Savannah Thomas: “As I sat around the table listening to my Black friends talk about the importance of Emancipation Day, I couldn’t help but feel ignorant. Embarrassment flooded over me when I realized that as a Black woman I had no idea what this day meant and why it was so important to our community.”
August 1 is Emancipation Day, the celebration of the abolition of slavery in what is now Canada, the Caribbean, Britain, and South Africa in 1834. The day is celebrated in the Black community, but it is not an official holiday, as it should be. Human rights lawyer and activist Anthony N. Morgan wrote an imaginary letter to an employer requesting the day off (not to be used for real).
Nova Scotia Senator Wanda Bernard wants Canada to designate August 1 as Emancipation Day, to remember the formal abolition of slavery in the British colonies, to recognize the magnitude and immense evil of slavery but also the resilience of enslaved Africans, and to reflect on the enduring impact of slavery. On October 23 of last year, at Second Reading of her Bill S-255 Bernard explained why she feels so strongly about this. It’s a very good read.