our future all-staff meetings.

As for Facilitating Collaborative Processes, this year Black History Month coincided with our East Scarborough Works for Equity workshops on Becoming an Anti-Racist Employer as well as a Knowledge Exchange on using health & safety as a lens for anti-racist action, both facilitated by accomplished Black management consultants Chanel Grenaway (Chanel Grenaway & Associates) and Michelle Davis (MVD Consulting). Some of the ways that Storefront staff have recommended we continue to centre and celebrate the experiences and achievements of Black community members going forward include: 

  • Invite Black artists, activists, grassroots leaders to our community events as featured speakers and guests
  • Seek out art programming partnerships on the theme of Black excellence and/or celebrating Black history, and then showcase the artwork created
  • Organize field trips for the community that highlight Black history and Black excellence
  • Ask questions / have prompts that embed a lens that recognizes Black history / Black excellence in project and event design

The Storefront is committed to doing more to celebrate Black excellence all year round in 2023 and beyond. We also continue to work on addressing anti-Black racism in our work through our coordinated anti-Black racism action plan, which was initiated in 2021 and draws on the insights, experiences, and leadership of Black residents and community-builders from East Scarborough and beyond. Stay tuned for updates on this work.

We invite your ideas and suggestions for East Scarborough stories of Black excellence to highlight throughout the year – share in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *