A proud moment for Canada

This is a birding blog but as a woman of colour myself I had to post about this historic moment.

Canada has a very racist past including hundreds of years of slavery of Black and First Nations Peoples that gets hidden under the rug. However, today a Black Woman who resisted racist segregation laws wouldn't give up her seat in a white section of a theatre in NS was honoured. She did this 9 years before Rosa Parks in the US wouldn't give up her seat on a bus to a white person in Alabama. Viola was kicked out and thrown into jail for this act of refusing to leave from a white only section. It was only 65 years later that the government apologized and pardoned her.

Well she replace John A, Macdonald who was a racist Prime Minister who effectively committed genocide on the Metis people of Manitoba before it became a province and cultural genocide on all First Nations by initiating the Residential School System the Government of Canada has officially apologized for but the horrific damage has already been done with unending lasting effects.

"At the height of the first freedom movement of the Americas, the Underground Railroad, the Common Schools Act was passed, providing for the creation of separate schools. While intended to create separate schools along religious lines, that is Protestant and Catholic, it was used to create segregated Black schools, particularly in those areas of the province less well represented by a vocal abolition community.

Toronto did not develop segregated schools, but in the southwestern parts of Ontario, particularly Windsor and Chatham, segregated schools remained in place. In many cases, local Black families did not wish to have Black only schools, but were forced to do so by the lack of accommodation they received when they attempted to have their children attend a local (White) school.

Near Chatham, in Merlin, the last segregated Black school in Ontario was finally closed in 1965 following lobbying by concerned African-Canadians to have it closed. Elsewhere, segregated schools were phased out around the same time, with the last segregated school in Canada, which was in Nova Scotia, closing in 1983."-Historic Canada

Yes, so much of our racist history was hid under the rug, while only the Underground Railroad is focused on. We cannot only focus on the idyllic parts of history while hiding the wrongs. Slavery only ended in Canada in 1834, 30 years before the US. In some cases historians and Canadian politicians deliberately falsified documents to make it look like slavery did not even occur in Canada. It is thanks to historian Marcel Trudeau that this fact came out. There has been countless other black heroes who stood up against racism in Canada since the times of slavery from Angelique to Chloe Cooley.

So today is a proud moment in Canadian History to have this black hero on our 10$ bill. The first Black woman and non Royal ever to be placed on a regularly circulating Canadian bill. I will definitely frame one of these new bills on my wall. She is an inspiration to me, all black women and all Canadians and continues to inspire in me that the individual is powerful and that one's person's actions even when it seems the whole world is against you and you have no chance to succeed you can change the world.

Well the US had a Black President and Canada has a Black woman on their 10$ bill two things I never thought I would see in my lifetime. This gives me Hope in a very difficult world especially after Trump was elected causing such racial strife. A great thing to happen on International Womens's Day.

Read the CBC news story HERE

Watch the news story below:


Here are poems for all Black women to inspire them:


(Maya's are my ultimate favourite)



We still have a long way to go for racial harmony, to end racism and have equal rights in Canadian society. Don't ever give up the fight.

Since we are birders I will tie it back to birds and leave you with this powerful poem:

Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

- Maya Angelou , 1983.

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting about this history moment in Canadian history

    ReplyDelete

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