Black History Month 2023
February is Black History Month in Canada. During this month, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians. Black History Month was officially recognized nationally in 1995 and continues to encourage Canadians to learn, commemorate, share stories and amplify Black Canadian voices.
“Few people in Canada are aware of the fact that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now known as Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s diverse and inclusive society.” – Canadian Heritage
The video below was produced by the City of Vancouver and outlines some of the history and achievements of Black Vancouverites. You can view a collection of resources on their website. Check with your municipality, public library or historical society to learn more about the achievements in your community.
Tips for Celebrating Black History Month
- Visit your local library and/or historical society to learn more about the people who broke barriers in your community. Share those stories with your contacts.
- Spotlight local black-owned businesses.
- Share stories of current or past pioneers in your specific field.
- Invite someone in your field or area of interest to speak about their professional or personal life.
- Research the history of Black History Month and share those facts with others.
Keep in mind that the messages you share must reflect the thoughts and actions of your organization. Otherwise, marking special months like this is considered tokenism. If you’re not quite there yet, invest your time in learning and implementing those changes to be in a better position to use your voice for good in the future.
“The key part is how we learn, listen, and avoid being defensive, so we can grow. I would much rather see people genuinely trying and getting it wrong and listening and learning from it, rather than not making an attempt at all.” – Nova Reid
To learn more and for information on events happening around BC, check out the resources below.
- 7 Classroom Resources for Teaching Black History in Canada
- BC Black History Awareness Society
- Black History Month and the Importance of Literacy
- Black History Month Resource, Toronto Star Classroom Connection
- Government of Canada’s Black History Month website
- Historica Canada’s Black History YouTube playlist
- Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Black History Month resources
- The Westcoast Reader – February 2023
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