Minister of National Defence marks Black History Month 2022

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today in recognition of Black History Month:
“I am honoured to recognize this year’s Black History Month, and the legacies, achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation it is today.
“Black History Month has been commemorated since 1926, and in 1995 the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month was adopted by Parliament. Given this year’s theme is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day, I invite everyone to learn more about Black history in Canada and the contributions that Black Canadians and communities have made to all sectors of society, including the military.
“Whether on domestic or international operations, in times of peace and in times of conflict, Black Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members have brought their unique perspectives and lived experiences to military service. Today, Black sailors, soldiers, aviators and public service employees continue to make strong contributions to the Defence Team in innumerable ways. As Minister of National Defence, I am proud to recognize their service and I encourage everyone to do the same – not only in February, but year-round.
“While we engage in Black History Month events and celebrations, it’s important to also recognize that Black History Month is a call for Canadians to acknowledge our past, work to eliminate present-day barriers, and build a brighter future together through inclusion and respect. It is in this spirit that I will make an apology for the racism and discrimination experienced by members of Canada’s only Black military unit, the No. 2 Construction Battalion. A commemoration event will take place this summer, following meaningful consultation with descendants and community members.
“I know that more needs to be done to build an organization where all feel welcome and valued, and where diversity is fully embraced. I look forward to continuing to work with the Deputy Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Defence Team Black Employee Network towards creating a more inclusive, representative and welcoming organization for our Black members and employees so that Canadians from all communities might see themselves, and the values that they hold dear, reflected in us.”

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