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County cub reporter interviews greats for Black History month

Rihanna Harris will present her interviews on Mondays on The County Grapevine show.

An 11-year-old Prince Edward County powerhouse for change will help residents meet some of the nation’s fascinating citizens during Black History Month broadcasts.

Rihanna Harris, a Grade 6 virtual student at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, will join 99.3 County FM volunteer broadcaster Lynn Pickering as a special correspondent on The County Grapevine show throughout February.

Pickering, supervising producer and host of the show, interviewed Harris last fall when the young activist met with Hastings Prince Edward District School Board officials to press for more inclusive Black history in the school curriculum.

“It was clear at that time that, in spite of her age, Rihanna had the skills to be a reporter,” Pickering said. “She is curious, committed, confident and, most importantly, loves doing research.”

Harris will interview a different guest each Monday on The County Grapevine. The cub reporter has already recorded interviews with the Honourable Jean Augustine and Olympic champion Donovan Bailey.

Augustine made history as the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Her notable achievements include securing unanimous legislative support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada and a landmark motion to erect the only statue featuring women on Parliament Hill, the Famous Five Monument.

Donovan Bailey, Hall of Fame five-time Olympic and World Champion, is one of the world’s all-time great athletes in sports history. Track and Field News named Bailey ‘Sprinter of the Decade’ (1990s). Bailey is the first man in history to hold the titles of World Champion, Olympic Champion and World Record-Holder at the same time, while drug-free. Donovan Bailey is also the only person to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame twice.

Other guests include Rosemary Sadlier, former president of the Ontario Black History Society and author of several books including Harriet Tubman, Freedom Seeker, Freedom Leader and The Kids Book of Black Canadian History and County resident Judith Burfoot, founder of All Welcome Here, a BIPOC-led non-profit organization focusing on anti-racism. (BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and People of Colour).

“I’m excited about the opportunity to meet and interview some of the outstanding Black Canadians who have contributed so much to our country,” Harris said.

In the fall, Harris impressed school board’s trustees with a presentation on the need for Black history to be taught in all local schools.

Rihanna Harris with Sean Monteith, HPEDSB Director of Education.

She explained her presentation was on behalf of every child who is a minority, today and for generations to come. Harris stated several compelling factors, including the importance of standing up for vulnerable people; making a difference for change and change perspectives through positive chain reactions.

She stated balance between negative and positive aspects must be considered, such as slavery, racism and apartheid; as well as the civil rights movement and today’s multiracial world.

The presentation also focused on the need for Black history to be included in The Ontario Curriculum to help all students learn about diverse perspectives and resources. She also reviewed the curriculum and highlighted areas where Black history could be improved.

After sharing her own experiences and those of her younger brother at school, her closing remarks focused on the reasons why this topic is important to her, including that how we talk to one another makes a difference in someone’s life; that education is important in a child’s life; and that if children are not taught about Black history, “how can we hope to live in a world without racial discrimination in the future?”

The County Grapevine airs weekdays on 99.3 County FM following the news at noon and repeated after the 6:10 p.m. farm report. It is also available for streaming on www.993countyfm.ca

 

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  1. Robert Q says:

    Listened to this interview yesterday and there is no doubt in my mind that her dream of becoming Prime Minister of Canada will become a reality, great job Lynn Pickering and County FM 99.3

  2. Ted Norris says:

    So many positive feels about this! Kudos to County FM / Lynn Pickering for creating the space for Rihanna Harris to hone her skills and share her passion with County residents. All the best to you Rihanna.

  3. JennyD says:

    Love to see the youth in our community engaged in such important social issues! This is fantastic – thank you Rihanna and 99.3
    Hope to see more of this type of coverage.

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