Guest post by Stephanie Kallstrom, Case Planner, FIRST UNITED

On this day of January 14th, 2022 (on January 15th each year or on the preceding Friday if it falls on a weekend or holiday) marks the first year that the province of British Columbia has proclaimed ‘Black Excellence Day’!

It is to celebrate the outstanding and unique contributions of the Black communities within BC. Black communities and people of African decent have been an integral part of the province since 1858, by shaping culture, politics, social success, and economics. It is also the lead up to Black History month and the celebration of the birth of the great civil rights leader Marth Luther King Jr. The term ‘Black Excellence’ was born out of the 1960s civil rights movement and is often now used in pop culture.

There is a long history and list of outstanding Black British Columbias, such as Emery Barns, Rosemary Brown, Eleanor Collins, and Harry Jerome among others. ‘Black Excellence Day’ is a day to celebrate and recognize the greatness and inspiring Black people of our history, present and our communities. There are writers, athletes, leaders, scientists, advocates, teachers, and everyday Black Canadians that continue to make our community stronger, knowledgeable, and growing for centuries to come.

At the same time our community recognizes that we continue to disproportionately face barriers because of systemic racism and discrimination. Anti-racism and equity focused work are foundational to all governments to ensure to build trust with our community as well as inclusivity. It’s critical that they hear our voices and create a working partnership with us as they move forward and collect race-based data. The issue of racism will not be solved by these actions above, nor by the day of ‘Black Excellence’ but, it is a reminder to celebrate Black people, be anti racist and call out anti-black racism.

From all of us at FIRST UNITED, happy Black Excellence Day!

Happy Black Excellence Day!

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