Statement from Minister Coteau on Black History Month
February 1, 2017
Today, Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, issued the following statement:
"I take great pride asking you to join me in celebrating Black History Month this year. This is an opportunity for us to reflect on and pay tribute to the history that has collectively shaped us, and to share Black Canadians' triumphs and challenges.
Ontario first proclaimed Black History Month in 1993 to mark the 200th anniversary of a law banning the importation of slaves into Upper Canada. And last year, the province passed legislation to formally recognize February as Black History Month on an annual basis.
Black History Month is about learning and sharing. It's about recognizing the important contributions of Black people. Sharing our stories helps build a deeper understanding, stronger appreciation and greater resilience. These 28 days are about celebrating our successes and they are also about acknowledging trailblazers who have brought us down the long path to where we are today.
But we know our work is not yet over. The Black community's struggle against racism and our ongoing quest for justice and recognition is a testament to our shared strength and determination. We have so much more work to do. We must continue to work together in order to accomplish our shared goal of equality for all. That is why I am committed to continue engaging with the community and across government to remove barriers that prevent everyone in our society from achieving success.
We must continue to build an inclusive Ontario. This starts with our ability to understand each other, and to share the very best our cultures have to offer. When members of our community prosper, our province truly prospers.
By understanding and celebrating our Black history, we can build a society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential."