Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians and black communities.
Black History Month is an opportunity to learn about the many contributions that Black Canadians have made to this country. This year’s theme for Black History Month is “The Future is Now”, a call to action for us to build on the legacy of those who came before us and to recognize the transformative work that Black Canadians are doing now.
Black people and communities have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
Black history in Canada has not always been celebrated or highlighted. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were people of African descent, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by soldiers of African descent as far back as the War of 1812.
Canadians are not always aware of the fact that Black people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada or how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation for the diverse and inclusive Canadian society we have today.
Black History Month is about honouring the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. It is about celebrating resilience, innovation, and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada—a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish.
Each week of February, Women+Power will feature some stories of Black women from history that have inspired us. Look for these posts on our website and social media platforms. If you are a black woman carving out your own path in the power industry in Alberta, we would love to hear from you to learn more about how we can support you and share your story!