This special edition of our newsletter is dedicated to the celebration and recognition of Black History Month. The theme for Black History Month this year is “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day”. It reminds us to recognize the tremendous
contributions of Black Canadians—not just this month, but all year long. This newsletter features two articles and links to additional resources on Black History in Canada.
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Bilingual Communications Specialist
The difference between being anti-racist, non-racist, and an ally
Antiracism is one of the core goals of Black History Month but being “not a racist” and being anti-racist are two different ideas.
The biggest difference between the two terms is action. While antiracism is “the active effort to eliminate all forms of racism” (CCDI, 2022), non-racism is simply not using one’s “race-based power to mistreat people based on their race or skin color,” but doing very little to change the systems or environments that allow racism to persist (Anderson, 2020).
To put it another way, to be a non-racist is to do nothing, but to be anti-racist is to take action and to be an ally.
While there are many ways to put anti-racism into action, speakers in the video “What it means to be not racist vs. antiracist” (CBS News, 2020) remind us that even small actions, over time can lead to big changes. Some suggestions include: “diversifying your bookshelf, following more people of color on social media, dining at black-owned restaurants, choosing to see black doctors and more” (Capatides,
Click here to see the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion’s Glossary of Terms.
Anderson, K. L. (2020). From racist to non-racist to anti-racist: becoming a part of the solution.
Capatides, C. (2020). “The difference between being not racist and being antiracist”. CBS News.
Canadian Center for Diversity and Inclusion (2022). “Glossary of terms: A reference tool”.
February and Forever: 3 Tips to Keep the Conversation on Black History Going All Year Long
Although the month of February is dedicated to the recognition and celebration of Black History in Canada, the conversation does not, and should not stop once the month comes to an end. Rather, this month reminds us to meaningfully engage with history, take stock of where systemic racism persists, and celebrate Black achievement and those who are creating change.
Whether at home or at work, here are three tips to keep the momentum of Black History Month going, long after February has ended.
- Celebrating other important days
March 07, 2022, and the first Monday in March, every year, is Black Mental Health Day. This day recognizes that there is a desire and a demand to increase awareness and initiate action to address the impact of anti-Black racism on mental health and social well-being. Show your support by attending or hosting a special event, supporting your local Black businesses, and sharing information on your social media.
- Understanding intersectionality
Scholar and human rights activist Kimberlé Crenshaw founded the term “intersectionality” in 1984 to describe how race, class, gender, and another individual “intersect” and overlap with one another, which in turn affect how a person experiences the world.
Understanding intersectionality is essential to eliminating the barriers and obstacles that people face in their daily lives. Remember that intersectionality is not limited to race, gender, and/or class, but also includes things like sexuality, ability, age, language, and immigration status.
- Starting a Book Club / Group Share
From books to podcasts to certificate programs, there are many resources out there that explore important ideas. Starting a book club/ group share with a group of friends or colleagues is a great way to keep the momentum going, long after February has ended. You can mix up the content, plan it around your schedules, and focus on different topics – the possibilities are endless, and there’s nothing quite like learning and growing together!
More resources on Black History Month in Canada: