Unifor Black History Month Statement 2023

Main Image
Black youth vocalizing in the street with protesters in the background. He is wearing a black t-shirt that says, “I love my history, I love my culture, I love my people, I love me.”

As Unifor recognizes Black History Month, in 2023, our focus is empowering the next generation of Black youth.

As we reflect on Black history, Black accomplishments and the contributions of the many Black communities here in Canada and globally, we also reaffirm the collective work and collective responsibility we all have to continue to advocate to end Anti-Black racism in all institutions and society. We owe it to future generations. 

This year, our message is “Black History, Black Futures.” Our focus will be featuring Black youth and all they offer in our workplaces and to broader society through skills, talents, intelligence, innovation, creativity, determination and leadership.

Black youth have made it clear – we need to listen. Young people are leading the way into the future, making demands to address climate change, exposing environmental racism, calling for reform within governments, advocating for health care, lobbying for job security, highlighting the inequalities within workplaces, combating Anti-Black racism, and offering real solutions to world issues. They are the future of activism, informed by history and ready to voice their demands for equity and justice for themselves and other workers, for all people and for the planet.

The Canadian government first recognized Black History Month in December 1995 in the House of Commons, following a motion introduced by the Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine. 

As a progressive union Unifor is committed to more than statements and a month of solidarity. We must ensure physical and emotional health for all Black Canadians and continue to celebrate, appreciate and acknowledge Black communities across the country. 

Unifor membership, leadership and communities will celebrate Black History meaningfully. 

Below are tips to help celebrate Black History Month in a meaningful way

  1. Celebrate and acknowledge Black history throughout the year
  2. Celebrate Black history with everyone
  3. Center Black History celebrations around diversity, inclusion and equity commitments and practices
  4. If you don’t have diversity, inclusion and equity commitments and practices, create them
  5. Eliminating anti-Black ideology and methods in organizations
  6. Provide resources for Black businesses, culture centers, and community groups for everyone 
  7. Celebrate the present, not just the past
  8. Do your learning at your own pace

We also ask them to recognize Black Unifor members, not only in February, but each day of the year, support Black members in roles in all levels of the union, respect and value the contributions and views of Black members in order to combat anti-Black racism and to continue to remove barriers in institutions that prevent Black members from fully participating.

We need to ensure physical and emotional health for all Black Canadians and continue to celebrate, appreciate and acknowledge Black communities across the country.