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February and Forever

A Black History Month Retrospective

At the beginning of Black History Month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made this statement: “This year, the Government of Canada’s Black History Month theme is ‘February and Forever: celebrating Black history today and every day.’ It invites us to pay tribute to, and learn more about, the important roles that Black Canadians have played in building and shaping a more prosperous, diverse, and inclusive Canada.”

As mentioned in that statement, it is important for us to learn about the contributions that Black Canadians have made to Canadian society.

Youth and Staff at CHV wanted to engage with this topic and create posters of Black Canadians that they were inspired by. A total of 24 posters were created along with corresponding biographies.

Just to Name a Few

Here are three of the many individuals who have inspired CHV youth:

Donovan Bailey

The first man to be world champion, Olympic champion and world record holder at the same time  

He’s also the only person to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame twice. 

In the men’s 100-metre race at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, he recorded the fastest top speed ever at 27.07 mph— a record only surpassed by Usain Bolt  

He also broke the indoor 50 metre world record in a time of 5.56 seconds—a record that still stands today

The Honourable Dr. Hedy Fry

She is the longest-serving female MP in Canadian history

She was a leader in the medical community, serving as president of the Vancouver Medical Association, BC Medical Association, and the Federation of Medical Women

She was the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Status of Women

She currently serves as head of Canada’s delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, and is their Special Representative for Gender Issues

Ruth B.

A Canadian singer/songwriter from Edmonton, who started by making 6-second video clips on Vine, in 2013

In May 2017, she released her debut album, Safe Haven. It has gathered over 1,100 billion streams on Spotify

At the 2017 Juno Awards, she was nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award and Songwriter of the Year, and won Breakthrough Artist of the Year

At the 2018 Juno Awards, she was nominated for three awards—Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Pop Album of the Year

Did You Know?

  • Black Canadians have been a part of Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, back in the early 1600s

  • After the American Revolution, people of African descent settled in the Maritimes

  • Many soldiers of African descent sacrificed their lives for Canada since the War of 1812

  • African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now known as Canada

  • The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine is the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons as a Member of Parliament and in 1995, her motion was passed unanimously to recognize February as Black History Month.
An Interview with the Hon. Dr. Augistine

Next Steps

Is there a Black Canadian who has inspired you? If you are not sure where to start on your quest to learn more, you can visit the Government of Canada’s Black History Month webpage, or try a Google search that includes your interests.

Visit our social media channels (links at the bottom of this page) and let us know who inspires you.