What is Black History Month?
Black History Month celebrates Black history, heritage, culture and achievement in Canada and around the world. It gives people an opportunity to reflect on, learn about and better understand the struggles and triumphs that Black people have experienced throughout history. It’s also an opportunity for people to learn about the effects of racism and consider whether they are doing enough to be a good ally for Black people not only during Black History Month but year-round.
In Canada, Black History Month was officially recognized in 1995, following a motion introduced by the Honourable Jean Augustine, who was the first Black woman to be elected to Parliament. In 2008, a motion introduced by Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate, was passed to recognize the contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month.
Why is it important?
Black History Month is important because it provides an opportunity to share and learn about the experiences, contributions and achievements of Black Canadians. It highlights Black history in ways that are often overlooked by our school system and gives people a broader understanding of Black history beyond racism and slavery, and shines light on Black achievement and excellence.
How do I celebrate Black History Month?
There are many different ways to celebrate or participate in Black History Month! Here are some ideas that you should try:
- Educate yourself about Black history that you weren’t taught in school.
- Support Black-owned businesses and Black creatives.
- Read books by Black authors and watch movies by Black creators.
- Donate to an organization that empowers Black communities or supports education, rights and community development
- Learn to be a better ally
Don’t limit your actions and education to February! Make a year-round commitment to educating yourself and being an ally to your Black peers and colleagues.