Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, marks Black History Month 2021
February 1, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
“Black History Month is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate the accomplishments of Black Canadians. For the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Department of National Defence (DND), we remember the contributions that Black Defence Team members, both military and civilian, have made throughout Canada’s history. As the Minister of National Defence, I am proud to recognize their brave service.
“This year’s theme for Black History Month, The Future is Now, is in keeping with our belief that nation building isn’t passive; nor does it rest in the past. It is forward-moving and ever-evolving. It calls on each and every one of us to do better to build a more equal, just and inclusive Canada.
“In building this future together, we must acknowledge and honour the contributions and immense sacrifices of Black Canadians to our organization, and we must strive to better reflect the country we serve: a beautiful mosaic of cultures, ethnicities, and experiences.
“Part of that is owning up to our own systemic biases, discrimination and racism that exist in Canada and here in the Department of National Defence, and it means taking real and meaningful action to eliminate them from our institution. The Defence Team is determined to eliminate systemic barriers, discrimination and anti-Black racism wherever these arise. Simply put, there is no room for anti-Black racism, white supremacy, or any other hateful ideology anywhere in Canada’s Defence Team. While this past year, DND/CAF issued a hateful conduct policy, launched an Advisory Panel on racism and discrimination, and stood up an Anti-Racism Secretariat, I know that more needs to be done to build an organization where all feel welcome and valued, and where diversity is fully embraced. I look forward to continuing to work with the Deputy Minister and the Chief of the Defence staff so that we can eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance from our organization.
“Diversity is not a slogan or a hashtag. It’s a force enabler that enhances and strengthens our operational effectiveness. In embracing diversity, we value the unique talents, perspectives and cultures of all our Defence Team members, both military and civilian.
“Neither is Black History Month a slogan or hashtag. It’s a call to recognize past sacrifices, eliminate present-day barriers, and build a brighter future together through inclusion and respect.
“All of us need to answer that call.”
Department of National Defence
Office of the Minister of National Defence
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