In recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and to recognize the Black Community and their lived experiences of Anti-Black Racism in our town, youth from Impact Youth & Cultural Centre created a new flag representing diversity, culture, and unity.
The flag was raised on Sunday afternoon in front of the BWG Courthouse. Bradford Mayor Rob Keffer, Deputy Mayor James Leduc, MP Scot Davidson, and MPP Caroline Mulroney were also in attendance to show their support.
The flag was created for the Mayor of Bradford’s Anti-Racism Advisory Panel and the design was presented at a council meeting last month. The youth members who came up with the design include students Jezelle Melo, Sekinah Duhaney, Alysha Dunbar, Rueshelle Campbell, Hannah Simmonds, and Jahniah Duhaney.
Several colours were chosen for the flag to symbolize the important contributions of the Black community and to emphasize the history of African culture.
The colour black pictured in the flag’s background and within the circle’s emblem represents skin colour which comes in many different shades and symbolizes power, elegance, and sophistication.
Yellow symbolizes the bright sun and wealth and prosperity among Africans.
Green represents growth and the natural fertility of Africa, the motherland.
Red symbolizes the blood that unites all Black African ancestry and the bloodshed for liberation.
The gold outlines which surround the flag’s colours represent Black kings and queens, symbolizing resilience.
The circle centred in the flag represents completion in unity and diversity, and the ‘torn edge’ look signifies the struggles within the Black community, both past and present.
The Ghanaian symbol within the circle 'Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu' which means ‘Siamese Crocodiles’ shows two conjoined ‘crocodiles’ working together, symbolizing unity.
“It was a collaborative effort,” shares Hannah, member of the Impact Youth Group who contributed her design ideas before the group got together to combine their efforts. “We’re the ones that came up with it and I’m proud of that.”
"I like that it really represents the African culture,” shares Jazelle, 11, the youngest member of the Impact Youth Group that contributed to the project.
Jazelle took the final draft design and created a PDF version. From there, the Town of Bradford took the design and had an official flag created to be hung outside the courthouse.
“I like the uniqueness of the flag,” shares Alysha, adding that she also likes the different ‘skin tones’ to show diversity. “No one else has made a flag of this sorts.”
“We were all able to come to an agreement that would represent all of us,” says Shekinah, 16, the oldest member of the Impact Youth Group. “Great history has been made to be able to create this!”
“It’s a very beautiful design!” adds Giselle.
Moments after the new flag was raised on Sunday afternoon, the girls who created the flag shared a few hugs and tears after seeing their hard work now flying above the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury for all to see.
"I'm called the flag MP, I love flags!" cheers MP Davidson. "This flag represents past struggles and of course a really bright future that's going to fly over Bradford West Gwillimbury today!"
MPP Caroline Mulroney brought her teen daughter to the event and shared a few words of praise and encouragement to the youth who designed the flag.
"The Impact Youth & Cultural Centre has been fostering opportunities for young people to have their voices heard; creating programs by them, for them," shares she said. "To foster opportunities for them to reach out beyond Bradford... to find the resources they need so they can grow into the leaders that they are destined to be."
The flag-raising event was paired with a special drumming performance by Jah Mohammed, and a dance from members of the Impact Youth group.
“This flag is not just a flag,” notes Cheraldean Duhaney, founder of Impact Youth Centre (formerly known as ‘iLead’). “History has been made and change begins with our youth. Provide them with the tools to be leaders in this community and invest in them. Invest in our youth – they are the future!”
For more information about Impact Youth & Cultural Centre, email [email protected] or follow them on Instagram @impactycc.