BY: GLORIA MUGENYI
February is “Black History” month. A time to honor black excellence as well as celebrate achievements.
The Global Afrikan Community Network (GACN) will be hosting a Pan-Afrikan weekend celebration to honor the month. The weekend promises to be filled with celebrations, dancing and eating as well as learning and networking.
The two-day celebrations will consist of a dinner and dance that will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24th at the Toronto Plaza Hotel’s Lady Hamilton Ballroom, and a “Pan-Afrikan marketplace and food court and Networking” and more on Sunday.
According to GACN “the celebration is based on knowing that Afrikan peoples, both on the Afrikan continent and in the diaspora have not merely a common history, but a common destiny.”
The evening will also feature Dr. Umar Johnson as the keynote speaker for the evening. Johnson is a certified Psychologist and motivational speaker, who is also referred to as the “Prince of Pan-Afrikanism.”
There will be a performance by author and award-winning poet Adam Myrie.
Myrie has appeared in many programmes on stage and in front of the camera, as well as lending his talent to many different charitable causes.
According to the organizers, Myrie is promised: “to take you on a journey across an ocean of time, when master griots sat around ancient fires and told great stories of kings, queens, and gods; in epic tales from the forgotten past.”
The guests will also be treated to a dance performance by Afua Ngoma dance ensemble. The group founded in 2014 by “soca sweet” dance and fitness instructor Kumba Adowa is described as a “Dance Ensemble creating new rhythmic waves in the Afro-Caribbean cultural arts movement in Toronto.”
The Dinner and Dance is going for $60 per person and $100 for couples. The night will also feature a cash bar and a 50/50 draw for the guests. The programming is slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, with the reception taking place at 7 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m.
Guests planning to attend Saturday’s dinner and dance are encouraged to arrive at the event in style clad in their Afrikan attires.
Lady Sharon of Roots Reggae Hub and Dewitt Lee lll of the Money, Power & Respect Show on 96.5 Radio F.M will take you through the evening as your hosts.
There will be more events to follow all day Sunday. The organization will also have a Pan-Afrikan Marketplace and Food court from 12-10 p.m. at the Toronto Plaza Hotel.
According to the organizers “, the free event helps keep the money circulating in our community, support local artists, authors and crafters.”
Sunday will also include a live Lecture by Dr. Umar Johnson. The lecture titled “Pan-Afrikanism or Perish.” The lecture is described as “taking aim at working towards the betterment of the Afrikan diaspora by uniting the diaspora to help eradicate the “isms” that have been passed down generationally through, colonialism, white fragility and negative mental indoctrination.”
People are invited to attend yet another dinner Sunday evening at 6 p.m.
Chop-Z, a street Hip Hop artist from Toronto will kick-off the evening’s programming which will also feature a live performance by Ubuntu Drum and Dance Theatre. The dance group is made up of children that celebrate African culture and history through drumming, dance, and theatre.
The hosts for the evening will be Sister Jessica Jones, a raw-vegan based diet enthusiast and Brother Sankofa a Toronto based radio personality.
Tickets for Sunday night’s dinner will cost $35 each and $30 (advance). Youth seventeen and under as well as seniors sixty-five and over get in for free.
The GACN is an organization made up of different networks of Afrikan, Afrikan-Caribbean, Afrikan-Canadian and Afrikan-Latino Associations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The organization is working towards creating a “Global Afrikan Village through referendum consensus, right here in the GTA and beyond,” this according to the network’s mission.
Black History month is annually observed in the Canada and the US in February as well as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in October.
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To learn more about the Global Afrikan Community Network and their work, please visit www.gacnto.com