June 22nd, 2024

Nomination deadline approaching for Black Excellence Award Gala

By Troy Bannerman - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 16, 2023.

Herald photo by Troy Bannerman Anastasia Sereda, left, Jackie Stambene and Oluwadamilola Idowu will be part of helping to host next month's Black Excellence Awards Gala at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association Multicultural Centre.

The Black Students Association and the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association will be hosting a Black Excellence Award Gala on March 4 at the Multicultural Association.

“The Black Excellence Awards Gala is actually an initiative that was started by the University of Lethbridge Black Student’s Association. And they’re collaborating with us. And we are hosting the awards here, at the Multicultural Centre on Saturday March 4th. And it’s meant to highlight the accomplishments and successes of folks in the Black community, including students,” said Anastasia Sereda, coordinator at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, on Tuesday.

Nomination deadline is Friday.

There will be several categories of awards, said Sereda.

“For the general community awards there are four different categories – Community Builder of the Year, Equity Inclusion Recognition, Service Award and Leadership Award. For some of those awards you can nominate individuals or even groups.”

For nominations, “we are really just looking for a letter of support from someone to nominate those individuals. It will differ between awards, but primarily a lot of community involvement and folks who are trying to make Lethbridge a better place for everybody. This is the first time we are doing this. This is the first time that we are hosting these awards. I think it is a nice way of recognizing the work of folks, especially Black folks, in the community.”

Despite the rich Black history in Southern Alberta, Sereda noted that information really is not readily available.

“I questioned where the Black history exists within southern Alberta. There is John Ware and there’s quite a few other ones, but what about community organization? And from an activist sort of perspective, and what exists in the archives, and the archives don’t really have anything that documents that. So, we’re beginning to try to document different groups, different Black groups that have belonged to the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, trying to document the leadership from each of those groups. Then eventually, we’re hoping that we will evolve into a historical project, just generally to bring awareness to those Black folks who have been active in the community and their contributions over time. Especially to promote multiculturalism and their culture,” said Sereda.

“Once we collect all the applications and the letters of support, then we’ll have a committee review them all and then choose the winners,” Sereda added.

Tickets are on sale now – individual tickets are $35 or people can get a table of eight for $250. Sponsorships are also available

People can contact info@saea.ca or call 403 320 1577 to learn about sponsoring or donating towards the event.

“We have support from the City of Lethbridge Events Grant, so we are really grateful for that. The event begins with a sort of a red carpet to celebrate, take photos, dress up. The meal will be a meal different Black cultures, African, Jamaican, and several others will be contributing different foods to the event. So it won’t be just a regularly catered event from a regular caterer. It will be a collaboration between all of the different communities that are part of the ethnic association, but also some that are part of the broader community generally. Then there will be the awards, a discussion about the project. The historical project that we are undertaking. And then some performances and stuff. I think it will be a really fun night.”

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