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Pictured above: Amena Agbaje, Partner Manager, US East, Shopify Plus

The Green Book has generated some well deserved discussion over the past year. Unfortunately, that discussion has been focused on the success of a film that dishonors the legacy of Don Shirley by placing the focus on his white driver.

When Gwen Lord applied to become a teacher with the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal in 1961, she was relieved the interviewer was someone she knew well, the father of a best friend. She hoped graduating top of her class with a bachelor’s degree in science and a specialty in education from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) would trump skin colour. It would not.

You likely know February is dedicated to celebrating Black history, officially in Canada since a motion passed in the House of Commons in 1995. But do you know who introduced that motion?

In a quiet Oak Bay cafe, Ron Nicholson strummed the side of his coffee mug as he delved into his thoughts. As a director of the BC Black History Awareness Society, Nicholson’s historical knowledge intertwines with his own personal history.

If you want to understand my basic ambivalence toward the concept of a “Black History Month”, then just tap the word “consolation” into your Google browser. Within the span of one second, you will be treated to a dropdown definition along the lines of “the comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment” or “a person or thing providing comfort to a person who has suffered.”

During the golden age of North American train travel, sleeping cars often came with porters who would carry your luggage and shine your shoes. Porters were smiling, courteous and unfailingly polite; for the better part of the last century, they were also Black, male, and sometimes referred to condescendingly as “George’s boys” — or, simply, “George.”

It’s the little program that grew - the roots of The Transitional Year Programme (TYP) at the University of Toronto began in the African Canadian community through two summer programs in 1969 and 1970, and since then, hundreds of graduates have gone onto successful careers in the last 50 years.

An Edmonton man is making sure awareness for black history isn’t confined to the 28 days that make up Black History Month.

Toronto public schools have major and rising student achievement gaps based on race and income, according to a recent landmark report. One of the biggest blocks to closing these gaps is educators’ understanding of why these gaps exist and the methods used to try and close them.

2019 has been named The Year Of The Return by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. During a September 2018 event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., he said the “time is right” for people of African descent to make the journey back, with Ghana leading the way with its open arms.

The York Eglinton neighbourhood of Oakwood isn’t letting the dust of construction dim it’s light. Instead, for its second annual Cityscapes Winter Exhibition, the local BIA has teamed up with the NIA Centre for the arts to re-invigorate many of the empty and abandoned storefronts with vivid art from a select group of Black artists. The theme is “New Perspectives of Home.”

We’ve come a long way when it comes to women in the workforce, but when it comes to the construction industry, we’ve still got a long way to go. Even though construction is one of Canada’s largest employers, women account for just 4.5 percent of those working in the skilled trades.

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