Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honor the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present.
It is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country.
- Start by educating yourself about history, current issues, and the barriers people of colour face.
Here a few resources to get you started
- BC Black History Awareness Society is hosting online events from Feb 5th – 27th to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of historical and contemporary people of African descent.
- Radio Canada International has produced a series of vignettes spotlighting some of the Black Canadians that have marked the country’s past, as well as those that are marking Canada’s present.
- The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is committed to building a national framework for the fight against racism in Canadian society: to shed light on the causes and manifestations of racism; provide independent, outspoken national leadership; and act as a resource and facilitator in the pursuit of equity, fairness, and social justice.
- The Buxton National Historic Site and Museum celebrates the Underground Railroad and early Black settlement in Canada.
- Articles, timelines, quizzes and videos commemorating Black History in Canada
- National Film Board of Canada’s collection of films by Black filmmakers.
- Suggested books by A Different Book List (A Black Owned store in Ontario)
- Chapters Suggested Books
- Scholastic Suggested Books
- Fraser Valley Regional Library Black Voices List
- 25 books about Being Black in Canada
- See also Black owned bookstores in Canada
2. Listen and learn. Don’t question or argue with someone’s lived experience
- Follow more people of colour on social media
- Buy books by diverse authors
- Watch shows with diverse casts, writers and experiences
- Talk to your friends and colleagues about their experiences.
4. Donate to organizations engaged in anti-racism and social justice work if you’re able to.
5. Recognize our own biases, stereotypes, prejudice; it’s human nature to have these and it’s up to us to question them.
6. If you know of someone who has experienced racism or discrimination, please refer them to our Diversity Education program, which tracks incidents of racism and offers support to the victims.
7. If you witness discrimination or racism
- Be an active witness
- Distract or re-direct the attention of the perpetrator away from the victim; (for example, ask them an unrelated question)
- Respectfully document the incident with your cell phone, make sure to keep a safe distance, and ask the victim what they would like to do with the footage before sharing it.
- For online incidences, screenshot the incident and report it
How to be an active witness by speaking out when you see or hear racism taking place.
- Express upset feelings
- Call it “racism”
- Question validity
- Point out how it offends and hurts people
- Put the offender on the spot
- Help the offender to self-reflect
- Support the victim
- Ask others for involvement and help
- Approach other witnesses at the scene
It can be easier to pretend racism doesn’t exist than to have to examine our own role and privilege.
When we acknowledge that it’s real, we are compelled to act, which then begs the question, “What can I do?”