Monday Morning Musings – S03E06 – Black History Month

Hey folks! It’s me, Michael Bach, your Diversity Dude, and this is Monday Morning Musings. (♫♪) So February is known as Black History Month. It’s an opportunity to reflect and recognize the contributions of some pretty amazing Black Afro-Caribbean Canadians and the wonderful things they have brought to Canada. And a lot of people might say: “Well, why do we have Black History Month? We don’t have White History Month.” And you are what I like to call ‘wrong’. We do have White History Month — it’s every other month of the freakin’ year… The fact of the matter is we’ve been trying to erase the contributions of Black Afro-Caribbean people well, since Canada became a country. Black History Month in Canada was first recognized officially in 1985, but it actually goes back to 1926 in the United States, again as an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize Black people. It’s an opportunity to recognize people like Viola Desmond, who now appears on the ten-dollar bill, but you may not know that she lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and one day when she was going to see a movie, she decided not to sit in the upper balcony which was where Black people were supposed to sit and she sat downstairs on the lower level. She was arrested because she didn’t pay the one-cent difference and she was tried for tax evasion. She was convicted and served 30 days in jail. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge people like Lincoln Alexander, who was the first Black person to be elected as a Member of Parliament in 1968. He later went on in 1985 to become the first person of colour to be the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge people like Marie-Joseph Angélique, who was a slave who came to Canada in the 1700s, and through a bit of a story, she was executed for starting a fire that she arguably did not start. The reality is that Canadians have been trying to erase the contributions of Black Afro-Caribbean people, well, since Canada was a country, and there are some amazing contributions. A friend of mine sent me a bit of an article that I’m going to post down below as well as with some links to information about Black History Month and to notable historical figures, but the one thing that hit home for me was something I listened to over the weekend on Out in the Open on CBC, which is hosted by Piya Chattopadhyay, and it was an audio essay by Anthony Morgan reflecting on the death of Eric Garner, which happened apparently a year ago, or two years ago I think, and you may remember the story because he was murdered by a police officer who was apparently trying to arrest him and he was choked to death. And his last words were “I can’t breathe.” That essay, and I encourage you to listen to it, really reminds me why it’s so important to have things like Black History Month. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect. Keep in mind the Ontario Human Rights Commission releas… rel… recently rele… (laughs) blah-la-la…The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently released a study that showed that Black people in the City of Toronto were 20 times more likely to be killed by police than white people. This is not made up, this is not imaginary. Anti-Black racism is real and it’s something we need to deal with. So I’d encourage you to read the articles, to learn more about Black History Month, and to listen to that essay, it’s pretty powerful. That’s it for me. I hope you have a fabulous week. Remember to subscribe to my channel by clicking on the link, and connect with me on social media through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I will see you next week for another episode of Monday Morning Musings. Bye! (♫♪)

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