By: Melissa Knox
I need to make my own t-shirt that reads, “Black History Is Every Month.” February, the shortest month of the year. Just when you start to gain momentum, the month is already almost over! Black History Month (BHM) first began in the U.S. as a week-long celebration in February 1926 and later evolved into a month-long official celebration, first in Toronto in 1979 and then eventually nation-wide in 1995.
Every year, I look forward to participating in events that honour people of African descent – Black Canadians throughout history who contributed in all sectors of Canadian society to build Canada into the country we are grateful to have today. I honour them by learning about them and remembering their significant personal and professional achievements despite the many2 challenges they faced along the way. I have yet to come across a story that did not involve personal sacrifice, hurt, courage, failure, perseverance, grief and success.
This year’s BHM theme is “The Future is Now”. In the sport world, what can we do together to ensure we are removing those invisible barriers that still prevent so many from accessing sport? What type of mechanisms are we putting in place to ensure our Black athletes, coaches, officials, parents – everyone – have the opportunity to lead, thrive, and help take sport to the next level?
At the Sport Law & Strategy Group, we are happy to be connecting with individuals and organizations throughout the sport community doing great work to raise awareness and bring people together to support members of the Black community – shout out to the Black Canadian Coaches Association, a non-profit organization that is connecting, empowering and advancing racialized minorities in the Canadian sport sector.
At the Sport Law & Strategy Group, I am empowered to add my voice to the conversation – to any conversation, and I have felt this from the moment I joined the team. Not only have I been invited to dig deeper and use this platform to forge the path ahead toward a more diverse and inclusive sport sector overall, but more importantly, I have been really encouraged to do so. We all need people around us to support and inspire us to be our best and do our best. That has become my motto for how I want to serve others. Let’s continue this work together. Do not hesitate to reach out to me to ask how I can provide you with the information, advice, and support you need to be your best and do your best.
BHM Events This Week
There have been many great events this month across all sectors – too many to keep up with – which is a good problem to have. A few programs I am looking forward to this week, which others may find of interest, are:
- Wilfrid Laurier University, Inspiring Conversations: Being Black in Canada. Thursday, February 25, 2021, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM EST.
- Law Society of Ontario and the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), Black History Month 2021: A Strategy Toolkit for BIPOC Inclusion. Thursday, February 25, 2021, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EST.
- Renison University College, Omission and Exclusion of Black People in Canada’s Past,
Friday, February 26, 10:30 am
- 1 Resource Services Corporation, Black History month Black Jeopardy. Friday, February 26, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST.
If you have not already done so, I encourage you to check out Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame campaign, in partnership with TSN, “#WeWillDoBetter, which launched in November 2020 and supports the anti-racism movement by increasing awareness about systemic racism in Canada. http://www.sportshall.ca/campaigns/wewilldobetter.html?lang=EN#
Be sure to follow the Sport Law & Strategy Group on social media and share with us Black History month events, programs, and other initiatives supporting the Black community that you are aware of and involved in. We’d love to hear from you!
And, if you’re feeling rushed that the month is almost over, rest assured there is no deadline for learning about, discussing, and celebrating Black History!
Connect with me at any time at [email protected].