Black History Ottawa (BHO) is a registered Charity that engages Canadians to increase their knowledge, understanding and awareness of contributions of Black Canadians to Canadian History. We serve the community by developing and offering mentorship, youth leadership and health programs that are open to the public. Our programs are inclusive and create opportunities for positive interactions between diverse communities.
Once the pandemic began, we were challenged to find new ways to stay connected to a community worried about job losses, adapting to working from home, disrupted schooling, the inability to gather in-person and a host of new realities.
At first, we delayed the annual Health and Wellness Seminar that we organize with other members of the African Caribbean Canadian Coalition (ACCC). We came close to cancelling the event but like other organizations, we pivoted to online events and looked for creative ways to continue educating the public. We ended up hosting two online health seminars, one in July and one in September. We also applied ourselves at learning to better use social media to create awareness about our work.
Recognizing the opportunities presented by being able to connect with people virtually, we held an online panel discussion marking Emancipation Day on August 1st, featuring speakers in Toronto, Halifax and Washington, D.C.
When restrictions were extended and we couldn’t gather to honour our veterans as in the past for Remembrance Day, we showed our ability to adjust to the new conditions and offered a virtual event to remember, celebrate and properly honour our veterans.
We continue to connect with the public by doing more presentations to organizations across the country who more than ever are eager to deepen their knowledge of Canadian Black History and lived experiences.
Photo: Black History Ottawa’s ‘Connecting the Dots’ Ceremony. Photo: © Black History Ottawa, 2019.