February is Black History Month. Not only is it a time for reflecting on the many contributions Black people have made and continue to make to Canadian communities, but it is also a time to heighten awareness and make visible the achievement of a population whose history has been neglected. “Few Canadians are aware that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s culturally diverse and inclusive society.” – Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada
A brief history lesson: Although Black History Month (BHM) was established in 1926 when the renowned Harvard-trained African historian, Carter G. Woodson proposed the idea of dedicating a time to honour the history, achievement, and contributions of African-Americans in the United States, it was not until 1995 that Canada’s House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month. The honourable Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, introduced the motion which was unanimously carried by the House of Commons. In February 2005, Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate introduced the motion to recognize the contribution of Black Canadians and Black History Month was born.
This year, Peel CAS’s Black History Month theme is “Empowerment and inspiration” as the agency focuses on its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and enhancing work with our diverse population to make the agency an inclusive and equitable work environment. Some highlights of upcoming activities include an opening ceremony, and celebrations of traditional African drumming, food, history and cultural celebrations featuring some of the children and youth involved with the agency.