February is Black History Month in Canada.
Our celebration of Black History Month stems from the 2020 global response to systemic racism that has existed for centuries against Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC). We were horrified at the events as they unfolded, and many organizations—including our own—showed their support and issued statements in solidarity and support against systemic racism.
At Housing Central, the events of 2020 compelled CHF BC and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) to hold a mirror to ourselves and reflect on our efforts to address racial inequity as a community.
With the help of advocates like Hogan’s Alley Society, we have learned how systemic racism has contributed to the disproportionate number of Black people in Metro Vancouver experiencing homelessness. And viewed through an equity lens, every meaningful indicator—health, education, income, or employment —leads to one inescapable conclusion: racism is a fundamental characteristic of our social, economic and political systems, and always has been.
Housing Central’s work is focused on strengthening and growing the community housing sector and we have done some incredible work since we created our alliance in 2015. Building on that work and with our united efforts, we believe that sharing the rich cultural heritage and positive contributions of Black Canadians in our province will be a tangible step toward ensuring the goal of racial equality remains at the forefront of our work.
The experiences of many Black Canadians has never been heard, or heeded—both historically. and still, every day. Thriving in our communities is only possible when we are valued. We can only make our best creative contributions if we feel enough psychological safety to trust others to treat us equitably. Part of this is having our stories heard and understood.
In our effort progress towards a more equitable, inclusive, and just future, we want to to make the stories of Black Canadians more visible and concrete. As a manifestation of this journey, we are convening a panel of Black Canadians to share stories of the challenges that Black Canadians from across Canada faced and the lasting legacy they have left in the efforts to find a place to call home.
This year, we are again partnering with BCNPHA to celebrate this month by telling the story of the challenges of black Canadians as they try to make a home for themselves in Canada. On February 24 at 6:00pm PT, we are hosting a free online panel discussion with 4 black Canadians from coast to coast who will be sharing stories of Black Canadians.
This discussion will look a the long history of Black Canadians, the systemic racism that impacted their ability to create home and the displacement that resulted. The panel members will weave together stories of Black communities across our country and their lasting legacy on Canadian society and culture. Learn more and register HERE.
If you would like to learn more about Black history in BC and Canada, the BC Black History Awareness Society is showcasing an informative series of online and in-person discussions, performances and other events to celebrate.
February is Black History Month. As UBC President Santa Ono oberves, “while we should celebrate Black history and excellence every day, this is an opportunity for a focused, intentional, and elevated reflection and recognition of Black history and achievement – and the many contributions of Black people across Canada including Black British Columbians, and Black students, faculty and staff at UBC.”
In honour of Black History Month, the SFU Library invites you to explore our books and movies to learn more about the stories, histories, and experiences of Black Canadians.