TORONTO, February 5, 2008 - There is no question that people of African descent continue to face enormous difficulties and challenges daily due to racism. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is honoured to join in the celebrations of the history, achievements and contributions of Canadians of African descent.
Over the past year, as we commemorated the bicentenary of the passage of the Act in the British Parliament to end the transatlantic trade in Africans as slaves, we were reminded of the enormous sacrifices and suffering of Africans who were brought, against their will, under the most heinous of circumstances, to be enslaved in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean. We were also reminded that Canada was not immune to slavery nor its impact.
There is no question that people of African descent continue to face enormous difficulties and challenges daily due to racism - and particularly a form of racism which has been identified as anti-Black racism. It is a state of being that continues to marginalize and, in some cases, exclude Canadians of African descent.
It is well-known, and indeed a sad commentary, that the history of the contributions of people of African descent in Canada has not been infused into every level of the curriculum of Canada's educational system. The demand, and the acceptance by the Toronto District School Board, for an Africentric school can be seen as recognition of this marginalization and exclusion.
Notwithstanding these challenges, Canadians of African descent have risen above them to contribute substantially to the economy, growth and well-being of Canada and Canadians. While we frequently, and with good reason, laud the stellar leadership of individual African Canadians who have made significant marks, we should also bear in mind those "unsung heroes" who contributed, paving the way for so many others to follow, irrespective of their race and colour.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation urges all Canadians to take the opportunity of African History Month to learn more about the historical and ongoing contributions of Canadians of African descent, and to continue that learning process beyond the end of February.