Emancipation Month recognizes the struggle for human rights and the rich contributions made by people of African descent. Recognizing Emancipation Month in August acknowledges an abhorrent period in our history and our ongoing commitment to eliminate discrimination in all forms.
WHEREAS during Emancipation Month, we recognize and acknowledge the continued struggle for freedom and human rights created by Canadians of African Descent and the wider African diaspora in Canada.
This month, as we reflect upon the ongoing global efforts to abolish slavery, it is critical that we all acknowledge the impact of our colonial experiences and the unwavering spirit of resistance that continues to fuel the liberation of African-Canadians. For over 400 years, people of African descent were victims of the transatlantic slave trade – including the French and British colonies on lands that would eventually be called Canada.
In 1833 the British Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which came into effect on August 1, 1834, formally marking the elimination of slavery within British colonies. As we observe this anniversary, we must all recommit ourselves to learning about our history, eliminating discrimination, and addressing anti-Black racism in all of its forms. In March 2021, the City of Toronto once again proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent with the theme of “Ending Slavery’s Legacy of Racism: A Global Imperative for Justice.”
The City of Toronto developed and enacted the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism with the goal of eliminating anti-Black racism in City services, planning, policies and spaces. Toronto City Council continues to work hard in establishing a caring and compassionate city in which all its members – regardless of race or ethnic origin – have the right to live in conditions of good health, safety, dignity, respect and peace.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor John Tory, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim August 2021 as “Emancipation Month” in the City of Toronto.
The month of August marks many significant milestones in the struggles and successes faced by people of African descent on a journey that led to the abolition of slavery.
Source: Historica Canada