• By: Kat Walcott

Celebrate Black history and culture this month in Ottawa

Black History Month is an extra significant time for everyone to reflect on the bad — continued systemic racism and violence against Black people — and the good — Black activism, legacy, community building, and innovation.

Here’s a list of upcoming events:

Is God Is — February 9th – 19th

Award-winning off-Broadway play “Is God Is” is in Ottawa for an exciting nine-day run at the National Arts Centre. The play focuses on twin sisters Anaia and Racine's quest for revenge and peace after enduring family trauma. Curated as part of the NAC’s Black Theatre Workshop program, the play centres on the Black experience, womanhood, and other fascinating topics. Tickets are available via the NAC.

Hair, Mind, Body & Soul: A Collective Self-Care Gathering — February 11th

Hosted by local program Umoja, in partnership with Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC), Aids Committee of Ottawa, BLKGURI, and Ottawa Public Health, this event focuses on the importance of physical well-being for Black women and how it is tied to mental wellness. The workshop will focus on yoga and skincare. Don’t miss out on a chance to make new friends, network, and learn some of the best fitness and skincare secrets. Register for free here.

Children Stories in the Diaspora — February 12th

If you have little ones, don’t miss an afternoon of engaging and fun storytelling! Notable figures from the Ottawa Black community will read books to entertain, inspire and empower Black children. The event is free and entirely virtual; you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home. The storytelling session will be streamed via Black History Ottawa’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Conversation on the legacies of colonization and slavery — February 16th

Learn about the legacy of colonization and slavery in Canada, how it continues to influence the structure of this country and how we live, and the commonalities it shares with the colonization of the Caribbean. Guest speakers at this special lecture include Arley N Salimbi Gill, June Girvan, and Lerona Dana Lewis. Register for free here.

Virtual Speaker Series: The end of slavery in Upper Canada — February 22nd

Learn why early attempts to abolish slavery in Canada failed and what it took for this dark part of Canadian history to end in 1834. This special presentation is hosted by The Historical Society of Ottawa via Zoom. Register for free here.

Reggae Roots — February 23rd – 25th

Get immersed in the colourful world of reggae music with Jamaican-Canadian vocalist Jah’Mila, conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, and Canada’s National Arts Center Orchestra. The program will reflect on the social, cultural, and spiritual importance of this highly influential genre of music that has helped shape Jamaican and world music. Tickets are available via the NAC website.