AUPE salutes the government of Alberta for formally proclaiming February Black History Month in Alberta. The contributions of Albertans of African and Caribbean descent are enormous, and are too often hidden when learning about history. AUPE’s Human Rights Committee encourages members to take part in local events and reflect on the history of black Canadians.

“We are proud to come together with the black community to celebrate their long history in Canada and Alberta,” said AUPE Vice-President Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, who chairs the committee. “From John Ware, who arrived in what would become Alberta in 1882, to the tens of thousands of black men and women who call Alberta home today, the black community in Alberta is integral to our history and our future.”

Rusznak also noted that standing up to discrimination against black Albertans is more important now than ever. “Black History Month gives us an opportunity to face discrimination head-on. Learning about the history of black people in Canada, and realizing the important contributions they have made, is essential to combating racism in all its forms.”

Black History Month was first officially recognized in Canada in February 1996, following a unanimous motion of the House of Commons in December 1995. Alberta follows British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec in officially recognizing Black History Month provincially.