Pulling up for Black History Month: Andrew Parker and the power of presence



You’d be hard-pressed to find a better hype man for Edmonton than Andrew Parker. As a coach, educator, activist and father, he has infinite outlets for his passion to uplift those around him.  Andrew sat down with us to share his thoughts on Black History Month, Black excellence in Edmonton and one simple way to be a good ally. 

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you?

Andrew: As a child, Black History Month for me was the first time I saw myself represented. Growing up, the education system resources didn’t reflect our experiences. They didn’t celebrate Black excellence, Black joy…

As a Black man, Black History Month will never be performative. It will be transformative and liberating. It’s also an opportunity to check in and that’s huge. Given the social political climate in North America and around the world, the community collectively has been asking for certain things. So every February it's kind of like yeah, we're celebrating. But it's also like, okay, how far have we come? How much further do we need to go?

Q: Tell us about Black excellence in Edmonton

Andrew: I feel like our community is doing a brilliant job of this right now. Rochelle Ignacio, co-founded Edmonton’s Black-Owned Market.  Belen Samuel who was the first Black woman who ran to be an Edmonton Public School Trustee. We have Keenan Pascal who started a brilliant business, Token Naturals, which opens up a brand new market for our community. Entrepreneur Robert Tyndale is changing the game on a digital level. Black excellence is all around us in Edmonton. The question is, how often do we get opportunities to share? To express that? How often do major institutions promote that without being prompted by somebody Black within their institution? I think once excellence is accepted and not just seen as a footnote in all these spaces, things will definitely change.


”[Black] excellence is there. It's a hundred percent there. I see it every day. The question is, how much of the rest of society gets to see that?


Q: Black History Month is a lot about reflection, learning and commitment to action but it’s also about celebration. How will you be celebrating?

Andrew: Through my brothers and sisters, through their eyes, through the initiatives that they're putting on. And all of us collectively selflessly, sharing it with our city, sharing it with the world. I would describe the Black community here in Edmonton as a unified camp. There's no ego involved.  We just want everyone to support the community. We live in a digital era, where it's very easy to like, post and comment. But man, actually pull up to the event and eat some food, chat with the kids, talk to the people, support our elders.

Q: So start by just pulling up?

Andrew: Just pull up.



Andrew is part of our Why Edmonton video series, profiling the amazing people who call and make Edmonton home. Learn more about his story:



Locations in video: Outside basketball location near Londonderry, Flava Cafe, The Backyard.


Our Why Edmonton series profiles the amazing people who call and make Edmonton home. Meet: 

  • Hero Laird, a law student and research assistant who accidentally fell in love with Edmonton. 

  • Danny Ross, an active participant in the arts and culture scene, who wants to share Edmonton’s unique point of view with the world. 

  • Lana Whiskeyjack, artist, assistant professor and writer inspired by the inclusive shifts in our city that gives her hope for future generations.

  • Erick Estrada appreciates Edmonton’s small town vibes packed into a big city with opportunities.

  • Gurleen Kuar Bhandohal, a student and nature lover, who sees big things for our city’s evolution.