On Monday, February 1, the city of Saint John will be raising the Pan-African flag for its second year to kick off Black History Month.
Black History Month in Canada
Black History Month began in Canada in 1995 through a motion introduced in the House of Commons by Jean Augustine, Canada’s first Black woman elected to Parliament. The purpose of this month is to recognize the achievements and contributions of Black people to Canada’s history, which have helped make our country into what it is today. Black History Month is also recognized by the U.S., the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands during the month of October.
Origins of the Pan-African flag
The Pan-African flag was designed in 1920 by Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), upon his realization that every race had a flag except for Blacks. It consists of three different colours; red, black, and green. The red represents the blood shed for liberation and that unites all people of Black ancestry; the black represents the Black people who exist together as a nation; the green represents the natural wealth of Africa. The flag is representative of all people of the African Diaspora, meaning all black people across the world.
Event to be held online
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the flag-raising will be live-streamed online at 12 p.m. with only five people participating in-person, including the mayor.
This year, the event has expanded even further to include seven communities in New Brunswick: Saint John, Kennebecasis Valley, Fredericton, Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview, and Miramichi.
Importance of the flag-raising
The event is being sponsored by Black Lives Matter Fredericton, Black Lives Matter New Brunswick, Sankara Market, Black in the Maritimes, PRUDE Inc., and the New Brunswick Black History Society.
According to Lily Lynch, co-founder of Sankara Market and one of the organizers of the event, flag raisings are very symbolic. It represents Black pride and is a symbol of the worldwide liberation of Black people.
“…having this flag raised throughout the province as a unified event is an extremely powerful statement.”
All are welcome to participate in the event by following this link.
To learn more about the history of the flag, visit this site.
To learn more about the organizations involved in this event, visit these links: