Black History Month kicks off in Shelburne with raising of Pan-African flag

·2 min read

Municipal councillors and community leaders in Dufferin County marked the beginning of Black History Month with the raising of the Pan-African flag.

Shelburne Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson and Dufferin County Canadian Black Association (DCCBA) founder and president Alethia O’Hara Stephenson gathered at Shelburne’s Town Hall on Monday (Feb. 1) to mark the raising of the flag.

“It never gets old,” said Deputy Mayor Anderson to the Free Press about the flag raising. “This continues to demonstrate that Shelburne is a very inclusive, diverse, and welcoming community and it’s important that we celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of not only Black Canadians, but Black history as Canadian history.”

“It’s a very proud moment for me to be able to see the Pan-African flag being raised for the second time in the Town of Shelburne. For us to be able to raise the Pan-African flag, it talks about the significant contributions of Black Canadians, not just right here in Dufferin County, but all across Canada,” said O’Hara Stephenson. “It’s also a moment where I look at it as unity, it’s a sense of pride where all of the Black community can come together, but not just the Black community it’s unity for all of Canada and Dufferin County.”

The Pan-African flag was first raised in Shelburne and Dufferin County last February.

The proclamations of Black History Month and the raising of the Pan-African flag was spearheaded by O’Hara Stephenson and students from Centre Dufferin District High School (CDDHS) in 2020, who gave a presentations to both the town and the county. The Pan-African flag represents people of African Diaspora and symbolizes Black liberation and freedom.

“What it symbolizes is the people who have paved the way before us, it’s honouring their sacrifice, their service, their contributions,” said Anderson. “Being raised again today, is just a reminder of that and it’s a message of hope and inspiration.

Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills at town council’s last meeting on Jan. 26 proclaimed February in Shelburne Black History Month.

The Pan-African flag was also raised on Monday at the Museum of Dufferin (MOD). In attendance for the flag raising was Dufferin County Warden Darren White, Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills, Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson, Alethia O’Hara Stephenson and staff members from the MOD.

“As the Warden of Dufferin County I am very honoured to be here for the second year now, to proclaim Black History Month in the County of Dufferin. It’s very important that we acknowledge and remember, all those in the Black community who have added to the tapestry that is Dufferin County,” said White.

The Pan-African flag will remain raised in Shelburne and at the Museum of Dufferin throughout Black History Month.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press