FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Claire Roussel-Sullivan, chairperson of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, to mark Black History Month:

Our province has the second largest Black population in the Atlantic provinces, and the majority of Black people living in New Brunswick were born here in Canada. However, recent data from Statistics Canada indicate that there are major gaps between Black people and the rest of the adult population when it comes to employment and remuneration. These have even grown over time, although the average education level of Black people has increased.

These data show us that even during hard economic times, Black New Brunswickers are more affected than others, and we need to direct some attention to this with some concrete action.

Let us take advantage of Black History Month to get involved in various ways:

  • let us recognize and appreciate the contribution of Black people to the economic sector and to our communities;
  • let us act now to remove the barriers created by preconceived ideas and to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance from the workplace, services, and housing;
  • let us create a fair and inclusive future, which promotes diversity and gives everyone an equal chance;
  • let us participate in the expansion of our business culture, by including multicultural networking and the important contribution made by this diversity; and
  • let us educate ourselves and expand our knowledge, leading to a true consciousness of the advantages of cultural diversity in our province.

Black History Month is an opportunity for each of us to develop a spirit of recognition, justice and development by consulting the many resources made available to us by various organizations and to participate in the activities organized in the province while following Public Health guidelines.

Black History Month has been celebrated for 25 years, since the House of Commons declared, in 1996, that February would be Black History Month across Canada. This month also falls within the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed in 2015 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, in a spirit of recognition, justice, and development.