As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage responsible for Multiculturalism, I want to extend greetings and best wishes to all Black Canadians throughout Canada and Parkdale-High Park, as Black History Month commences.
The history of Black people in Canada can be traced back to the early 1600s with the arrival of navigator and interpreter Mathieu Da Costa, who was commemorated with an official Black History Month stamp last year. From the 1600s on, the Black community has helped shape Canada into the country we know today.
As someone who is unwaveringly committed to the promotion of multiculturalism, both personally and as a Parliamentarian, I feel it is imperative that we take this opportunity to recognize the major role Black Canadians have had in advancing our values of diversity and inclusion.
Following a motion from the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine the House of Commons officially recognized Black History Month in December 1995 – a motion which passed unanimously.
I have had the pleasure of knowing the Hon. Jean Augustine and connecting with her about our shared passion for social justice and multiculturalism – a mandate which she also held as the Minister of State for Multiculturalism from 2002 to 2004.
The stories of the Hon. Jean Augustine and countless other Black community leaders are stories of strength, courage, and vision. They are stories that we need to hear, stories that deserve to be told.
In the coming weeks, I will be highlighting the stories of community leaders here in Parkdale-High Park. Stay tuned, and please don’t hesitate to share your stories with me too!