Region hosts Together We Rise celebration of Black achievement from Whitby

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Published February 1, 2022 at 2:03 pm

The Region of Durham is hosting its Black History Month Celebration on February 1 with a virtual panel discussion focusing on healthcare workers in the community.

The presentation comes at the dawn of Black History Month, which runs every February to celebrate the impact Black Canadians have had on Canada’s cultural landscape.

This year the Region partnered with the Canadian Jamaican Club of Oshawa, DurhamONE, the Congress of Black Women – Oshawa/Whitby and The Power To Be International and Durham Regional Police to create Together We Rise, a Black History Month committee.

The theme of the year is “Celebrating Black Achievements in Durham Region,” and will feature a panel discussion with Dr. Adwoa Amamoo, Registered Nurse Natasha Gray, President of the Jamaican Canadian Association of Nurses Jacqueline Chen, and Advanced Care Paramedic Jamere Bembridge.

Panel discussion will focus on these healthcare workers’ experiences over the pandemic.

Amamoo has a doctorate in medicine and serves as Site Chief for the Surgical Assisting Department at Ajax-Pickering since 2018. She is originally from Ghana.

A polyglot, Amamoo speaks Twi and Fante, commonly spoken languages in Ghana. A DRPS release describes her work as “instrumental in planning vaccine clinics for the Black community in Durham.”

Gray is a registered nurse who leads the Cardiac Cath Lab, Structural Heart and Vascular Programs at the Schulich Heart Centre at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital after working in acute care for 16 years.

Gray will be sharing her pandemic experience at the panel, “Having patients requiring emergency surgery and working in the operating room and ICU and not knowing, prior to surgery, if these patients were exposed to Covid-19, was extremely stressful. Despite these challenges, she ensured patients were always very well cared for,” reads the release.

Chen has worked as the Clinical Leader Manager with the St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team since 2012, channelling 25 years of clinical and administrative experience. She also works with the University of Toronto School of Nursing educating and mentoring new healthcare workers.

Bembridge received his paramedic education Durham College, earning his Primary Care Diploma and later his Advanced Care graduate certificate at the institution. Bembridge now teaches the next generation of paramedics at the college.

In advance of the event Regional Chair John Henry said “Black History Month is a time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities.”

“A time to honour the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in Canada. It’s about recognizing and celebrating resilience, innovation, and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada,” he continued.

Durham residents can listen to the panel on February 1 at 7 pm.

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