1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 97

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Black History Month

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about Black History Month.

During Black History Month, we recognize the history and the contributions of people of African descent to Canada. Too often in Canadian history, we forget to bring the stories, lessons, struggles and accomplishments of Canadian minorities. Black History Month allows to us highlight this history.

Yesterday, Senator Meredith, Senator Mégie and I co-hosted an evening on Parliament Hill in celebration of Black History Month. I would like to thank Senator Meredith and Senator Mégie for their work to promote contributions of people of African descent and showcasing them on the Hill. I would also like to thank Senator Meredith’s staff, Nicole Waldron, Raul Romero and Dwain Rattray, for the exceptional work they did in organizing the evening. Your hard work allowed for us to truly showcase our community. Finally, I would like to thank Senator Dean, Senator Dupuis, Senator Saint-Germain and Senator Wetston for their support. The events of the night truly captured the spirit of Black History Month. Kathy Jacob and Sarah Onoyo provided us with thoughtful words and the context and history and teaching us as they introduced each person who took the stage.

Last night, we were also able to hear from Senator Cools. I would like to recognize Senator Cools this year and her very long list of contributions to our country, including being the first Black senator, being an innovative social worker and ally, a leader in the fight against domestic violence and a mentor and adviser to students. Senator Cools, your experience is the Canadian experience and the Canadian story, and we truly benefit from having your voice here in this chamber. Senator Cools, thank you for your dedication and for your example.

Honourable senators, we were also able to enjoy music from local musicians, including Reverend R.J. McEwan and Ian Forts, both of whom showed us their beautiful creative talent and made our spirits soar through the music.

Finally, the night concluded with the words of Minister Ahmed Hussen, who congratulated us on how much we have accomplished and how much we still have to do.

Honourable senators, Canada, our home, flourishes as its entire people feel they are included. It is our responsibility as protectors of minorities in Canada to go forward from this month and every day to include and recognize our fellow Canadians.

Yesterday, as we celebrated Black History Month and remembered the lessons, struggles and accomplishments of the past, we were all also very proud to call Canada our home.