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Third Black History Walk in Burnaby to honour Rosemary Brown

The annual free event, organized by Ethiopian Affairs in BC, will celebrate Black History in Canada this Saturday, March 2.
Roughly 200 people walked for 5 km from Swangard Stadium in Burnaby in honour of Black History Month, organized by Ethiopian Affairs Canada.

Rosemary Brown was a trailblazer as the first Black woman to be elected to the B.C. Legislature in 1979 as the MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds.

Her impact on the community and province will be celebrated this weekend with hundreds expected to walk, skip and strut around Central Park in her honour.

The third annual Black History Walk is scheduled to take place Saturday, March 2, and is organized by Ethiopian Affairs in BC.

Each year, the non-profit has brought people together to acknowledge Black history in Canada with a known community member at the forefront of the conversation. Harry Jerome, the three-time Canadian Olympic-champion sprinter, was recognized in 2023 for his contributions to society.

Brown served as Burnaby-Edmonds MLA from 1979 to 1986 representing the B.C. NDP.

She came to Canada from Jamaica in 1951 as a university student, ultimately obtaining her Masters in Social Work from UBC.

In addition to politics, Brown was also widely known for her work as a writer, educator and champion for social justice. She died in April 2003 at the age of 72.

The City of Burnaby chose Rosemary Brown to have the title of its new Edmonds neighbourhood arena in June 2021. The facility is still under construction more than four years after it broke ground in September 2021.

Additionally, the Black History walk will commemorate the 128th anniversary of the victory of Adwa — a significant moment in Black history where Ethiopian forces defeated the Colonial invading force in 1896.

“Black community is big in British Columbia, and we hope to add our culture to the mosaic of B.C. and Canada through this walk," spokesperson Moges Seblehiwot told the NOW prior to last year's walk.

He hopes that the event, considered to be the biggest gathering of Black History Celebration in Burnaby, will give an opportunity for people to gain a deeper understanding of Ethiopian history and culture.

The Black History Walk through Burnaby's Central Walk starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday near Swangard Stadium.

No registration required and interested attendees are encouraged to arrive earlier.

For more information, you can visit the Ethiopian Affairs in BC Facebook page.