Recognizing Black History Month2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
From: Karen Redman, Chair of the Region of Waterloo
February is Black History Month in Canada and across Waterloo Region. This year’s theme for Black History Month is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day. Black History Month has a unifying effect, as we collectively gather (largely virtually this year) to celebrate the contributions of Black Canadians and reflect on the importance of diversity and inclusion to our country.
We celebrate Black History Month as a country thanks to the vision of the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected as a Member of Parliament and the former MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. On December 14, 1995, the House of Commons unanimously approved a motion introduced by Dr. Augustine to recognize February as Black History Month. The celebrations, reflection and learning that occur this month reflect Dr. Augustine’s deep expertise and passion for education. Dr. Augustine is an example of the many Black leaders across our country and region who have worked tirelessly for change.
Across our community, many organizations have found new and innovative ways to commemorate Black History. This includes celebrations from the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and Bring on the Sunshine. There are also various events hosted by Region of Waterloo museums, local public libraries and universities.
While this month is a celebration, it is also an important time to reflect on the systemic racism and barriers that exist across our society and within our institutions. I want to thank the members of the Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group, as well as participants in the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan, who are advancing change across our community and charting a course for a brighter future.
On behalf of Regional Council and all our residents, I wish everyone safe and healthy celebrations throughout this month.
Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo