On March 24, 2021, the House of Commons voted unanimously to officially designate August 1 Emancipation Day. It acknowledges the actual day in 1834 that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into existence.
August 1, 2022 will mark the second federally recognized Emancipation Day in Canada – a day that honours the long legacy and contribution of Black Canadians and the commitment to unlearning anti-Black racism and the creation of a more just society. As Canadians, we are not always aware that Black and Indigenous peoples were once enslaved on the land that our campuses and workplaces exist.
As we celebrate Emancipation Day, let us commit to a bold and reparative social justice. Although the institution of slavery officially ended in slave colonies in some places within the British Empire after more than 300 years on August 1, 1834, the legacy of African enslavement reverberates today.
Let us remember and acknowledge those who fought enslavement and were pivotal in shaping the diversity of our campuses and communities.