The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day for People of African Descent:
“On this International Day for People of African Descent, we celebrate and honour the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora, in Canada and around the world.
“Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of role models of African descent – from Emma Stark, who inspired generations of students as the first Black teacher on Vancouver Island in 1874, to Dr. Stephen Blizzard, the first Black flight surgeon in the Canadian Armed Forces who was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame this year. Canadians of African descent have shaped our history and continue to contribute to a more diverse, prosperous, and compassionate Canada.
“Together, we are building a fairer Canada, free from hate and discrimination. Canada recognizes the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent and upholds the themes of recognition, justice, and development. That is why the federal government is launching its new Anti-Racism Strategy and developing Canada’s first Action Plan on Combatting Hate. To support equal economic, social, cultural, and political opportunity, the Government of Canada has launched several initiatives, including the Black Entrepreneurship Program, which is helping Black entrepreneurs grow their businesses and succeed now and into the future; the Black Canadian Communities Initiative, to celebrate, share knowledge, and invest in vibrant Black Canadian communities; and the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund, which will provide a sustainable source of funding for Black-led, Black-focused, and Black-serving non-profit organizations and registered charities across the country.
“The Government of Canada is also working with Black communities to develop Canada’s Black Justice Strategy, to address the anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination that exist in Canada’s criminal justice system and make certain that everyone in Canada has access to equal treatment before and under the law. Through initiatives like these, we are dismantling the systemic barriers that people of African descent still face in this country.
“Today, I invite all Canadians to learn more about the rich history of people of African descent in our country, and their ongoing contributions to Canada. From coast to coast to coast, people of African descent are helping build a stronger future for all of us.”