Marking the victories and struggles of Black workers in Canada

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The Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC), alongside the Canadian labour movement, celebrates February 2015 as Black History Month.

Black History Month began in the United States as "Negro History Week" in February 1926 through the work of African-American scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. 

The Canadian Negro Women's Club began celebrating the importance of the contributions of African-Canadians in the 1950s. Toronto became the first municipality to mark Black History Month following successful lobbying efforts by the Ontario Black Historical Society. The House of Commons officially recognized Black History Month across Canada in 1995.

This February, we celebrate our ancestors, past and present human rights community, and labour activists' victories and contributions to Canadian society -- but these didn't come without ongoing struggles and obstacles to equity, particularly around racism and discrimination both hidden and overt.

CURC commends and supports the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists' mandate to work within the framework of the labour movement to advocate for Black trade unionists and create a vehicle for advancing the full inclusion of workers of African descent in the workplace and society as a whole.

It is alarmingly evident that many workers, particularly people of colour and Aboriginal peoples with little economic power, face marginalization and exploitation by those who tout power and privilege (the 1%). 

We remain steadfast in fulfilling the "I have A Dream" wishes, where our sisters and brothers of African descent can live with the utmost respect and dignity deserving to a people who helped build this country and the labour movement. Black Lives Matter.

Retiree Matters is a monthly column written by members of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) that explores issues relevant to retirees, senior citizens, their families and their communities. CURC acts as an advocacy organization to ensure that the concerns of union retirees and senior citizens are heard throughout Canada.

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