Each February, organizations across the nation turn their attention to the stories, contributions, and cultures of Black Canadians in celebration of Black History Month. Black CAP is proud to be among them. We cannot overstate the importance of acknowledging the ways that African, Black, and Caribbean peoples have shaped this country. Too often, these stories are left out of the history books and collective memory. Black History Month is an important opportunity to honour our Blackness and highlight our community’s role as changemakers.
For us at Black CAP, these 28 days are also an opportunity to amplify the work we do year-round. We remain steadfast in our dedication to addressing the threat of HIV and AIDS in the Black, Caribbean, and African communities. Because we know that Black History Month cannot merely be about looking back at our triumphs. It must also be about ensuring our people are able to move forward with strength and dignity.
To do this, we must continue to fight against the systemic anti-Black racism that impacts the wellbeing of Black Canadians. It is by pushing for systemic change that we can remedy the way that our people (especially our trans, non-binary, and woman-identifying individuals) are disproportionately affected not only by HIV and AIDS but also by the COVID-19 pandemic, violence and sexual assault, and the mental health and drug overdose crises.
This work is essential, and it must be taken up with urgency. We stand by our motto: All Black people’s lives are important. This Black History Month, we call individuals, institutions, and organizations alike to join us in recognizing this as truth and taking action to ensure that Black Canadians of all genders, sexualities, creeds, ethnicities, and backgrounds are afforded all the privileges this nation has to offer.
Because the Black community is more than just history. We are also the future.
Gareth Henry, Executive Director
Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention