February is Black History Month.
Canada first proclaimed it as such in 1995, with Alberta following 22 years later (2017). The month recognizes the accomplishments of black men and women, both throughout history and in our modern society.
"History is really about stories that affect our future and also influence the society we live in," explained Fort Saskatchewan councillor Jibs Abitoye.
For herself, Abitoye told MIX 107 she has been inspired by many black Canadians who changed how we see things today.
Viola Desmond was one of those inspirations. Desmond, a Nova Scotia businesswoman, refused to leave an all-white section in a movie theatre. She was forcefully dragged out of the theatre, charged and put in jail overnight. After paying a fine, she went to court to challenge the charges against her. Her actions sparked inspiration in the civil rights movement and she is now the face on the Canadian $10 bill.
Abitoye is also inspired by John Ware from Calgary, a cowboy in the 1800s. Ware was the first black man to settle in Alberta; some even say he influenced the Calgary Stampede with his skills on a horse.
Along with the Fort Saskatchewan Multicultural Association, Abitoye will be traveling to different schools to educate children about Black History Month.
"Learning where we are coming from helps us build our future and do better with our future essentially. So, I think it's important."
The Government of Canada recently sent a letter stating the association will receive an $8,500 grant to do this.
The Multicultural Association will also host an event on February 23 at the St. George Anglican Church. People will be able to experience a mixture of food, fashion and dance from different cultures.
"Diversity is not just about race and ethnicity. Diversity and inclusion is just looking through the lens of other people," added Abitoye. "Because you're different from someone, you might see things from a different perspective."
All ages are welcome at the event, which starts at 11 a.m.