It would have been difficult to find a more colourfully garbed gathering this weekend than Afro Gala 2020.
Held in the St. Luke’s Hall on Saturday night, its attendees were bedecked in splendid traditional attire and ready to enjoy themselves with good food, music and company.
What started off as an idea while Onyeka and Linda Dozie were hosting some guests in their living room has grown into a vibrant tradition which the whole family can enjoy.
“We [realized] we don’t have a platform where our Afro-Canadian people, and other people from all walks of life, can come together and get to know who we are as Africans,” Linda said during a short break from the party, where she was greeting everyone enthusiastically.
“We decided that we’d give it a shot. We bringing people together in our living room and people expressed interest in what we were doing and wanted more, so we had to step up the game!”
The couple began renting our community halls in Port Coquitlam and then Pitt Meadows and started inviting politicians and community leaders to join in.
This year MLA Lisa Beare, MP Marc Dalton and Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall were among some of the attendees present.
“It’s been great and it gets better every year,” Linda exclaimed.
Her husband agreed.
“What I love most is we have people from all nationalities and everybody comes out with a spirit of family, a spirit of one-ness and an interest in getting to know the next person beside him or her,” Onyeka said.
Linda and her husband Dozie, a former council candidate, have graciously invited me to the 2020 Afro Gala. It is a night of celebration of Black & African cultural heritage, building friendships, and strengthening community. pic.twitter.com/sdx0mMJbIJ
— Kiersten Duncan (@KierstenDuncan_) February 9, 2020
The clothing is a big draw for attendees.
“People come out in style and get to enjoy the food and the community and then have fun,” the co-organizer pointed out.
More important to him making it known how lucky the residents of this part of the world are.
“I want us to know that the relative peace and stability we’re enjoying in British Columbia and the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows should not be taken for granted, especially when we know what is happening in other parts of the world,” Onyeka said.