Statement by Minister Hussen on Black History Month
OTTAWA, February 1, 2023
Today marks the beginning of Black History Month in Canada, a time to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements, culture, and heritage of Black and Afro-descendant communities in our country.
For over 400 years, Black and Afro-descendant communities in Canada have played a critical role throughout society. From Dr. Clement Courtenay Ligoure, Halifax’s first Black doctor and local hero during the Halifax Explosion, to hockey superstar Angela James, the many members of these communities have helped make our country what it is today.
Each and every member of the Black and Afro-descendant communities in Canada has a story to tell. As the theme for Black History Month 2023, “Ours to Tell” highlights the importance of sharing the many stories of success, sacrifice, and triumph that bring to life the countless contributions they have made and continue to make to Canada.
As a part of our enduring commitment to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, the Government of Canada has continued to advance our work to support the social and economic empowerment of Black and Afro-descendant communities in our country under the international pillars of recognition, justice, and development.
The Government of Canada has made $175 million available through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative since 2019 to support organizations that promote inclusion and celebrate the contributions of Black and Afro-descendant communities in Canada.
Our government recognizes that justice can only be achieved if more action is taken to tackle systemic anti-Black racism here at home. That’s why our government is creating Canada’s new Anti-Racism Strategy, developing Canada’s first-ever Action Plan on Combatting Hate, and continuing the whole-of-government work to take on anti-Black discrimination.
To support the economic empowerment of Black and Afro-descendant communities, up to $200 million has been dedicated to creating a new Black-Led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. This will provide funding to Black-led, Black-focused, and Black-serving non-profit organizations and registered charities that are on the ground and making a difference in towns and cities across this country.
The work of fulfilling our government’s ongoing commitment to ensure the full and equitable participation of Black and Afro-descendant communities in our society requires continued engagement and collaboration, and we remain committed to building a more just and inclusive country that leaves no one behind.
Black Canadian history is a part of our shared history. As the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, I invite all Canadians to join in on Black History Month community events and encourage everyone to share the many stories of Black and Afro-descendant communities both in February and beyond.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
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