Recognizing Black History Month

“We recognize that in many cities and spaces, Queer Black folks still face erasure from the Black community as well as the mainstream queer community. In this space however, we exist. We remember. We hold this space and honour individuals in our community. We remember the work that has been done and we are inspired to do the work that lies ahead. But most of all, we are reminded that we are not alone and we have always been here.” — House of Anansi

February marks the beginning of Black History Month. While we reflect on and celebrate the legacy of Black lives, MCC Toronto would challenge you to lift up, celebrate, listen to, and learn from those in our community who are living Black queer lives, specifically. Our friends at Queer Events (a community resource and connection tool) agree: “the histories and struggles of queer Black communities and contributions are frequently erased and missing from mainstream narratives. Deemed unworthy of saving or even recognized by society, they often remain buried in files and boxes in the homes of the individuals who participated in those activities or faded out of memory. This loss of memory threatens to erase us from the history of the Queer community, and it is vitally important that this space is reclaimed and held.”

To the Black community members: we wish you a joyful time of community and celebration of all your intersecting identities. If you are a white ally of the Black community, we urge you not to be a passive observer this Black History Month. Read about and follow the work of notable Black Canadians, support Black-owned businesses in the GTA, attend programsclasses, & exhibits, show up to community events, engage with queer Black creators, take in Black art, and — just as we are challenging ourselves to do at MCC Toronto in 2023— engage in active self-learning on becoming anti-racist.

Our vibrant queer community is blessed with the super-power of support that allows us to lift up one another in a magical way. This February, we invite you to use that gift to uplift those with multi-identities and all of their beautiful intersections.

Join MCC Toronto this month as we celebrate Black History Month. Beginning at this Sunday’s Worship Service (Feb 5) and continuing through to Feb 26, we will host special Theme Conversations that will spotlight different stories and people in black history, focusing on activism, faith and queerness. This Sunday, Rev. Junia begins our Theme Conversation series by highlighting the life and work of Rev. Pauli Murray, an American civil rights activist, lawyer, gender equality advocate, priest, author, and queer person. You can read about Rev. Pauli Murray here or watch Rev. Junia talking about last year on MCC Toronto’s TikTok channel!

This month, Music Director Jason Jestadt has invited two incomparable musical guests – Billy Newton-Davis (February 5 & 12) and Beau Dixon (February 19 & 26) – along with our amazing Choir of MCC Toronto, to help us celebrate the gospel music, African American spirituals, South African rhythms and contemporary jazz and blues music that is at the beating heart of popular western sacred and secular music. In Jason’s words… “This is the music that uplifts us, calls for social change and expresses cultural pride and deep faith while never shying away from a painful past. It is this music that inspires us to move, fills us with joy or moves us to tears.”

Happy Black History Month!

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