Black History Month: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build

February is Black History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the richness, history and cultural contributions of Black individuals. The 2024 theme for Black History Month is, Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build. This theme celebrates the rich past and accomplishments of Black Canadians while aspiring to embrace new opportunities for the future.

Black Excellence in Canada

Through art, sports, academia, entrepreneurship and advocacy, Black Canadians continue to leave a lasting impact on our country.

In the arts, Grammy-winning singer Daniel Caesar and multi-award-winning author Nalo Hopkinson, are creating spaces for Black voices to be heard. Athletes like Andre De Grasse, an Olympic-winning sprinter, and Angela Jame, a pioneer of women’s hockey, have not only achieved remarkable accomplishments but also continue to inspire future generations.

Dr. Afua Cooper, a poet and scholar, is helping organizations improve racial and ethnic justice in the workplace. George Elliott Clarke, author and professor, pioneered the study of African-Canadian literature. Academics like Dr. Cooper and George Clark continue to expand our understanding of Canadian history and culture.

Organizations like R.I.S.E. (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere), empower Black youth to find their voice through their art and self-expression.

Activists within the Black Lives Matter movement, and organizations like the Congress of Black Women of Canada, continue to move social justice and equality forward in Canada.

These individuals and organizations collectively embody resilience and an unwavering dedication to making a difference, shaping a future where the contributions of Black Canadians are fully recognized and celebrated.

Black Excellence at ACT

ACT is proudly founded and led by our CEO, Cindy Harrison. Having practiced speech-language pathology for over thirty-five years, Cindy has dedicated her career to helping children and youth with autism and developmental disabilities along with their families and has touched countless lives through her tireless work and advocacy.

This year, Cindy is a keynote speaker at the Ignite Conference at the end of February – a conference celebrating and supporting the Black community of entrepreneurs, business executives, leaders and allies of the Black community.

A “Did You Know” from our CEO

Did You Know?

  • I am the descendant of slaves on both my mom and my dad’s side of the family. My mom and my dad’s relatives escaped through the Underground Railroad and settled in Owen Sound, Ontario (my dad’s family) and the Queen’s Bush Settlement near Guelph (my mom’s family). Many slaves adopted/assumed the last name of the plantation owners (in Africa, where they were taken from their names did not follow the given name surname format in North America). The Harrisons were the plantation owners in Florida that “owned” my dad’s relatives.
  • My mom’s cousin is Reverend James Lawson, a civil rights activist and one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s right-hand men. If you Google Reverend James Lawson, you’ll gain some insight into this amazing man.
  • After the death of George Floyd in 2020, my brother, Mark Harrison, added a sixth organization to his group of companies (MH3) called the Black Talent Initiative, an organization founded to amplify, celebrate and support Black Talent (BTI). I have done some volunteer work with BTI assisting a young Black man who is neurodiverse to obtain (and retain) his first job as a database manager for a medium-sized business.”