Over twenty-five years ago, the Honourable Jean Augustine, then the MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, introduced a motion to the House of Commons to officially designate February as Black History Month in Canada.
This month marks a time when all Canadians come together to celebrate the legacy of Black Canadians and the key part they play in our country’s heritage and society. It’s a time of learning, celebration and growth.
Unfortunately, it is also a stark reminder that systemic discrimination still looms large in our country, and one way it manifests is through food insecurity. Nationwide, 28.4% of Black households are food insecure, compared with 10% of white households (PROOF, FoodShare). People who identify as Black continue to be overrepresented among those who access food banks — 10% of the city’s population identifies as Black, compared to 18% of food bank clients. Even more concerning is that this proportion seems to be growing, as only 14% of Toronto food bank users identified as Black in 2021 (Who’s Hungry 2022 report).
As we work to end food insecurity and build a more just and inclusive city, we must look to transform our institutions through anti-racism and anti-oppression practices. This includes the reallocation of resources to community-centered responses and networks, particularly within Black communities.
This year’s theme for Black History Month is “Ours to tell,” representing a call to action to engage, listen and learn more about the deeply impactful stories of Black communities in Canada, to celebrate and honour legacies, triumphs and sacrifices.
We encourage you to make this commitment today. Below is a list of books and events to get started!
Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Book of Negros
Author: Lawrence Hill*
The Skin We’re In
Author: Desmond Cole*
The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Punching the Air
Authors: Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
Events in the GTA
Toronto Black Film Festival
Black History Month Market
Everbloom Music Festival
The Black Diamond Ball