Original Article: CTV Kitchener

Published Monday, February 24, 2020 12:25PM EST

KITCHENER — A Black History Month event in Kitchener has been cancelled after a community group called the last minute invitation disappointing.

The African, Caribbean and Black Network says a member from the mayor’s task force on equity diversity and inclusion made a request the mayor and staff in early February to commit to organizing a meaningful event with the ACB community.

“It does leave a sort of bitter taste when it feels like the planning was last minute,” said Lang Ncube of the ACB Network, Waterloo Region. “We want it to have more meaningful impact where we actually talk about how do we make sure diversity itself is within the structures that pepetuate barriers.”

The group adds that the invite to the Black History Month dinner was sent to a few community leaders from the task force and less than 15 ACB community members.

“We were really acting on input from some members of the community and we knew it was going to be rushed,” said Kitchener mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “We thought most would see it in a positive way. When that clearly wasn’t the case we decided to take a pause and do the right thing.”

The event was originally scheduled to take place later in the week. Virbanovic adds that the plan was for it to be a casual dinner at a local restaurant with around 20 people invited.

The city says they are listening and plan to host a variety of public consultations on how it can better represent the ACB communtiy.

“We don’t want it to only happen in February,” said Ncube regarding Black History Month events. “We want a continuous discussion.”

The ACB Network says they accept the mayor’s apology and are looking forward to working with the city on future endeavours.

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