By: MOSAIC Centre for Diversity – black history month canada
Every February, Canada celebrates Black History Month to honour the contributions of Black communities in arts, culture, sports, science, and history.
Canada is a melting pot of rich diversity and cultures, and we are proud of it. Still, we must never forget Black people in Canada have been overlooked and have faced discrimination and prejudice because of race.
Learning to understand the contributions Black communities have made to Canadian society is something that we need to do, not just during the month of February, but throughout the year.
Across Canada, Black Canadians are reshaping Canadian history — whether in the music industry, science, sports, or culture.
Black history has sometimes been used to unfairly discredit and undermine the valuable contributions that Black people have made to society. Additionally, this history can be used to strip individuals of their dignity. However, it is important that we use history to empower and humanize Black communities.
Organizations like MOSAIC play a vital role in bringing about positive change.
Our organization is committed to working with diverse communities in BC, including the Sudanese community in Vancouver. The Sudanese Canadian Society of BC focuses on the socio-economic and cultural welfare of the community in British Columbia.
Commemorating Black History
Do you know that Toronto’s George Carter was the first Black judge born in Canada? (Click on image for video)
Video: The story of George E. Carter, the 1st Canadian-born Black judge (Global News)
Judge G. Cater was born in Toronto in 1921, graduated from Trinity College with a bachelor’s degree in 1944, and later enrolled in Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1980, at the age of 59, he became the first Canadian-born judge of Black descent.
Royal Canadian Mint honours Black History Month by recognizing Amber Valley settlers
Source: Royal Canadian Mint
In 2024, to commemorate Black History Month, the Royal Canadian Mint is honouring the community of Amber Valley, Alta. A $20 fine silver coin has been released to celebrate the legacy of Western Canada’s earliest Black settlements. To read more about it, follow this link from CTV News: Commemorating Black History Month.
Black and Indigenous in Canada
Source: Canada History
Indigenous Black Canadians are Canadians of African descent with roots in Canada for generations, distinguishing them from Black immigrants.
Angela Sterritt is a national bestselling author and award-winning investigative journalist. She is of Wilp Wiik’aax from the Gitanmaax community. In February 2023, Angela spoke to three Black Indigenous women about intertwining their identities and what this month means to them. Click on this video link to learn more about it: Afro-Indigenous Canadians share their experiences.
For decades, Black scholars, writers, community leaders, and artists have been challenging the principles of Euro-modern colonialism. They have written many reports and launched global protests to disrupt the long-standing colonial structures. However, in Canada, the mass media and school curricula mostly focus on the Black experience in the United States, disregarding Black Canadian contributions to the country’s development, growth, and nation building. This lack of coverage in Black History needs to be addressed.
Kay Livingstone was a well-known social activist from Canada. In 1951, she founded the Canadian Black Women’s Association. On March 15, 1958, she also organized the first annual banquet for the Canadian Black Women’s Club in Toronto. The primary objective of the event was to raise awareness about the significant contributions made by Black people to Canada. Thanks to Livingstone’s tireless efforts, the first National Congress of Black Women of Canada was established.
At MOSAIC, we understand that barriers of discrimination Black communities face and have overcome and continue working to overcome are not easy; we must work in partnership with one another and as a community.