August 1 marks Emancipation Day in Canada. It’s a day set aside to acknowledge and reflect on our country’s dark and painful history of slavery. It’s also an opportunity to recommit to standing up to anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination in our society. 

Today, 188 years after the passing of the British Parliament’s Slavery Abolition Act, we acknowledge the history of slavery and anti-black racism here in Canada, and recognize the harmful and systemic effects still felt today. 

On Emancipation Day, we celebrate the achievements of Black Canadians, and recognize the strength and perseverance of Black communities. Let us all remember the past, reflect on the present, and plan for a strong and equitable future for everyone. This is a day for all of us to remember how far we’ve come, while looking forward to the work still to be done to build a strong and equitable future for all Canadians.

The University of Guelph is deeply committed to identifying and addressing systemic barriers to success, while creating an inclusive and equitable culture where everyone belongs. Today, take some time to engage in self-education by accessing our many resources on combating anti-Black racism, discrimination and oppression. In addition, re-familiarize yourself with the ongoing work to address racism at the U of G through the Anti-Racism Action Plan, and check out the library’s Cultivating and Celebrating Black Joy online collection. 

Together, we will continue to build a welcoming and inclusive University for everyone. Happy Emancipation Day, U of G!

Indira Naidoo-Harris, Associate Vice-President (Diversity and Human Rights)