Emancipation Festival to go virtual this year again

cjos emancipation

(Photo courtesy emancipation.ca)


Like so many events in the past 16 months, the 159th Owen Sound Emancipation Festival will not be held in person this yer but instead will go virtual. 

This will be the first Emancipation Day celebration since a bill was unanimously passed in the House of Commons to officially recognize this significant day across Canada.

The virtual experience is an alternative to the annual festivities in Owen Sound which is recognized as the most northern terminus of the Underground Railroad and the longest continuous running emancipation picnic in North America.

"It is an honour and a privilege to participate in the Emancipation Festival each year where people come together, engage in conversation, share stories and renew friendships - it's pretty special," said Ian Boddy, Mayor of Owen Sound. "Emancipation Day is essential for the country and certainly important for us here in Owen Sound." 

A video to be launched Sunday, August 1 will showcases speakers and performers who share compelling stories and compositions of freedom, legacy and inclusion.

Featured are the Honourable Wanda Thomas Bernard, Senator - Nova Scotia (East Preston), Owen Sound's Mayor Ian Boddy, Members of Parliament Alex Ruff (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound), Majid Jowhari (Richmond Hill) and Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre), Dr. Afua Cooper, Ontario's Poet Laureate Randell Adjei, and many others.

Musicians Bobby Dean Blackburn, Brooke Blackburn, Harrison Kennedy, Michael Dunston, Eugene Smith, Josh Ritchie and other artists are also showcased.                           

"We strive to uphold the integrity of our organization and preserve a 159-year legacy to honour Black ancestors and their stories of adversity and determination," said Jeff Smith, Chair, Emancipation Festival. "We stand together with Indigenous people and other ethnicities to fight for social equality, justice and freedom. The support from our volunteers and the community including Bruce Power Generation has been wonderful, and we look forward to celebrating the 160th anniversary in 2022. "

The Emancipation Festival, originally called the Emancipation Day Picnic, commemorates the British Commonwealth Emancipation Act of August 1, 1834.

Since 1862, descendants of those who escaped slavery and found freedom and peace in Canada, gather in Owen Sound`s beautiful Harrison Park and other places such as the Grey Roots Museum and Archives over the Civic holiday weekend.

This is a time for fellowship and reflection with family and community, to share memories, and keep the picnic and other traditions alive for future generations.

For more information click here http://www.emancipation.ca/

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