February is Black History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating, and recognizing the enormous contributions that Black Canadians have made throughout the nation’s history. Their voices, experiences, and fights against implicit and explicit forms of racism continue to resonate and resound from coast to coast. The fight to eliminate discrimination and racism in all its forms continues to this day, work that we must all commit to doing in our daily lives, communities, and organizations.
Black History month was not officially recognized by the House of Commons until December 1995, when a motion was put forward by the first Black Canadian woman Member of Parliament, Dr. Jean Augustine.
And it wasn’t until 2008 for the Canadian Senate to follow suit. It was Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate to introduce the motion and ensure Canada’s parliamentary position was clear.
And now in the year, 2022, the theme from the Government of Canada is, ‘February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and everyday’. We still have much learning to do but we must also commit ourselves to action. Meaningful action including from our federal government that goes beyond hashtags and hollow words but conscious dismantling of oppressive and discriminatory structures and systems that continue to adversely impact Black and racialized Canadians. There is much work to be done and we remain committed to fighting racism and promoting employment equity.
To learn more and participate in Black History Month events in your area please see below:
CLC Text Rally: Beyond Black History Month
PSAC also has a wealth of additional resources you may find helpful:
To get involved in anti-racist work in the Prairie region, each region has their own Human Rights Committee (HRC). I encourage everyone to get involved in your local committee:
Saskatoon HRC * not currently active – looking for interested members.
‘ In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist’ – Dr. Angela Davis
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies