The Black Council of Windsor-Essex told local leaders to "do more" so the community could mend the broken relationship in the municipality's Black community.

A news report by CTV News Windsor revealed that the council made the statement inside the Sandwich First Baptist Church.

The report noted that the gathering was part of the celebrations of the Emancipation Jubilee.

Festivity Events

CTV News Windsor reported that the council's festivities included a gospel concert and documentary shows.

The weekend events likewise featured barbecue dinners that provided participants with a taste of authentic African cuisine.

Additionally, the council had a 'community dialogue' moderated by Leslie McCurdy, chairperson of the Black Council of Windsor-Essex.

The report revealed that the festivities this year are part of the 90th anniversary of the annual event.

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Outtakes From The Community Conversation

During the weekend, many Black community members voiced out the actions they wish city officials would take, including bringing back the Jackson Park bandshell.

McCurdy said reviving the damaged bandshell would be an homage to the emancipation movement and the event's proponent, Walter Perry.

"I think doing thighs like refurbishing and redeveloping it [is important] as a tribute to emancipation and Walter Perry who, for so many years, brought 100,000 people a year into the city for those celebrations," CTV News Windsor quoted her saying.

McCurdy added that Windsor officials should also call the celebrations Emancipation Day instead of Civic Holiday.

She argued that the term "Civic Holiday" is a way of erasing the Black community's presence in the UK.

McCurdy explained that because Emancipation Day has been recognized nationally, the local community should call Civic Holiday in the same manner to recognize community members of African descent, the same report said.

The council leader was referring to the March 2021 House of Commons' declaration officially designating August 1 of every year as Emancipation Day.

Aside from these actions, McCurdy's group wanted the city to redevelop the area that once housed Windsor Arena.

The site reportedly once housed residents of McDougall Street.

Some audience members recalled how a 1950s-era city redevelopment plan effectively uprooted Black community members.

McCurdy argued that by redeveloping Windsor Arena, members of Windsor's Black community could share it with other community members.

She explained that many in the local community are looking forward to "see some real activity" return to Windsor Arena, so people can engage with each other.

About Emancipation Jubilee

The CTV News Windsor article said that Emancipation Day was the brainchild of Walter Perry, a resident of Windsor.

The same report bared that the first festivities were held at the Jackson Park bandshell back in 1932.

The site reportedly had former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dr. Benjamin Mays. 

The article noted that the three personalities figured prominently in the American civil rights movement.

A 1957 fire reportedly razed the bandshell to the grounds.

The same news article noted how the subsequent iterations of the festivities failed to achieve similar success when they were held in a different venue.

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