Montreal kicks off Black History Month with soirée

"Great honour," says Fimo Mitchell, one of the 12 laureates being celebrated by the Round Table on Black History Month, a non-profit organization highlighting the accomplishments of leaders within Quebec's Black communities. Swidda Rassy reports.

Black History Month has begun and Montreal is shining the spotlight on 12 impactful individuals at the opening night of the 2024 Round Table on Black History Month at the Honeyrose Hotel.

The Round Table on Black History Month annually releases a free calendar featuring the year’s laureates, and this year’s theme is “Many Stories, One History.”

The honourees include H. Nigel Thomas, Papa Amadou Touré, Kathy Roach, Joseph Sarenhes, Frédéricka Petit-Homme, Cyrille Ekwala, Samantha Nyinawumuntu, Fimo Mitchell, Arcelle Appolon, Vovo Saramanda, Ibrahima Gassama, and Stephane Moraille.

“We’re going to basically unveil our laureates, our ambassadors that have worked so hard throughout their life…so we’re going to give them the kudos and the applause that they definitely deserve,” said Michael P. Farkas, president of the Round Table on Black History Month.

“We’ve been shunned down, we’ve been in the trenches but now, we’re coming out and we want to show our contributions,” said Farkas.

It’s a great honour,” said Fimo Mitchell, one of the 12 laureates being celebrated.

Mitchell is the founder of “When The Village Meditates,” a non-profit dedicated to fostering meditation, yoga, and wellness retreats tailored to racialized and marginalized communities.

“The work that I’m doing matters like, it’s seen and it’s appreciated…bringing meditation and yoga into the black community and racialized community is not something that has really been done before like this so, it’s nice that it’s appreciated,” said Mitchell.

Tailaire Laguerre also known as “Tai” is the French spokesperson of the event. He’s also content-creator on social media and comedian who believes in the power of laughter.

“A lot of people say to me, your story is inspiring me and I’m very happy, and my objective is to inspire the teenager, the Black teenager,” said Laguerre.

In a press release from the group, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, Christine Fréchette writes, “Every year, Black History Month is a wonderful opportunity to collectively celebrate the accomplishments of members of Québec’s Black communities. Thanks to their talents and commitment, they have been contributing to the social, cultural and economic development of Québec for centuries. I encourage Quebecers of all origins to learn about the history of these communities and to participate in the various activities organized by the Round Table on Black History Month in every region of Québec. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to build and strengthen the ties that unite us!”

Celebrating its 33rd edition, the Round Table, a non-profit organization, aims to engage a growing audience throughout Quebec, promoting Black community history both past and present.

“We all have a story. We’re all part of the same history so in that context we are going to highlight some of the stories Blacks have gone through, their journeys,” said Farkas.

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