The Canadian Race Relations Foundation says an upcoming apology by the federal government to Black Canadian soldiers is a welcome step towards continuing to address systemic anti-Black racism, including incidents in the nation’s past.
Members of the No.2 Construction Battalion, Canada’s first and only all-Black military regiment, faced anti-Black racism before, during, and even after their service. Descendants and community members will be participating in a live event this Saturday, July 9, in Truro, Nova Scotia, during which time the federal government will apologize for the discrimination they encountered.
The Battalion was created because Blacks faced barriers from participating in the war effort, yet their efforts even then were not recognized nor honoured.
“On behalf of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, I would like to thank the federal government for recognizing and righting a wrong,” said Raymond Tynes, CRRF board member for the Atlantic region and an African Nova Scotian who has served as a reservist, and who has two family members who served in the No. 2 Construction Battalion.
“The No.2 Construction Battalion opened the door for some as witnessed by the poles with flags showing the faces and names, lining Prince Street along with those who came to serve afterwards. It has taken over 100 years, but this apology is a reminder that our family members and descendants who served while facing racism and discrimination will never be forgotten and enshrined in the history of Canada.”
The CRRF further encourages Ottawa to work with national museums and institutions to ensure the history of the No.2 Battalion is shared with Canadians across the country.
To watch the livestream of the ceremony, visit: www.no2-cef.ca at 1 p.m. (AST) on Saturday, July 9, 2022.