Black History Month

Durham Region Association of Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs (DRABPE) is proud to be observing Black History Month. As always, events and celebrations take place over the month of February both locally and across the country. Black History Month provides a welcome opportunity to learn about the stories of Black Canadians past and present. It also shines a light on the many contributions of the Black community to the country’s growth and success. This includes culture and arts, but also economy, industry and innovation. As we all know, Black Canadians have been essential to the country’s prosperity.

DRABPE is an organization committed to promoting and empowering Black business professionals and entrepreneurs in the Durham region.  Black History Month resonates deeply with our objective to build on diversity and support black-owned businesses in our community.

In an effort to bring awareness to these businesses, one of our key initiatives has been to create a Directory of Black Businesses within Durham. Our directory acts as a business registry of sorts, giving critical exposure to Black businesses that might otherwise struggle for brand recognition and market presence. Specifically, the directory spotlights Black culture and entrepreneurs; promotes entrepreneurial equity; and increases Black visibility and representation. Businesses featured in the directory include traditional brick and mortar shops, as well as web and home-based companies.

As we move through Black History Month, we hope you get the chance to learn even more about the Black business leaders in your community. We can all work together to spread the word about Black owned business and direct our patronage accordingly. After all, BHM is as much about considering our past as it is about forging a better future. We at DRAPBE are incredibly gratified to play a small role in building a lasting legacy of Black entrepreneurism in the Durham region.

You can check out our business directory here

If you’re a local Black-owned business or providing services in the Durham Region and would like to be featured in this directory, please email us. Make Black History Month your time to be heard and seen in our community.


Upcoming Black History Month Events

If you’re looking to participate in some of the excellent BHM events taking place this month, we’ve got you covered. We’d like to take this opportunity to promote a couple of local events that we think will be compelling to our membership.

Whitby Chamber of Commerce 3rd Annual Black History Month Event

The Whitby Chamber of Commerce (WCC) is proud to announce its third annual Black History Month Event: Creating Community. This half-day experience will take place on February 2 at Ajax Convention Centre and will feature tremendous speakers and an opportunity to network. It’s time to embark on this journey from a place of collaboration, unity and trust, and acknowledge the opulence, achievements and rich contributions of Black community business members.

Featured Speakers:

Isaac Olowolafe – Co-founder & General Partner of BKR Capital. Before co-founding BKR, Isaac was acting as General Partner for Dream Maker Venture fund (DMV), that primarily invested in early-stage technology companies with founding teams inclusive of persons of colour, women, persons with disabilities, immigrant, refugee and Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Randell Adjei – An entrepreneur, speaker and spoken word practitioner who uses his gifts to Empower the message of Alchemy. He was recently appointed Ontario’s first Poet Laureate. Randell, is the founder of one of Toronto’s largest youth led initiatives; Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E Edutainment).

To learn more about this event, visit:

16th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration

Cultural Expressions Art Gallery Inc will present the 16th Annual Durham Black History Month Celebration on Saturday, February 4, 2023. It is Durham’s longest-running and most extensive, free Black History Month event, celebrating the beauty of Black culture and the diversity of the Black experience in Durham region. This year’s theme, FOCUS, invites our community to look at the Black History and Black History-Makers right here at home. The people to inspire us, the resources we need to grow, and the networks that can lift us are all in our backyard.

Join us for community networking starting at 5 pm on Saturday, followed by performances by local artists, presentation of the annual Madiba award, and a keynote presentation in the J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate auditorium.

Tune in on Sunday at 2 pm for more programming as we live stream educational content including our series, Did You Know.

Each year, Cultural Expressions is pleased to bring to you a wealth of Black History Month programming through the support of our volunteer committee as well as our partners: Durham Children’s Aid Foundation, Durham District School Board, Durham Catholic District School Board, Congress of Black Women (Ajax/Pickering, Oshawa/Whitby) and Durham Black Coalition. And we thank this year’s sponsors for their generous support: Ajax Public Library and Rotary Ajax.

To learn more, visit:


TED Talks to celebrate Black History Month

You might also consider viewing a BHM TED talk. These talks “offer fresh, thoughtful perspectives on Black identity.” Topics include the radical, revolutionary resilience of Black joy; The Great Migration and the power of a single decision; The racial politics of time; The danger of a single story; and many more insightful presentations that speak directly to the Black experience both at home and around the world.

To view the full series, click here: TED Talks to Celebrate BHM


Durham Region has one of the largest and fastest growing Black communities in Canada. Local businesses have, in turn, stepped up to meet the specific needs of this community. DRABPE works hard to supply black owned business with the resources needed to succeed. This includes networking opportunities, programs, events and mentorships. DRABPE also has a thriving youth program that is helping to launch the next generation of Black business professionals in the Durham region. Part of this programming includes raising awareness among Black youth about business opportunities by giving presentations at schools and colleges.

DRABPE is working to cultivate lasting partnerships with all levels of government, educational institutions, and employees. Our Board of Directors includes esteemed professionals from a range of industry sectors. Our members are connected with local decision-makers, service providers and potential customers. These connections create pivotal inroads and break down barriers to success which have traditionally made it more difficult for Black businesses to prosper.

If you aren’t already a member of DRABPE, we invite you to join today. What better time than during Black History Month? Prospective members simply need to register on our website. Once registered, you gain access to various resources and a database of Black professionals and entrepreneurs in your community. You also become part of a safe, inclusive environment where you can expand your network and share mutual support.

Become a member:

Wishing you all a prosperous Black History Month.