August 23rd, 2018 – The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) joins all Canadians in commemorating the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
It was on August 23, 1791, that people who had been sold into slavery in Haiti rose up to oppose this oppressive and inhuman system. The date, chosen by UNESCO for commemoration in 1998, marks the beginning of the Haitian Revolution, an act of resistance that would eventually lead to the abolition of slavery around the world.
“The slave trade is a dark period of human history,” said Albert Lo, Chair of the Board, CRRF. “The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is an opportunity for the world to remember the countless individuals who were removed from their homes, separated from their families, and subjected to unspeakable abuses over the course of three centuries. We also remember those who resisted and preserved their human dignity in the face of these terrible circumstances. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources developed by UNESCO as part of its Slave Route research initiative and its Decade for People of African Descent.”
“It is important that Canadians take part in this day of remembrance,” said Dr. Lilian Ma, CRRF Executive Director. “Canada is often remembered as a safe haven for fugitive slaves fleeing the American South until the thirteenth amendment to the US constitution banned slavery in 1865. However, Black and Indigenous people were traded and kept as slaves in New France and British Canada until the practice of slavery in the British Empire was altogether ended in 1833. Canada’s historical involvement in the slave trade continues to affect race relations in Canada to the present day. Even though it is difficult, we must remember this part of our past if we are to move forward in promoting harmony across Canada’s diverse communities.”
More information on the history of slavery in Canada and its impact on Canadian race relations may be found in the CRRF’s own Clearinghouse through a keyword search using the terms “slave” and “slavery.” In addition, the CRRF has produced educational resource materials such as Doing the Right Thing to help us understand and discuss past mistakes made in Canadian history against minorities. These are available for download from our website at no cost.
About the Canadian Race Relations Foundation
The purpose of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is to facilitate throughout Canada the development, sharing and application of knowledge and expertise in order to contribute to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society. The work of the Foundation is premised on the desire to create and nurture an inclusive society based on equity, social harmony, mutual respect and human dignity. Its underlying principle in addressing racism and racial discrimination emphasizes positive race relations and the promotion of shared Canadian values of human rights and democratic institutions.
For more information
Dr. Lilian Ma, Executive Director – (416) 441-1900