Today, on Emancipation Day, we acknowledge the end of a dark and painful chapter in Canadian history and celebrate the strength and remarkable achievements of Black Canadians.

This is a time to honour the perseverance of Black communities who fought tirelessly for equality and justice and continue to fight for fairness and acceptance today.

While today is a day to mark the anniversary of the end of slavery in Canada, it’s important to remember that Black communities continued to face segregation, discrimination prejudice, and inequality, the effects of which are still felt today.

Emancipation Day serves as an important reminder to us all of the prevalence of anti-Black racism within our communities and is a call to action to continue the work to eradicate hatred and discrimination in our country and our world.

Education is a crucial tool in advancing successful, inclusive societies. As an institution of higher learning, we have a responsibility to be at the forefront of the fight against anti-Black racism and discrimination. While we continue to work to address racism and discrimination at U of G through the Anti-Racism Action Plan and other initiatives, we know there is more work to do and we can do better. The harsh and painful legacy of slavery and systemic anti-Black racism is embedded in our systems, policies, practices and modern cultures.

We have a responsibility to acknowledge and eliminate the barriers to full participation within our communities.

Let us all remember and learn more about the past, reflect on the present and plan for a stronger future for all of us. Take a moment to review the progress of our Anti-Racism Action Plan, engage in self-education through the Principles of Belonging: Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism online learning module, or check out McLaughlin Library’s Celebrating Black Achievement online collection.

Together, we will continue to dismantle systems of oppression and build inclusive and welcoming communities for everyone.

Happy Emancipation Day, U of G!