February 6, 2023: Honour and promote the legacy of Black people with insightful digital resources! ✊🏾

February is Black History Month! Every February, people across Turtle Island participate in Black History Month events, festivities and activities that honour the legacy of Black people in our communities past and present. We take this time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black folks who, throughout history, have done so much to make the world culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous. This week in the mentoring circle, we gain insight into the experiences of Black people and the significant contributions they have made to the world. In the following PSA, meet various critical Black Canadians and events featured in this Black History Month!

The 2023 theme for Black History Month is: “Ours to tell”. This theme represents both an opportunity to engage in open dialogue and a commitment to learning more about the stories Black communities in Canada have to tell about their histories, successes, sacrifices and triumphs. Many organizations and educational resources are devoted to promoting awareness of the history of Black communities in Canada. The government of Canada has created a Black History Month digital toolkit that includes Black organizations and insightful educational resources. Use their digital toolkit to promote Black History Month all month long. It includes posters, social media images, a virtual background, and much more!

While Black history should be recognized 365 days a year, and not limited to a single month, this is an opportunity for a focused, intentional and elevated reflection and recognition of Black history and achievement – and the many historical and contemporary contributions of Black people. And while the month-long celebration of Black History Month and their accomplishments officially started in 1995 in Canada, its origins go back much farther than that. So when did Black History Month begin? Why and how did it start? And where do people think it’s heading in the future? In the following video, CBC Kids News contributor Ainara Alleyne answers these questions and more.

Black History Month is a time to celebrate and highlight the best of Black History and culture and to honour the ancestors and leaders of Black communities, their accomplishments and their continued fight for liberation. Black History acknowledgement is also a time for all of us to reflect and educate ourselves on the history of Black enslavement, discrimination and criminalization of people of African descent, and to remember that racism still exists. This monthly occurrence reminds us that we should celebrate Black history and excellence every day. Watch the animated music video for “Black History (It’s Yours)” – an original rap anthem to begin celebrating Black icons and heroes.

There are still many people who believed Black History Month confines the celebration of Black history to one month, as opposed to the integration of Black history into mainstream education for the whole of the year. But the biggest concern is the shift of intention, contrary to the original inspiration for Black History Month, which was a desire to redress how education failed to represent Black historical figures as anything other than enslaved people or colonial subjects, Black History Month has reduced complex historical figures to overly simplified objects of that are digestible to the white system. In the following video, VICE’s Lee Adams breaks down why Black History Month shouldn’t even be a thing. Before you think otherwise, hear him out.

Black people continue to experience differential treatment, racism and white supremacy. Black, racialized and Indigenous communities are still far more likely to suffer from the consequences of systemic oppression. This, ongoing crisis of over-policing, has shone a spotlight on how much remains to be done. Back history month gives us an opportunity to question how we are refusing systemic racism in our workplaces and communities. How can we work towards meaningful and attainable change for Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples? In the following video, Amber Ruffin celebrates and educates about Black History Month with a crash course on its importance, why it matters, and an uncomfortable but oh-so-important reminder of the impact systemic racism has to this day.