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Black History Month 2021

February 1, 2021

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission is pleased to add its voice to the chorus of those celebrating Black History Month in Saskatchewan.

During the month of February, we remember, acknowledge, and honour the contributions African-Canadians have made to our cultural, economic, and political landscape. Since Dr. Alfred Shadd, the first known African Canadian resident of Saskatchewan, arrived in 1896, African Canadians have continued to help build our province and shape our communities. The linguistic, cultural, and social forces that underlie this unique and complex history inform our understanding of what it means to be a Canadian citizen today.

It is incumbent upon us, as members of one human family, to:

  • understand this history and learn from our past,
  • recognize the struggles African Canadians continue to face in society, and
  • work together to foster inclusion, promote understanding, and eliminate discrimination.

This year, the Commission partnered with UNESCO and the University of Manitoba on a series of human rights symposiums to recognize the International Decade of People of African Descent. The next symposium – Recognizing and Overcoming Systemic Oppression: Advancing Health, Social and Economic Justice Together – takes place on February 18. This symposium will discuss the underlying root causes of systemic, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized oppression to perceived “race,” ethnic, and cultural differences. It will also explore human rights based policies, practice models, and strategies that support healing and promote sustained health, social, and economic justice for all Canadians at a practical level. ( Click here to register.)

Throughout this month, as we take part in discussions, participate in festivities, and celebrate the history of African Canadians in Saskatchewan, it is important to keep in mind the Government of Canada’s 2021 theme for Black History Month – “The Future is Now.”

It is time for us – as one people, one province – to actively protect and promote human rights; to choose unity over division; and to stand up, speak out, and take action against discrimination in all its forms.