Black History Month is observed every February to recognize the considerable achievements of people of African descent in our communities. These achievements include significant contributions to social justice, usually in the face of racism and systemic discrimination.

Consider for example Viola Desmond, a black woman in Nova Scotia who, in 1946 refused to sit in the balcony of a theatre, instead sitting downstairs in an area designated exclusively for white people. This bold act took place nine years before Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

More recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has emerged against police violence faced by Black people across North America, and against systematic racial profiling by officials at all levels of the state. This international movement directly confronts the dehumanizing actions of the state and seeks to liberate and empower black people across the globe.

Across Canada, many community groups and CUPE locals are organizing events to learn more about Black history, and to celebrate Black History Month.

We encourage all CUPE members to help organize and participate in these important events.