As we commemorate Black History Month in Canada, we look towards community leaders who have faced the struggles and led diasporic communities forward. These Canadian leaders include: The Honourable Jean Augustine, The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Viola Desmond, Carrie Best, Lucie & Thornton Blackburn, Rosemary Brown, and George Elliott Clarke.
The future is now and we at BCIT recognize the need to lead our organization into the future. This gives all of us an opportunity to learn and grow – supporting our Black colleagues and identifying racism in our communities throughout the year –not just during the month of February.
Black history in Canada has not always been celebrated or highlighted. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were people of African descent, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by soldiers of African descent as far back as the War of 1812.
Canadians are not always aware of the fact that Black people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada or how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of the diverse and inclusive society in Canada.
Black History Month is about honouring the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. It is about celebrating resilience, innovation, and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada—a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish.
We have a responsibility to educate ourselves about Canada’s role in past and present injustices against Black communities, including those in our own backyard. Fifty years ago, the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts here in Vancouver displaced the diverse immigrant enclave of Hogan’s Alley. Hogan’s Alley was the unofficial name for Park Lane in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighborhood and home to much of Vancouver’s Black population.
As supported by our BCIT Values, we have the responsibility to ensure that all staff and students feel that they are part of a community that embraces all cultures and ethnicities. In the Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion office we continue to develop opportunities to learn and to support all people at BCIT.
Resources and educational opportunities:
Self education is an ongoing process and we must work to acknowledge our own privilege, biases, and recognize that systemic discrimination exists. Realizing the role we all play is the first step in understanding, preventing, and addressing racism.
- Remember, silence empowers the oppressor. Learn what you can do when you witness racism or other forms of bigotry.
- Canadian Heritage Campaign
- Noteworthy Historical Figures
- BC Black History Awareness Society
- UN Declaration – Decade for People of African Descent Anti Racism Resources for White People
- Government of BC. Anti-Racism FAQs
- Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC
- Act 2 End Racism
- Black Lives Matter
- Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
- Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
- Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
- Subtle Act of Exclusion: How to understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
- They said this would be fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up by Eternity Martis
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Events and Workshops
- Diversity Circles Events
- Virtual Event (Panel): Cordova Bay Celebrates Black History Month – February 24 at 7:00 pm – Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs
- New Westminster and District Labour Council virtual event (Panel): Community Conversation Celebrating Black History Month – February 17 at 6:30 pm
- Canadian Haitian Cultural Association of British Columbia virtual event (Children/Youth- 9 sessions): – February 6, 2021 – April 3, 2021 (Saturdays) from 1 pm-2 pm
- Virtual Event (Talk/Workshop): Stratagem: Black Brilliance Trivia Night – February 28 at 6 pm
- Virtual Event (Talk/Workshop): Stratagem: Re-Defining Black Masculinity – February 23 at 5 pm
- Virtual Event (Talk/Workshop): Stratagem: Out There Without Fear: Black Bodies in Motion – February 19 at 4 pm
- Virtual Event (Talk/Workshop): Stratagem: Afro-Indigenous Resilience – February 13 at 10 am