February was Black History Month in Milton and two organizations – the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH) and the African Caribbean Council of Halton (ACCH) – worked together to see it was celebrated, albeit virtually in Milton this year.

The Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH) is a registered charity that was established in 1977. It services the communities in the Municipality of Halton. Th e CCAH goals are to provide cultural programs grounded in our core values, known as our four pillars: Education, Culture, Community and Harmony. They strive to provide understanding of Caribbean, Black and African cultures through history, art, literature, and music.

The African Caribbean Council of Halton (ACCH) works diligently to help advocate, built, empower and strengthen the African Caribbean Community in Halton. They are focused on proactively reaching out and working together to make a meaningful impact and tangible change in an inclusive community. Being a voice to make change happen through advocacy to help address equitable dealings that affect us all. They collaborate with other local organizations in the region to help build and strengthen the African Caribbean Community

In February the CCAH partnered with Milton Public Library to offer a virtual discussion with author Ijeoma Oluo based on her book “So you want to talk about race” that focused on having open and honest conversations about race. This library partnership included an interactive virtual art session in collaboration with Omar ‘Oms’ Hopkinson, called “Clef Notes to Canvas” that focused on music to evoke feelings that are translated onto the canvas.

CCAH’s partnership with Sheridan College, offered fi lm screenings with Black directors including their own “Legacy Voices” documentary that spotlights Halton’s Caribbean seniors as they share their stories of coming from their native countries to Canada.

CCAH also supported community members through the “No One Goes Hungry” meal program whereby free warm meals and GOOD Food grocery bags were provided in Oakville, Milton, Acton and Georgetown. This was done in partnership with Food for Life, Chef Melani Bastians and Caribbean Vibes restaurant. Also, with the generous sponsorship of the Halton Food For Thought program Healthy Student Snack Bags were provided to elementary and secondary students to fuel their learning.

ACCH continued to work diligently in Halton Region as Covid-19 hit by supporting food banks in all Halton municipalities. ACCH had a Town Hall where they engaged with both elected officials and the community in dialogue. They also started Let’s Talk Virtual Series, a platform they used to bring thought leaders to share with our community.

ACCH’s Black History Month’s theme was “The Black Family”. “History and statistics shows that, the Black families face challenges in the school system and in both private and public organizations.

COVID-19 further exacerbated the suffering of our people as we hold mostly minimum paying jobs and working front line jobs. We continue to be disproportionally affected by the pandemic, our small businesses and entrepreneurs are not spared. The good news is we are having conversations and we will continue to engage in these dialogues until we see actions that change the narratives.”

At ACCH, they are part of the solution and they are asking all Halton residents to be a worthy Ambassador or an Ally. Together we can reduce inequality, inequity, and systemic anti-Black racism for a better region, and be a reference for the rest of Canada. Remember a diversified community, makes for diversity of thoughts and better progress.

On March 25, ACCH is welcoming the Honorable Anita Anand as their guest on Let’s Talk Virtual Series at 6pm that day. For more information about CCAH and ACCH please visit their websites at CCAH.CA and African Caribbean CouncilofHalton.com

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