Black History Month: Confronting bias and embracing diversity

February 1, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

To mark the beginning of Black History Month, the Canadian Human Rights Commission issues the following statement:

Today, as we mark the start of Black History Month, the Canadian Human Rights Commission recommits to meaningful anti-racist action.

Black History Month is a celebration that goes beyond the margins of a single month. It serves as an opportunity to recognize, appreciate, and honour the profound impact Black individuals have had on Canadian history — both past and present. It invites all of us to reflect on how Black history is a part of Canadian history. And it invites us to do so with a broad understanding of how Black history is not a single, uniform idea, but rather a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and histories.

Understanding these histories, cultures, traditions, as well as the challenges of Black communities is a crucial step in dismantling racism. When everyone understands more about the history, it becomes easier to cultivate a more inclusive society where everyone can thrive. This includes the ongoing work and learning we are doing right here at the Commission. By taking the initiative to educate ourselves, we are fostering a more just and equitable Canada.

We must take inspiration from the momentum gained in recent years in addressing the inequities faced by Black communities. We must build upon that progress and let it drive us forward, and do more to close the gap of inequality. It is important to recognize that no individual or organization is immune from bias or discrimination.

The responsibility is on each one of us to engage in the very necessary work to eradicate all forms of racism — from subtle manifestations of bias, to overt discrimination. Black History Month serves as a reminder that our journey toward equality is ongoing. And getting there will take effort and commitment from everyone in Canada.

As we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Black Canadians, the Commission reiterates our commitment to learning, to challenging assumptions, to changing behaviours, and to calling out racism. And we call on everyone in Canada to join us.

Through collective effort, we can confront bias and embrace diversity. Together we can work towards a future where equality is a reality for all.

Follow along on our CHRC Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn throughout February as we share and highlight books, articles, films and more on the experiences of Black Canadians.

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