PVNC Catholic to host Black History Month Opening Ceremony

Black History Month Image 2024

Jan. 23, 2024

Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School Board will be welcoming a slate of prominent black leaders and local dignitaries as it launches Black History Month with a daylong Opening Ceremony event at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.

February is Black History Month in Canada. This is an important time to acknowledge the contributions black Canadians have made to our history and culture. PVNC Catholic is proud to honour those pioneers and change makers and celebrate their role in shaping our communities.

“As we inaugurate our Black History Month celebrations, it is a moment of profound reflection and celebration for our entire school community,” PVNC Catholic Director of Education Stephen O’Sullivan said. “This month is not just about recognizing the historical achievements and contributions of black individuals, but it’s also an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for all our students. We’re dedicated to ensuring that the rich diversity and history of the black community are not only acknowledged but are an integral part of our educational journey throughout the year.”

The Feb. 1, 2024 Opening Ceremony will run 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will gather together board staff, students and invited guests under this year’s Black History Month theme: “Ours To Tell.” This theme represents both an opportunity to engage in open dialogue and a commitment to learning more about the stories black communities in Canada have to tell about their histories, successes, sacrifices and triumphs.

“The launch of Black History Month is a vital step in our ongoing journey towards equity and inclusion. It’s an occasion that challenges us to look beyond the curriculum, to engage in meaningful conversations, and to embrace the diverse narratives that shape our understanding of the world,” explained PVNC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, Benjamin Tenesia. “This month, we not only honour the significant contributions of black individuals throughout history, but also empower our students and staff to be agents of change, fostering a school environment where every voice is heard, respected, and valued.”

The opening ceremony will feature a mobile black history museum, and PVNC Catholic is excited to welcome the following speakers, who will share their stories:

Photo of woman

The Honourable Bernadette Clement, Senator: A legal aid lawyer and politician who has served on the Canadian Senate since 2021, Senator Clement was the first woman to be elected as mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, and the first black woman to serve as a mayor in Ontario.



Dwayne Morgan: Morgan is a 2023 appointee of the Order of Ontario, and a two-time Canadian National Poetry Slam Champion. He began his career as a spoken word artist in 1993.  In 1994, he founded Up From The Roots entertainment, to promote the positive artistic contributions of African Canadian and urban influenced artists.


Police officer

Emmanuel Iheme: A retired Durham Regional Police Service staff sergeant, Iheme has served his community in many leadership and youth mentorship roles including Past President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa, Co-Chair of the City of Oshawa Walk of Fame committee and a longtime member of the Canadian Centre For Ethics in Sports.



Tony Jno Baptiste: Baptiste is a high-Level strategic planner and organizational development specialist. He is also a professional training and development consultant who has designed and facilitated workshops/seminars on anti-black racism, social justice, and anti-oppressive practices for corporations, institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations.