First annual "Culture Day" to be held in Vancouver July 1

Jun 30 2020, 11:09 am

COVID-19 disclaimer: As recommended by BC’s provincial health officer, if you choose to take part in recreational activities in public spaces, please adhere to coronavirus health safety measures, including proper physical distancing, wearing a mask, and remaining at home if you show symptoms of cold or flu.

The first annual “Culture Day” will be held in Vancouver on July 1 to celebrate Black and Indigenous culture, artists, and activists.

Culture Day is a cultural demonstration hosted by the Vancouver Black & Indigenous People of Colour Creative Association (BIPOC-CA), and looks to bring the community together to feature a number of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour performers and artists.

According to the BIPOC-CA Facebook page, the newly formed group looks to “reclaim our voices, empower our talented creatives, and take back our space within the Arts & Culture industry of our city. This association marks the beginning of reform for local Black & Indigenous creatives and the overall BC creative industry.”

The event is organized by Fawnda Bullshields, Kimani Jeffery, and Tinthi Tembo.

Tembo, one of the event organizers, says that the group was not interested in commemorating Canada Day and that the event is “anti-Canada Day.”

“We were not down to be commemorating and glorifying colonialism and genocide, as that’s what Canada Day represents,” said Tembo in an interview with Daily Hive.

“This is a way to stand up and rise within the creative industry, to demand for more representation and less cultural appropriation, because a lot of these artists that will be speaking and performing have had a lot of ills done to them within the creative industry here.”

Tembo says that Canada Day is a difficult time for her Indigenous friends, and the event is meant to honour the contributions of those who are typically forgotten.

“It will actually put their faces at the forefront and celebrate their cultural contributions through whatever creative artistry each person brings to the table. There’s going to be healing dances, and DJs and singers, who are all advocates for social change, and the lineup is Black and Indigenous creatives, and we are putting them at the forefront to be seen and be heard,” she added.

The event, which will be held at Trout Lake Park on July 1 from 12 to 9 pm, looks to “celebrate, demonstrate and advocate for Black & Indigenous culture,” through performances by over 30 local BIPOC Artists, dancers, designers, musicians, and activists.

The group has listed demands on the event page that call for the following changes:

  • The city keeps its commitment to build a Black Cultural Centre on the former site of Hogan’s Alley.
  • New facilities that support our cultures’ music and art production, especially for youth.
  • Stop appropriating our music and culture for profit without actual representation of our local artists.
  • All music venues must include local BIPOC programming and provide free accessible access to space.
  • Recognize and commemorate our cultural contributions to this beautiful city we now call Vancouver.
  • Help combat anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism by including Arts & Culture within BC schools/art programs.
  • Equal representation in art galleries.
  • End White Supremacy In Major Roles Within Arts Organizations.

A fundraiser page has also been started to support the BIPOC performers and artists and to compensate them for their contributions.

“It’s incredibly significant because Black and Indigenous people are joining together in solidarity to reclaim their space and starting a new sense of unity, because their struggles are different but they’re very similar,” said Tembo.

“It’s very special to see us coming together and celebrating the talents that we have, so what we’re encouraging is [to] love us like you love our culture, which also means giving back to those same creatives and just showing the community that the way this starts to change is supporting your local artists in that way.”

For more information, visit the BIPOC-CA Facebook page.

First Annual Culture Day Vancouver

When: Wednesday, July 1
Where: Trout Lake Park
Time: 12 to 9 pm

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