Next month is Black History Month (BHM) here in North America.
I have a love/hate relationship with BHM, that you can read about in past blogs.
Today, however, I want to focus on a BHM event that you can participate in, and what I’ve learned already just by hearing about it.
BHM is a month that provides an opportunity to show us what we are missing – simply because we see and hear things we may not see or hear for the rest of the year (one of the reasons I dislike any celebratory month). What often occurs during BHM is that we hear similar narratives about slavery, the underground railroad and the civil rights movement – to the exclusion of stories of African History, African civilizations and contemporary Black narratives (my other beef with BHM).
A new narrative for BHM
My friend and colleague Peter Odle is offering a new narrative.
Peter owns Urban Expeditions (www.urbanexpeditions.com), a company through which he runs tours and experiential games in various North American cities to help folks get to know their urban environment better. This year, he has designed a Black History Month game!
In the process of building the game, Peter has discovered a lot about Toronto’s Black History that is fascinating – and that he didn’t know.
Which brings me to my point:
When we walk around the city we live in, we are often used to a particular narrative (read: the dominant group narrative), and we rarely stop to consider what other stories (and who else’s stories) there may be. Let alone what those stories are.
Toronto’s Black History
Turns out there is quite a bit of Black history in Toronto.
Some of it is on plaques you can read, some forgotten, some unearthed (literally), and some only held in the hearts of our elders.
Peter’s UnlockTheCity™️ Black History Month game gives you an opportunity to see and learn about Toronto’s Black History – and learn more about Toronto, period! – while having the chance to win some great prizes.
I’ve seen the game board, and it’s amazing to consider who and what has come before us – and how little we often hear and know about it.
“I discovered that there is an extreme depth of history and experience that our ancestors and forefathers have had,” Peter told me. “And researching BHM has taught me that you’ve got to be resilient”.
Come out and explore some of the stories of Black resilience that Toronto has benefitted from – then and now!
Bring Black History alive for yourself in real-time – on the streets you walk on and the buildings you walk by every day.
If you live in Toronto, and you’re free on February 24th, get two colleagues, two friends or two family members (because you need a team of 3) and sign up for the UnlockTheCity™️ Black History Month game.
You’ll have a ton of fun, and you’ll see a different layer to the city you live in.
Which is cool.
Because there are multiple histories in any urban or rural environment.
It’s just that we often only hear about some of them.