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Black History Month: Celebrating Black health and wellbeing as we look back and ahead

Text graphic reads: Black History Month 2020 - Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past

February is Black History Month, and the Alliance will be spending time over the next four weeks looking back, ahead and celebrating Black Canadians' resilience and survival through slavery, colonization and racism while creating strong, vibrant communities. We'll celebrate Black leadership in Ontario's health system, and some of the innovations communities have built to combat inequity and systemic racism. And we'll also look ahead to what still needs to be done, and what the future could hold.

Later this week, we'll start by taking a hard look at why collecting race-based data in health care is an essential step to moving forward with health equity for Black populations in Ontario.

We will follow that next week by looking back, including at the history of slavery and racism in Canada, but also at recent efforts to decolonize and combat systemic racism;

In week 3, we will put the spotlight on Black ways of knowing and being and innovations made by community leaders in Black health and wellbeing;

And in the final week of February, we'll spend some time looking ahead to the work that still needs to be done, and great work that deserves to be spread.

You'll want to keep an eye on the Alliance's Twitter account, where we will be sharing plenty of articles, stories and resources about Black health over the course of the month.

Here are a few reads and resources to get things started:

Diversity of the Black population in Canada: An overview is Statistics Canada's 2019 report on Black Canadians' demographics.

Learn and Participate: United Nations Decade for People of African Descent is an overview of the UN General Assembly's recognition of 2015-2024 as 10 years to focus on recognition, justice and development for Black populations worldwide.

The Broadbent Institute is continuing its series this year which gathers essays by Black policy leaders in Canada across a range of disciplines to provide ideas and direction for where the country needs to head to tackle anti-Black racism (scroll down from 2019 to see first 2020 entry on food security).

There's a Gaping Hole in Our Democracy is Canadian Senator Donald Oliver's call for more leadership at the highest levels of Canadian government decision-making, including the court system.

Eradicating Structural Racism for Black Canadians is a short essay highlighting some of the achievements of the last few years to advance initiatives in support of Black communities across the country.

Black Experiences in Health Care: Symposium Report (2017) - surfaced many of the issues Black people face in the health system, with calls to action for providers and decision-makers (new report coming later in 2020).