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In an effort to promote an active and inclusive union and to promote equality in our society and our workplaces, CUPE BC and its members celebrate black history every year during the month of February.

This is a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions made to British Columbian society, and to our Union, by Canadians of African origin, past and present.  Among the former are celebrated NDP activists Emery Barnes, a former BC Lions player and Speaker of the House, and Rosemary Brown, a leading women’s advocate and teacher; Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, English Bay’s first official lifeguard; Harry Jerome, Olympic athlete and recipient of the Order of Canada; Mifflin Gibbs, businessman and civic leader; and Sir James Douglas, Britain’s colonial governor in the Pacific Northwest.

Black History Month also celebrates the continuing contributions of citizens such as lawyer Jane Rukaria, a community volunteer and advocate for refugees and immigrants known for her efforts in helping people from the African Diaspora settle in the Lower Mainland. Rukaria is this year’s honouree for the Vancouver Park Board’s Remarkable Women Project, which celebrates and recognizes the contributions of women to the City as community builders.

 For more information on the contributions of the black community to Canada, and events being held by various organizations in our province for Black History Month, please visit:



 Also, please visit the CUPE National website.