This year, the City of Kingston, guided by the community, is recognizing February as Black History/Futures Month. While adding a punctuation mark and an additional word may seem like a small change, it represents a substantial shift in approach and intention, the City said in a media release, dated Monday, Jan. 29, 2024.
“Black history speaks to the historical context and realities of Black people and communities. Futures considers that while current circumstances are linked to history, the future is also linked to the present,” said Vanessa Mensah, Manager of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the City of Kingston.
“If we use the present to support and uplift Black communities and voices, we can begin to commit to a new future.”
According to the release, in support of Black History/Futures Month, the City of Kingston is amplifying community-led events taking place throughout the city and the community. A global calendar of events has been assembled in a Google Doc by members of local Black communities to centralize that information for all those interested.
The City noted that this calendar is being updated as new events are confirmed, and is encouraging everyone to check back frequently for new information. Community members are also invited to submit events for inclusion in the calendar document. Details on how to submit are included at the top of the Google Doc.
So far, the listed events include music, craft events, storytimes, films, trivia nights, a fashion showcase, a Black Business Fair & Expo, and many more. Some events require registration and spots may be limited.
The opening event, hosted by Queen’s University and community partners, will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 12 p.m. on Zoom. All are welcome to attend. The theme of the opening address is Recognition, Justice & Development.
“To the Black people here in Kingston and beyond, take what you need from this month to recharge, rejuvenate, renew, rest and reconnect, and continue loving yourself in a world that has much growing, much changing, and much redressing to do. Know that you are held and loved,” said Lavie Williams of Kingston’s Black Luck Collective.
“The commitments to and reality of Black History/Futures are not merely contained to the shortest and coldest month of the year, they are always present, so to all, we encourage awareness and engagement at all times.”
City Hall and Springer Market Square will be illuminated in red, green, and yellow on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, to celebrate the start of Black History/Futures Month.