February 2nd, 2022 Source: The Toronto Star Newspapers

Mono raises the Pan-African flag for the first time, recognizing Black History Month

Attendees spoke of a rich history in Mono and Dufferin

In the words of some of the attendees at the raising of the Pan-African flag in Mono, it’s a day to go down in the history books for the municipality.

For the first time ever, Mono raised the flag in recognition of Black History Month, observed throughout the month of February.

Alethia O’Hara-Stephenson, president and founder of the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association, joined town staff and the five members of Mono council to speak to the proclamation and raising of the flag.

“Black history is not just about celebrating our culture, it’s about celebrating the rich history of Canada,” said O’Hara-Stephenson. “The Pan-African flag represents unity, it represents peace, it represents hope for the community.”

She added it also creates a sense of community.

“That’s what I’m seeing here today,” said O’Hara-Stephenson. “A community gathering together to celebrate the richness, the diversity of Dufferin County, the diversity and richness in Mono.”

Black History Month provides residents not just in Mono, but Canada-wide, with the opportunity to acknowledge and honour the contributions of Black Canadians past and present.

“We have a very rich history with Black settlement, surprisingly so far back as 1820 to 1830, and other parts of Dufferin County have the same, if not more so,” said Mayor John Creelman.

The Ketchums, who later became the Hannahsons, were some of the big names in the area. They owned lands in Mono and left their mark on local history.

“The Hannahson family were the first recorded Black settlers in Mono, and their legacy lives on today,” O'Hara-Stephenson added. “Dufferin County is rich because of their contributions and all the contributions of the other amazing Black leaders right here today.”

Mono’s official proclamation also acknowledged the quest of Black Canadians to receive equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination in Canada, and highlighted their commitment as a municipality to create a more rich community for its diverse members.

“The (town’s) establishment of a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee will identify ways to eliminate barriers and ensure systemic changes are made to promote equity and inclusion in our community,” Creelman said in the proclamation.

On April 4, Mono will also be hosting their 2022 town hall meeting, where the conversation of diversity equity and inclusion is expected to be a key topic.

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