Black Shirt Day on January 15 will commemorate Black struggle for civil and human rights

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      Since the police killing of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis, there's been a far greater public focus on the impact of four centuries of anti-Black racism.

      On Thursday (January 15), B.C. educators and students will participate in the province's first Black Shirt Day to further advance those efforts.

      It's intended to commemorate the struggle that Blacks and racialized Canadians have made to promote civil and human rights.

      Many are expected to show their solidarity by photographing themselves and using the social-media hashtag #BlackShirtDay.

      The Anti-Racism Coalition of Vancouver launched this initiative and posted an online petition to Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside calling for a Black Shirt Day for antiracism.

      It's timed to coincide with the birthdate of the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.

      "We believe this will be an important step in raising greater awareness of the ongoing struggle for civil and human rights faced by Black and racialized Canadians, and help to foster solidarity against all forms of racism and hate," the petition states. "We hereby petition the British Columbia Ministry of Education to designate Friday, January 15th, 2021, as Black Shirt Day in recognition of the struggle for civil rights of Black and racialized Canadians."

      As of this writing, the petition has gathered nearly 9,000 signatures.

      Video: Watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s final "I've been to the Mountaintop" speech one day before he was assassinated.

      King's final speech was eerily prescient

      "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life, longevity has its place," Martin Luther King Jr. said in his final speech before being murdered in Memphis. "But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will.

      "And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over and I've seen the promised land.

      "I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the eyes the glory of the coming of the Lord."