There are big people and small people everywhere, but the word “racism” often has the effect of shutting people down. Although the topic has a serious place in CNC’s Black History Month activities, scheduled throughout February, this year the messenger will be going through the back door.
“We educate by celebrating. By celebrating we expose other cultures to black culture. By sharing things that we enjoy whether it be food, dance or drums at the same time we bridge a gap,” said Granville Johnson, the BHM media advisor and a local musician. “We want people to internalize rather than become defensive.”
The fifth annual Black History Month celebrations in Prince George will include a series of hands-on, community workshops and events beginning February 2 that include Afro-Caribbean dance classes, children’s storytelling in the black tradition at the Prince George Public Library, cooking classes to learn the basic principles of Trinidadian, Jamaican and African cuisine, drum circles, a visit from a key note speaker and a film night.
To kick off Black History Month on February 1, there will be a presentation in UNBC’s Canfor Theatre at 7 p.m. entitled “There is More To Africans Than Safaris and Suffering” by Laba Guebezai, who will describe her life in Eritrea, a small country in eastern Africa.
“We are trying to educate people within our culture, black to black, and within the broader community. Learning by doing is the best way, and the experience will be in the spirit of the African concept of community, which is based on extended family and spontaneous community,” said Johnson, citing Western culture’s concept of family tends to be more nuclear.
“There is all kinds of cultural conflict within our community. By participating in these events and workshops we hope people, big or small, will gain an appreciation of the cultural diversity within Prince George.”
Dance classes will be held February 2 and 9 in the CNC cafeteria. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children. Cooking classes run February 10 (Trinidadian style), 19 (Jamaican) and 24 (African) at First Baptist Church. A free children’s storytelling hour featuring stories and dances in the black tradition will be held February 8 at 11 a.m. A drum circle will be held at ArtSpace with Granville Johnson from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on February 19 and father and daughter (Shallom) will perform in Drummer an’ Dancer at UNBC’s Winter Garden on February 21 at noon. On the 22nd, there will be an evening of music, dance, food and fashions in CNC’s Atrium featuring keynote speaker Justice Romilly, Bel Canto Choir and performers Laura Zimmerman and Shallom Johnson. This event is free. Cinema CNC presents Standing in the Shadow of Motown March 8 in room 1-306 at 7 p.m. For more information or to register for an event call 564-9874 or 964-2684.