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February 7, 2012

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CUPE BC celebrates Black History Month

BURNABY—In an effort to promote an active and inclusive union and to promote equality in our society and our workplaces, CUPE BC and its members celebrate black history every year during the month of February.

This is a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions made to British Columbian society, and to our Union, by Canadians of African origin. Among them have been celebrated NDP activists Emery Barnes, a former BC Lions player and Speaker of the House, and Rosemary Brown, a leading women’s advocate and teacher; Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, English Bay’s first official lifeguard; Harry Jerome, Olympic athlete and recipient of the Order of Canada; Mifflin Gibbs, businessman and civic leader; and Sir James Douglas, Britain’s colonial governor in the Pacific Northwest.

On October 18, 2011, a motion put before Vancouver city council to have Black History Month designated as a civic special event with funding was approved by the mayor and council. As a result, a planning team comprised of City of Vancouver staff, cultural organizations and community representatives was established, leading to community partnership events and an official celebration.

This year’s events include a screening on Thursday, February 9 of the film “The Godmother of Rock & Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe” at the Vancity Theatre; a music, dance and multimedia performance on Thursday, February 23 by Skins & Steel, also at the Vancity Theatre; and a screening on Monday, February 27 of the film “The Mighty Jerome,” at the Vancouver Public Library’s Central branch. For times and more information about these and other events please visit:

For more information on the contributions of the black community to Canada, and for a statement by Paul Moist and Charles Fleury, please visit CUPE National’s Black History Month webpage.


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