We dedicate this 28thedition to those who, through their leadership and devotion to the cause of Black women,
have accomplished much and distinguished themselves—thereby inspiring other women and men in turn—those who, through their tireless work and exemplary resilience, have contributed to moving our society forward.
These women, who work in our lives and radiate with experience, have managed to give us back hope, revealed our weaknesses and raised our collective consciousness. With full knowledge of the fact that the centuries-long fight against racism, patriarchy and economic exploitation is not yet a thing of the past, these courageous women have steered us toward changes and behaviours that we, as members of a society, must adopt in order to remain allies and contribute to the fight against the violence that is inflicted upon Black women.
We’ve chosen “Voices of Emancipation” as a theme because it embodies the cries of Black women who, through their strength, continue to show us the way. In the footsteps of these trailblazers, some women have risen up while others have gotten involved and sought to fulfil their dreams as means of bearing witness to their experiences and their devotion to the community. We’d like to express all our gratitude to these women, whose life journeys have continued to guide and inspire us.
We would also like to applaud the City of Montreal’s recognition of the United Nations’ resolution regarding the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and their acknowledgment that the slave trade is a crime against humanity. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. We also applaud the work of Canadian Heritage, which through its support for the human-development and identity-related growth of the country’s Black populations, provides youth with the chance to receive an education that allows them to pursue the profession of their choice.
Right here and all over Canada, 2019 will be a crucial time for minorities within minorities. Alongside McGill and Concordia universities, the Round Table on Black History Month would like to highlight the 50thanniversary of the Montreal Congress of Black Writers, which was held in November of 1968. We’ll also have a chance to look back on the 1969 protests and riot at Sir George Williams University, which were sad events that served as a catalyst for contemplation and for efforts all over the country to recognize issues faced by Black Canadians—and led to a fair number of suspicion-laden, exclusionary reactions on the part of the host society. Nonetheless, the injustice visited upon those Black students in 1969 at Concordia University led to positive outcomes, in the sense that it helped intensify the struggle against discrimination and for the right to universal equality.
Text by : Michael P. Farkas