Honouring the Black heroes of Canada’s past and present

February 1 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

To mark the start of Black History Month, Charlotte-Anne Malischewski, Interim Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issues the following statement:

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. This is an opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse legacies of Black people in Canada, past and present. This month also allows us to learn more about the important roles and achievements of Black people in Canada that have shaped our country.

Black people and Black communities have a long history of being trailblazers and change makers in all facets of Canadian society. The persistence, resilience and creativity of Black people and communities have inspired generations. Black people in Canada have been an integral part of building a more prosperous, diverse and equitable country, all while facing the complexities of racial discrimination and systemic inequities.

Black History Month was created to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions of Black people. As we consider the past, we must also look critically at the present. This Black History Month, we encourage all people in Canada to learn about and discover the many unsung Black heroes who are vital forces in our communities and our country. Black people are making history now, every day.

As we move into the final stretch of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), this Black History Month, we each need to continue the momentum and amplify the voices of Black leaders and every day Black heroes. We need to listen to their lived experiences. We need to educate ourselves about the diversity of Black people in Canada. And we need to recommit ourselves to taking steps towards a more inclusive Canada. This is why the Commission is dedicated to taking meaningful anti-racism action both within and outside our organization.

Black history is far more than 28 days. It goes beyond February. And while it is crucial to acknowledge our past, we must also recognize Black history as it’s being lived today. It is the changes we make today that will lead to a more inclusive tomorrow.

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Associated Links

United Nations Decade for People of African Descent:

Anti-racism work:

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