Canada doesn’t have June Festival celebrations-we don’t need it either
After the murder of George Floyd was captured last summer and spread across the world, many white communities found themselves trapped in what can best be defined as Great White Awakens.
Before Freud was killed, Brenna Taylor, Ahmed Abery and many other black victims also lost their lives in 2020 in state-sponsored violence. But the 8-minute 46-second video of Freud’s death became a catalyst for the flood of corporate and political anti-racism manifesto.
The actual follow-up to these statements is mainly Inconsistent, But organizations and governments are still trying to find ways to attract black communities. In North America, a public aspect of outreach activities is the establishment of federal holidays to commemorate important dates in national (black) history.
On June 17, US President Joe Biden sign The June National Independence Day Act became law, turning June 19 into a federal holiday. This date is of great significance to African Americans, because June 19, 1865 marked the last enslaved blacks in Galveston, Texas, realizing that according to President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, They are free.
A few months ago in Canada, members of the House of Commons voted for recognize August 1 is the National Liberation Day to commemorate August 1, 1834, the day when slavery was officially abolished in the British Empire.
Although these two federal declarations may look very similar, the reality is that they are actually quite different. June Festival is not Liberation Day, nor is Liberation Day.
Not only did the black Canadian community not celebrate June Festival, nor did black Canadians.
Celebration of black leaders
Although the June Festival is an event with a history of 155 years, it can be traced back to the original celebration On June 19, 1866, newly released black men and women Gallup Investigation It was found that 68% of white American adults either “know a little” or “not at all” about Juneteenth.
The reason is that June Festival has always been a tradition of black leaders, black organizations and black celebrations that originated throughout the South during the reconstruction period.
“June 1 is our July 4,” Shanita Hubbard, an American writer and journalism lecturer at the University of Toronto, told CBC. “We really don’t need the federal government to recognize it to make it legal. We legalize it ourselves.”
Although slavery is banned on the surface, it is actually enshrined in the U.S. Constitution through a clause in the Constitution. Article 13 Amendment, Which pointed out that slavery can still exist as punishment for crimes, which opened the door to mass imprisonment. However, the celebration of June Festival continues.
When white citizens and political organizations united to destroy all the political and social progress that blacks had achieved by establishing a racial hierarchy known as Jim Crow, blacks continued this tradition.
Although violence from white family terrorist organizations, such as White Citizenship Council The Ku Klux Klan became so bad that it caused the great migration of African Americans to move around the United States, and the blacks continued this tradition in their new places.
As the historian Isabel Wilkerson wrote Other sun’s warmth, “Texans went to Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle and other places they’ve been on June Day.”
Although black people, like the rest of the United States, may have to go to work on June 19 during the past 154 celebrations, the importance of this date has been deeply rooted in the African American community due to their perseverance. .
A different Canadian experience
For many reasons, the history of the black community in Canada is different from the black heritage in the United States.in spite of less Statistics Canada reports that more than 10% of black Americans collectively were born in foreign countries less More than 10% of black Canadians were also born to parents in Canada (compared to 58.4% of the Canadian population).
As of 2016, about half of the black population in Canada has been recognized as immigrants, and the most black immigrants were from 2001 to 2010. These black immigrants mainly come from countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria and Ethiopia, which have their own unique cultures, beliefs and traditions. This does not in any way make the experience of black Canadians less than that of African Americans, but it does make a difference.
Although Canada has a rich black history community Nova Scotia, Owen Sound, Ontario, with Salt Spring Island, We also have a young and developing black community, made up of first and second generation Canadians and their immigrant elders, who are establishing what Canadian black identity means to them.
Bee Quammie, who was born in London, Ontario, said: “When I think of Liberation Day, my mind automatically thinks of the Caribbean, because my parents’ hometown of Jamaica is also one of the islands commemorating the day of August 1. Writer, Orator and educator. She continued to tell CBC, “I didn’t know that Canada had a Liberation Day until I was an adult. “
Today, black Canadians either blindly equate their hundreds of years of experience in this country with the experience of descendants of American slavery, or compare their current cultural norms with those of African Americans. For so many black Canadians in the latter group, it is difficult to determine our origin while trying to distinguish our black identities.
At this moment, it is more important to recognize our unique and evolving identity than to be indifferent to our southern neighbors.
If the federal government really wants to help the Canadian black community, it must give priority to supporting our new organic cultural celebrations.For example, for many black people in Ontario, this looks like Caribbean SeaThe Caribbean-style street festival, founded in Toronto in 1967, has now become a huge black cultural tradition in the province.
In fact, eliminate For many black people in Ontario, the proliferation of police and cage-like fences in demonstrations will be a more important act than setting August 1st as Liberation Day.
It is important to understand the similarities of prejudices that exist among black diasporas around the world. However, it is equally important to understand the nuances that define our particular ethnic and racial experience.
Canadian citizens, organizations, and political institutions must avoid trying to confuse the experience of African Americans with the experience of black Canadians.
Liberation Day is not a June celebration in Canada, like Viola Desmond Rosa Parks, not Canada. The black community in Canada does not need the same burdens as African Americans. What we need is space and support to develop our own heritage in this country.
For more stories about the experience of black Canadians—from anti-black racism to success stories in black communities—check out Black Canadians, a CBC project that Canadian blacks can be proud of. You can read more stories here.