Monday 22 October, 2018

Black Caribbean-Canadian women highlighted by PM Trudeau

(L-R) Afua Cooper, Michaëlle Jean and Jean Augustine (Internet images)

(L-R) Afua Cooper, Michaëlle Jean and Jean Augustine (Internet images)

As Black History Month, also called African Awareness Month comes to a close, three Caribbean-Canadians are once again in the spotlight.

They are Afua Cooper, who is a Jamaican-born Canadian historian, author and dub poet; Michaëlle Jean is the Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophoni and the Haitian refugee also held the post of Governor General of Canada from 2005 to 2010; and Jean Augustine PC CM CBE, who is a Grenadan-Canadian educational administrator, advocate for social justice, and politician.

The women were amongst those saluted by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, within his statement on Black History Month

Deeming it “a time to honour and celebrate the many achievements and contributions that Black Canadians have made to our country,” the theme for Black History Month 2018 was ‘Black Canadian Women: Stories of Strength, Courage and Vision’.

“Jean Augustine, Viola Desmond, Michaëlle Jean, Jully Black, Afua Cooper – these are just a few women of African descent who have shaped Canada into the country it is today. Yet all too often their stories go untold.”

Acknowledging that at the end of January 2018, “the Government of Canada announced that Canada will officially recognize the UN International Decade for People of African Descent,” he urged that “this International Decade, which spans from 2015 to 2024, is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the important contributions that Black Canadians have made to Canadian society.

“The International Decade also offers a framework to better address the very real and unique challenges that Black Canadians face. By working together, we can combat anti-black racism and discrimination, and deliver better outcomes for Black Canadians.”