Stamps, choirs, basketball and art at Richmond Black History celebrations

Historical stamps, basketball, a gospel choir and an art exhibition – Black History Month (BHM) in Richmond just about has something for everyone.

A slew of events over the course of February are planned for Richmond Cultural Centre and Richmond Public Library to mark and celebrate BHM.

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Organizer Mary Wilson has been busy behind the scenes for several months and she’s hoping for a good turnout at this year’s events.

“The theme is the contributions in the breaking down of barriers from the Black community through culture, arts and sports,” Wilson told the News on Monday.

“And we are hoping to have more programs throughout the year, not just during Black History Month. We need younger people to come in and keep it going. The library are looking into it right now.”

From Feb. 1 to 15, the artist featuring in the cultural centre’s upper rotunda will be Chrystal Johnson, a soapstone, clay artist and painter, with her exhibit titled “Are we, a series of Soapstone Carvings.”

The library presentations for BHM are:

Friday, Feb. 7, 6-7:30 p.m.:

Presenter: Jackie Bailey, operations manager, Canada Post:

- unveil Black History Month Stamp, 2020;

- talk about the chosen recipient for the stamp;

- talk about the process of criteria for choosing candidates, who is involved, how decision is made.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 1-3 p.m.:

Presenter: Checo Tohomaso, founder and musical director of the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir:

Come listen, sense and feel the cadence within as Checo takes you on a journey through the history of music in the Black community, including R&B, jazz, reggae, Hawaiian calypso and gospel. Hear some history about famous Black artists who performed the music.

Sunday, Feb. 16, 1-2:30 p.m.:

Presenter: Hope Segun, basketball player, coach, youth mentor and organizer of basketball camps:

Hope will give the history of basketball, (founder was Canadian) and talk about how the game became one of the sports choices within the Black community and its ongoing impact.

Friday, Feb. 28, 6-8p.m.:

Panel discussion: Panelists: Karen Ameyaw-lawyer, community volunteer; Carmen Lake, a Nova Scotian and lover of history; Lindagene Coyle, full time volunteer who has worked with groups and organizations on issues of diversity and inclusion; Mary Wilson, organizer some of Richmond BHM events.

The panel will discuss the status of BHM events in Canada/B.C. today. Everybody is welcome.

For more details and to register (some programs require registration), go online to http://rpl.yourlibrary.ca/

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