B.C. Premier John Horgan and Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, issued the following joint statement today (February 1) for Black History Month:
"Black History Month is a time to honour, celebrate and reflect on the stories, experiences and accomplishments of Black Canadians here in British Columbia and across the country.
"Our province has been shaped by the contributions of Black Canadians, such as Leonard Lane, who fought discrimination in workplaces, the education system, and in housing. He was also one of the founders of the B.C. Unity Credit Union, which provided loans to young Black families to help them buy their first homes. Or Barbara Howard, the first Black woman athlete to represent Canada in an international competition and the first person of colour to be hired as a teacher by the Vancouver School Board.
"We also want to acknowledge the leadership so many Black Canadians and Black community organizations have taken in the past, and continue to take, in advocating for social justice and equity for all—especially through this unprecedented and challenging year.
The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted systemic injustice and discrimination toward Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour that have harmed them for generations. It has challenged each of us to reflect on our own hidden biases and stand up and speak out against racism—especially those of us with privilege.
"We know we need to do better as a government in addressing systemic and institutional racism. As part of this work, we have committed to introducing race-based data collection so we can see where there are gaps in the services people count on and how they can be addressed. We have launched Resilience B.C., a new anti-racism network that targets discrimination and hate around the province, and we are developing B.C.'s first anti-racism act, in consultation with communities.
"On this first day of Black History Month, we recommit to building a province where everyone is safe from violence and oppression. Let's also take the time to learn about Black history and the ways in which Black Canadians have shaped our communities and our province. Together, we can build a brighter future for all British Columbians."