Kitchener, ON – Today, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, on behalf of the City of Kitchener, issued the following statement to recognize Black History month and the many African, Caribbean and Black individuals and organizations in our community:

February marks the beginning of Black History Month – a time dedicated to honouring the legacy and contributions of Black Canadians, both past and present. Ontario is home to the largest Black population in Canada, originating from over 150 countries around the world. Locally, members of the African, Caribbean and Black communities have a long and meaningful history of contributing to the fabric and culture of the community – and those important contributions continue today.

Over the past year we have once again been reminded of the important leadership role members of our local African, Caribbean and Black communities continue to play in creating much needed, and long-overdue changes to our organizations, our institutions and our governments. Their strength of leadership has had a truly meaningful impact, and it has rallied many in our community to join efforts in working towards change – as was most evident by the strong support shown for the Black Lives Matter march that took place last June. Due in large part to the leadership of the local Black community, we are seeing more residents than ever engage in the vital work of fighting anti-Black racism, dismantling systemic barriers and working towards a more equitable community.

As I reflect on the many contributions members of the local African, Caribbean and Black community have made over many decades – even in the face of ongoing oppression and anti-Black racism – I recognize the City of Kitchener can, and must, do better as an employer and as a municipality. Both myself and our Council are firmly committed to pushing for much needed change within our organization, including making changes to our policies, services, supports and hiring practices, to name a few.

Although we’re unable to gather together in-person this year to celebrate Black History Month, it’s exciting to know that a number of virtual events are being organized by several Black-led community groups and others. I encourage you to participate in these events. For more information, visit  In addition, residents are invited to join the Kitchener City Council meeting virtually on Feb. 22, where members of the local African, Caribbean and Black community will be making a presentation about the Hymn to Freedom Project – a video created to recognize and celebrate some of the many contributions Black Canadians have made to this country and our community.

Please join me, and all of Kitchener City Council, in honouring and celebrating the perseverance, strength and rich cultural history of African, Caribbean and Black members of our community.   

Mayor Berry Vrbanovic


For more information: 
Shawn Falcao 
Manager, Corporate Communications