On Friday May 12, 2023, the Black Student Unions throughout the Seven Oaks School Division hosted an evening to showcase the diversity and creativity of students of black heritage in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The event was held at Maples Collegiate, Judy Silver Student Commons, and was well-attended by a diverse group of individuals.
The evening began with a warm welcome and land acknowledgement, followed by greetings from the Board of Trustees. Attendees were then treated to a delicious meal, which included Jollof rice, a rice dish from West Africa, samosas, salad, fresh fruit, and refreshments.
The entertainment for the evening was outstanding, starting with a singing performance, followed by a keynote speech by Ray Neufeld, Winnipeg’s first black hockey player. Neufeld’s speech was inspiring, and he shared his experiences as a black athlete and the challenges he faced throughout his career. After the speech, attendees had the opportunity to ask Neufeld questions.
The Amber Trails SOCA Dancers were also in attendance, and they wowed the crowd with their incredible performance. The Garden City Collegiate, West Kildonan Collegiate, and Maples Collegiate performances were also excellent, showcasing the talent of the students.
Special guests in attendance included Derek Dabee, Board of Trustees of the Seven Oaks School Division, Devon Clunis, former city of Winnipeg chief of police, Jason Pinder, teacher and leader of the black students union at West Kildonan Collegiate, Emily Brass, journalist and anchor at CBC Manitoba, Adeline Bird, Filmmaker & Author at Adeline Bird Productions, and the Black History Manitoba Celebration Committee (BHMCC), among others.
In conclusion, “An Evening of Black Excellence” was a fantastic event that celebrated the diversity and creativity of students of black heritage in Winnipeg. The Black students unions and organizers did an excellent job putting the event together, and the food, entertainment, and special guests were all top-notch. It was an evening filled with positivity and inspiration, and one that attendees will not soon forget.