Black people have been part of Canada since the early-1600s before slavery was abolished in 1834. Canada’s economy was built by enslaved Black people and it benefitted by the unpaid and low-paid labour of Black people in all aspects of society, including health care.
Black History Month was championed by Canada’s first Black Member of Parliament Jean Augustine in 1995. It’s a time to celebrate the history, culture, heritage and leadership of people of African descent.
According to the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent in Canada, there’s “structural racism that lies at the core of many Canadian institutions and the systemic anti-Black racism that continues to have a negative impact on the human rights situation of African Canadians.”
As a social justice union, HEU has championed for safer and more equitable working conditions for people of colour, migrant workers and temporary foreign workers.
As we mark Black History Month, we’re part of a future where Black lives are safe from police violence, where Black people everywhere enjoy full recognition and liberation, and a future where Black opportunities are abundant.
Check out these resources to learn more: