Nikki Clarke is President of the Ontario Black History Society
Black History is Canadian History. Black History is International History. The contributions and achievements of black people can be seen in arts and culture, inventions, architecture, policy making, sports, and the list goes on.
Since becoming the newly elected president November 9, 2015, it has been a very busy and rewarding time for me personally and the organization as a whole. Our goals moving forward are to create more engaging programs for the youth to carry on our legacy and to provide inclusive opportunities for French and Spanish speaking blacks.
We dedicate February to give homage to the achievements of committed members of the black community whose exemplary work has uplifted us in a very impactful way. In 1978, the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) was born from the vision of Dr Daniel G. Hill, Donna Hill, Wilson O. Brooks, Fran Brooks, Joan Kazmarski, and Lorraine Hubbard. The OBHS has a mandate to promote, protect and preserve black history in Canada.
After serving one year as president with the board of directors, we are proud of the great strides we have made in initiating new community partnerships and implementing new programming. In May, the OBHS launched the Dirigeants de Demain conference which is the French extension of Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) Conference. The LOT invites accomplished members of the community to speak in front of high school students in grades 9-11 to share the career development journeys. We were so happy to offer this in two days in both English and French.
November 10, the OBHS in collaboration with George Brown College opened the doors of the Lucie and Thornton Blackburn Centre. It was yet another great victory for the black community in giving homage to the Blackburns who sacrificed so much to improve the lives of black settlement and giving us the first taxi cab company in Toronto.
Together we can make a difference. Ensemble nous pouvons faire une difference. Podemos hacer una diferencia.