Aug. 1 officially marks Emancipation Day in B.C., small step to recognize Black history

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The province is declaring August 1 as Emancipation day in B.C. for the first time in history.

Aug. 1 marks the day slavery was abolished in Canada in 1834.

Rachner Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, says this is a commitment from the province to the Black community that they will do better, and work towards dismantling anti-Black racism.

“But we know that the proclamations alone are not enough, and we need to back-up words with action as government. We have moral and ethical responsibility to dismantle systemic racism and remove the barriers,” she says.

Singh says this moment is long overdue.

“The community has been here for more than 150 years. The experience of Black British Columbians continues to be marginalized — their histories and contributions to this province are little known.”

She adds the experience of Black British Columbians is widely unknown and rarely celebrated.

Singh says she is continuing to meet with select members of the Black community to discuss ways to address racism and health sectors, education, and the justice system.

Last year, the City of Vancouver officially proclaimed Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day. Ontario is the only other province that recognizes Aug 1 as Emancipation Day, doing so back in 2008.

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