August 1 is now recognized throughout Canada as Liberation Day, marking the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1834.
After years of campaigning by black lawmakers and community advocates, Canada on Sunday officially commemorated the abolition of slavery nearly 200 years ago on its first national liberation day.
Canadian MPs unanimously approved vote In March, Liberation Day was recognized nationwide on August 1. On the same day, in 1834, a bill came into force to prohibit slavery in former British colonies, including Canada.
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard was a leader in promoting the federal recognition of Liberation Day for many years. He said that this day was “not a celebration” but a “time of reflection, a time to remember our ancestors,” It is also a moment to commemorate our moment.” ancestor”.
“The national recognition of Liberation Day marks the beginning of our next step,” Thomas Bernard said Online activities Before Sunday, explained that black history must be taught in Canada throughout the year, and that apologies and compensation issues need to be discussed.
“If we use our collective strength, Liberation Day and the recognition of Liberation Day should push us forward in a very positive way,” she said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement on Sunday that “Liberation Day is a manifestation of social activism, justice and our commitment to a fair future”.
“Today, we recommit to combat the anti-black racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and related intolerance faced by African Americans in Canada,” he said.
But the history of slavery in Canada remains largely unknown, with more attention-and more education- Slavery in the United States, Which made June is a national holiday To commemorate the end of practice.
In the 200 years before Britain signed the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833, Canada had been practising slavery. The bill entered into force on August 1, 1834.
Slavery was practiced in the early colonies that later became Canada, a historian estimate Between 1671 and 1831, 4,200 people were enslaved in New France (now Quebec) and Upper and Lower Canada (Quebec and neighboring Ontario).
In the early colonies of what is now Canada, both blacks and aboriginals were enslaved.
— Wanda Thomas Bernard (@SenatorWanda) August 1, 2022
“After the British colonists established Upper Canada, the number of enslaved Africans and their descendants increased significantly. It is estimated that 3,000 enslaved men, women and children of African descent were brought to British North America, eventually exceeding the number of enslaved Africans. Enslaved indigenous people,” the Canadian government said on its website.
“Many enslaved blacks resisted slavery by fleeing Upper Canada to a territory called the Northwest Territories, which included Michigan and Ohio, and Vermont and New York, which banned slavery in the late 18th century.”
Several events will be held nationwide on Sunday.
As far as community advocates are concerned, they are also pushing the authorities to move beyond symbolic recognition and address the long-term effects of Canadian slavery, such as systematic anti-black racism.
“The creation of Liberation Day and other federal holidays that recognize the suffering of blacks is an important step towards equality-but only if it is accompanied by a genuine will to combine recognition with action and justice,” academic, public writer and novelist Sarah Laurie wrote.On July 31 Pillar For CBC News.
“In order to continue to make real progress, we need more than the acquiescence of Canadians and our government,” the UNESCO Canadian Commission also A blog post this week.
“It is one thing to observe a shameful historical moment in our history. It is another thing to proactively resolve its remaining problems.”