In the over three years since the Chatham-Kent Black History Symposium last took place in-person, much has happened with respect to race relations and awareness in North America.
This has only highlighted the importance of education and sharing stories, say speakers at the sold-out event, which took place at the WISH Centre.
The symposium featured authors and academics, as well as individuals speaking about their families’ experiences in Canada and the U.S.
Samantha Meredith, executive director of the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society, and Black Mecca Museum curator, was pleased with the response.
“I’m so happy we’re finally back in-person,” she said, noting that the virtual experience wasn’t the same. “It feels amazing to be sold out this year. That gives us great hope for next year.”
A capacity crowd of 75 people attended the event, which was quickly filled up. Meredith said they will consider renting a larger space next time to accommodate more participants.
She said the Black Lives Matter movement and numerous large-scale events show the enthusiasm is still there, especially among the youth.
“During the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter, the marches … it kind of got even more interest into the history of our area, and across North America,” she said.
“I think we have a great desire in the younger generation. Most of the universities in the province have added Black history departments. … People want to go and learn about this, and add that to part of their degrees now too.”
Among Saturday’s speakers included Chatham author Ian Kennedy, who read from his book ‘On Account of Darkness.