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Statement by the Prime Minister on Black History Month

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Black History Month:

“Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. This month, we honour the achievements of Black Canadians, past and present, celebrate Black culture, and reaffirm our commitment to building a more diverse, welcoming Canada for everyone.

“The theme of this year’s Black History Month, ‘Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build’, encourages us to share the stories of Black Canadians. Black Canadian history is Canadian history. From groundbreaking trailblazers in halls of fame and history books to unsung heroes in communities across the country, Black excellence is all around us. We celebrate Stephanie Bernard, the founder of the Nunavut Black History Society and a community leader advancing Black-Canadian arts, and culture. We celebrate Abraham Beverley Walker, the first Canadian-born Black lawyer and first Black New Brunswicker to publish a magazine. Black Canadians have played a pivotal role in making Canada the diverse, prosperous, and compassionate place we know and love.

“Canada’s painful history of anti-Black racism continues to impact communities across the country. We can – and we must – do better. In 2018, we officially recognized the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent. This initiative, centred on recognition, justice, development, and fighting discrimination, helps us build frameworks to empower Black communities and advance our work to combat racism, discrimination, and xenophobia faced by those of African descent.

“We’ve also strengthened our supports to Black-led organizations here at home. Since 2019, through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, we have invested in more than 2,300 projects to grow Black-led, Black-focused, and Black-serving charities and non-profit organizations. Last year, we selected the Foundation for Black Communities to manage the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. The Fund supports charities and non-profit organizations in fighting anti-Black racism and improving social and economic well-being in predominantly Black communities. With the Black Entrepreneurship Program, we are helping Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs start up, scale up, and succeed – now and into the future.

“Canada has undoubtedly come a long way. But so long as inequality and injustice still exist in our society, our work is far from done. So, this month, and every month, let us celebrate Black heritage, honour the extraordinary stories of Black Canadians, and build a better, fairer future – for the stories yet to be written.

“Happy Black History Month, Canada.”