Calgary Black Chambers raising money to support students
Posted Feb 10, 2024 09:02:04 AM.
Last Updated Feb 10, 2024 09:02:08 AM.
A special Black History Month event was held Friday evening in Calgary to raise scholarship money for Black students.
With a full house at a celebration for black history month in Calgary, the 2nd annual Calgary Black Chambers Black History Month dinner kicked off.
Money raised at the event will go toward students in high school heading to university and to current post-secondary students.
“We’re hoping to raise $50,000 for scholarships for the Calgary Black Chambers Legacy Scholarships. We have 10 of those and we give out five to black grade 12 students going onto university and the other five will go to students in university already,” she said.
The chamber’s co-founder and president Chi Iliya-Ndule says the main goal of the organization is to make Calgary the most equitable place for black people to live, work and play in Canada.
“When we found out we have sold out I was so excited it actually brought tears to my eyes that people are actually willing to put their money where their mouth is to come support black kids to help them get to where they want to be financially,” Iliya-Ndule told CityNews.
“I’m overwhelmed and I’m just super grateful that they are all here to support this cause.”
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Artist Jola Adeniji is helping to raise funds for the scholarship fund by creating art to be auctioned off during the event, he says it’s a good way to give back to the community. Marking black history month is important for the Nigerian artist who has called Calgary home for about seven months.
“It is so important for me because it makes me feel like home, it’s important for me because it’s part of who I am, part of my culture, it’s more likeminded people it’s just a way to say, ‘Hey we know a lot of bad things have happened in the past, but we’ve been recognized we’ve been understood and we’ve been equal,'” Adenji said.
Essence Martinelli, the lead planner for the dinner for both years the event has been organized, says the room is filled with Black community members and allies, but notes a persistence in continuing to bring voice to Black students and others affected by racism.
“It’s unfortunate but systemic racism does still exist and it’s really important for us to bring awareness to that,” she explained.
“There are unfortunate struggles that students are still experiencing in public schools and in private schools so this is really shedding light on that to ensure that the Black community can really achieve their goals and their hopes and their dreams.”