(with notes from Molly Young)
A cross-section of Montrealers and former Montrealers who came in from Toronto, New York and Miami gathered at Hampton Inn in the West Island for the 2016 Umoja celebrations on Friday, July 1.
It was an emotionally charged evening that provoked tears of joy as many in the room embarked on a nostalgic journey, remembering the glory days of the Black community in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
The evening also overflowed with music and other forms of entertainment with a special performance by Slim Williams who brought the audience back in time with his zoot suit along with his moving vocals.
Local duo Ce Ce Walker and his wife Cleopatra Walker added to the joys of the evening. As did Dale King, who performed a special dance that reminded those in attendance of “Creative Black Arts Awards” events back in the day.
Also, Kirk Mark called for a pause during the evening with an uplifting speech that reminded everyone of the importance of knowing our history and continuing to make a difference in a positive way in whatever we do.
The evening also provided organizers an opportunity to recognize Mr. Noel Alexander, immediate past president of the Jamaica Association of Montreal Inc., for his many years of community work.
Pat Dillon-Moore and Winston Murray kept the event on a smooth flow and DJ Don Smooth rocked the house with music from “back in the day”, keeping the dance floor fully occupied all evening. Best Bite Catering made sure everyone was well fed with a scrumptious meal.
Proceeds of the evening helped organizers to contribute to Union United Church Charles Este Scholarship funds. Phillip Alleyne made a donation of $500 to the church on Sunday, July 16.