Happy Black History Month!
February commemorates Black History Month; a time where we seek to recognize, celebrate, and amplify the voices of Black Canadians. Today, and every day, we recognize the powerful words of Black Canadian authors who have provided insight into both the struggles and triumphs of their community, through the power of words and literary imagery.
We also recognize that these communities have been speaking out for decades about how Black people experience anti-Black racism in Canada. It’s time to listen: racism is not up for debate – it is deeply entrenched in the systems and structures in the Canada of today.
We invite you to check out Amnesty Canada’s Book Club resource guide below on ways you can celebrate Black History today and beyond.
Check out our Discussion Guides:
Further reading and events
Available now in Canada! Beatrice and Croc Harry by Lawrence Hill
Beatrice and Croc Harry is a novel for children and adults about a young girl who awakens alone with amnesia in a massive forest, where every conceivable fish, bird, mammal and reptile coexist. She has no idea who she is. She doesn’t even know her last name, or that she is Black.
Beatrice forms a tempestuous friendship with a natural predator — a 700-pound, fast-talking crocodile named Harry. Perhaps he can help assemble her lost identity. Together, they embark on a journey that they hope will lead Beatrice home, even though she doesn’t know what or where home is.
Using playful language and a comic touch, the novel explores themes of identity, the courage to confront injustice, and the possibility that perpetrators of injustice and those who have been harmed might find themselves in a place of healing and respect.
More information on Beatrice and Croc Harry found here: https://www.lawrencehill.com/beatrice-and-croc-harry
Grab a copy and download the discussion guide, available on Lawrence’s website: https://www.lawrencehill.com/resources
Black Canadians Leading Change: Sharing, Bridging, and Celebrating Black History Month
WHEN: February 23rd 2022 @ 7:00 – 8:30 PM EST
WHERE: Zoom, Register here to receive your link to join
WHO: Join Amnesty International Canada’s Secretary General Ketty Nivyabandi in conversation with three prominent Black Canadian activists.
Prior to the panel, the audience will hear an original poem written for Amnesty International by Toronto artist, curator, arts educator, creative consultant, and community advocate, Paulina O’Kieffe-Anthony.
- Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) –https://bmrc-irmu.info.yorku.ca/debbie-douglas/
- Jewel Amoah, Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) – https://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/meet-our-commissioners/profile-commissioner-jewel-amoah
- Rhonelle Bruder – PhD student & Founder and Executive Director of Project iRISE, a Toronto-based nonprofit organization that offers innovative skills and leadership development programs for survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence and those at risk. – https://www.rhonellebruder.com/.
In this book club, not only do we feature excellent Canadian literature, but we aim to connect the fictional and the real lives and experiences of our authors and their characters to larger human rights work happening in our world today. Along with discussion questions, our guides also provide more insight and background on the issue as well as an action for you to add your voice.
This month’s selection features the call on Canada’s Premiers to empower communities and end the systemic racism within Canada’s justice system. Amnesty International unequivocally supports frontline groups and activists in communities across the country who work courageously and tirelessly to expose that systemic racism and demand justice for the growing number of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour who have been wrongly arrested, mistreated or killed by police across Canada.
Communities have told officials what they need, and it isn’t more enforcement.