OTTAWA – The theme of Canada’s 24th annual Black History month, which begins today is: Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past.
“We have come a long way in the 25 years since the Hon. Jean Augustine put forward the motion to recognize the month of February as Black History Month,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “Ms. Augustine was the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament and was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007.
“In the succeeding years, we have witnessed a gradual increase in diversity and gender equality in all facets of Canadian society. However, there is still room for improvement. People of African descent arrived in Nova Scotia in the early 1600s – many of the women were skilled midwives, and they quickly formed an essential part of the African-Nova Scotian existence. The Coloured Women’s Club of Montreal, founded in 1902, helped to organize, feed, shelter and care for community members in need during the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression.”
Ms. Roberts noted that African-Canadians still face racial profiling as well as systemic racism in Canada. “We cannot pretend this is a problem that is happening elsewhere, but not within our own communities. We go forward by fighting racism when we encounter it whether in a grocery store or a hockey rink. The contributions of black Canadians are indelibly woven into the fabric of this great country. During the course of this month, I invite everyone to take the time to celebrate their stories and to learn about the many ways our communities continue to be enriched by their presence.”
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