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Black History Month at Innisfil library looks to spark talks around diversity, inclusion

February will see members of 'Making Change' take over the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library social media accounts
Lakeshore Branch
Innisfil's Lakeshore Branch Library. Submitted.

Throughout February, the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library is celebrating Black History Month with a collection of free virtual programs and special events to educate the public and honour Black, African and Caribbean culture.

“We’re excited to work with a long list of community partners, who are helping us on our journey of learning, dismantling systemic racism, and deepening our knowledge of the history, culture, and endless contributions of Black Canadians and people of African descent,” said Susan Baues, Innisfil ideaLAB & Library Deputy CEO. “With the recent events in the United States, Canada, and the critical discussion brought forward by the Black Lives Matter Movement, it is so important for all of us to take advantage of these opportunities to educate ourselves and embrace the richness of Black culture.”

Among the highlights, February will see members of Making Change - including local activists Shondra Durrant, Keliah Casey, and Alasoba Kelsy-Braide - take over the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library social media accounts.

Making Change will also lead a virtual presentation titled If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes to spark conversations and discussions around diversity and inclusion. Through sharing her lived experience, presenter Amber Beckett, will provide a local overview of the Black Lives Matter Movement, how to become an ally, and how to do self-work around anti-Black racism.

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library is also partnering with UPlift Black to deliver Black-led wellness programming, including a live yoga class and a live dance class with Lily Maraharj, that will feature music and dance moves from the African Diaspora. UPlift Black will also be hosting a free 2SLGBTQPNIA+ Virtual Meet UP and through the Library, the public can receive access to the premiere of the UPlift Black Web Series “UPlift Black Hair”.

Other Black History Month events include:

  • What’s Cooking Innisfil: Spotlight on the Caribbean - learn how to make a jerk-style shrimp and spaghetti dish with the owner of Ms. Hotty Hotty Jerk Marinade
  • Live storytime with local jazz and theatre performer Gwyn Beaver, who is also the creator of Stories of Colour.
  • Live storytime with local author Roxann Whittingham.
  • Watch our social channels for access to customized Black History Month booklists and much more!

For over 25 years, Canadians have celebrated Black History Month thanks to the Honourable Jean Austine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament. Despite having a presence that dated long before Confederation, Black Canadians are often left out of history books, and their culture, stories, and endless achievements remain unrecognized.

“There is a lot of work to do and we will continue to work with and support Innisfil’s Black and Indigenous communities and People of Colour in the best way that we can - February may mark the beginning of your own journey but there will be many more opportunities down the road. In addition to participating in our Black History Month programming, we encourage you to visit the Making Change website to discover and support Black-owned businesses in Simcoe County, subscribe to Stories of Colour YouTube page, and visit UPlift Black’s website to remain up to date on new projects and events that amplify Black voices in Simcoe County,” said Baues.

For more details and a complete list of events, please visit