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2-day Liberation Day celebration of culture and freedom

This weekend’s first-ever Liberation Day festival in Iqaluit’s history “is a celebration of everything we’ve accomplished,” says Stephen White, one of the two-day event’s directors and coordinators.

Stephen White and partner Joanne Henderson White at a fashion show organized by the Nunavut Black Historical Society earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of the Nunavut Black Historical Society)

The Nunavut Black Historical Society hosts an event honoring the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

Saturday will be held at the Astro Theater in Iqaluit. Vendors, including a designer his bazaar to share arts and crafts, will be set up from 4-9pm, followed by entertainment as part of his Night on the World Stage, which runs from 6-9pm. It is done.

On Sunday, the event moves to Cadet Hall. Bender will again set up from 4pm to 9pm and live entertainment from 6pm to 9pm will follow the Urban His Beat theme.

The festival includes a wide variety of musical entertainment including Afrobeat, Urban Soul, Reggae and more, with renowned artists such as Shauna Seeteenak, Young Keen, Safi Madeba and Musbe Black.

The Nunavut Black Historical Society says the event is free and open to all, and members want the community to participate.

Last year, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to designate August 1 (the day the Abolition Act of 1834 came into force) as Emancipation Day.

The passage of this law freed more than 800,000 enslaved Africans and their descendants in Canada, parts of the Caribbean, Africa and South America.

Nunavut society has celebrated Black History Month in February through events such as fashion shows and film screenings in the past.

White said the celebrations in Iqaluit this weekend will celebrate the freedom and independence of people of African descent.

He said he hopes African Canadians in Nunavut will be able to “express themselves” through music and dance. According to 2016 census data, the black community in Nunavut is about 325 people.

“No words,” White said. “We have used music and dance to communicate, to celebrate important ceremonies and to celebrate.

“Freedom is like this. Free people should be able to express themselves and be included.”

It is being held now rather than closer to the official August 1st as many were away or on vacation during the summer months.

White said the celebration of liberation is important, especially given that people of African descent continue to face systematic oppression around the world.

A prominent example continues to be the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer in the summer of 2020, spurring protests against police brutality across Canada and in Iqaluit.

“We recognize that there is still much work to be done. We recognize that there are still many challenges and hurdles to overcome when it comes to racial harmony,” White said. , we are looking at both sides.

“We have to celebrate our achievements and that [celebrating] I will release. This festival is a celebration of all that we have achieved. ”