Whitby Chamber of Commerce’s Inaugural Black History Month Event – Growth, Promise and Beyond

On February 2, Whitby Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural Black History Month event developed in partnership with the recently formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. The theme of the event was Growth, Promise and Beyond.

The event focused on providing a greater understanding of inclusive procurement, programming available to support Black entrepreneurs, and there was an opportunity to meet some innovative business owners in our community. The well-received and attended event also spotlighted various Black entrepreneurs in our community, sharing their unique gifts and talents through their businesses.

WCC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee felt the need to create an event that provided valuable information and insights, while also highlighting opportunities and challenges Black businesses face. This was highlighted in one of the panels I had the privilege to moderate, featuring Black business leaders in our community. They shared their stories, challenges, and the importance of celebrating Black achievement this month and beyond.

Marlon Hylton, Chair and CEO of Pledge Committee from BlackNorth Initiative shared the inspiring work being done in their organization. A challenge to ‘senior leaders from all Canadian companies and organizations both from the public and private sector–to sign a CEO Pledge committing their companies to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.’ A pledge WCC has taken to show its commitment to learning, growing, and moving forward.

Cassandra Dorrington, President & CEO of Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, and one of Diversity Canada’s Influential Women in Diversity and HR shared valuable opportunities for business relationships and economic growth within the Canadian supply chain for Black Businesses, which was a major highlight of the morning.

A second panel highlighted the work of Black Canadians in tech and the economic impact for increased support for Black business owners. It was a morning filled with incredible insights, valuable learning and inspiration, and a great way to kick-off Black History Month!

This is the first of many events the Chamber will deliver, with the objective of amplifying Black voices & Black businesses!

-Uchechi Ezurike-Bosse, My Empowered Living and Bossurike