QUEEN’S PARK – Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, released the following statement acknowledging Emancipation Month in Ontario:
“I am honoured to recognize the second annual Emancipation Month here in Ontario. This month is celebrated across Ontario thanks to a tri-party bill by Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, former MPP for Kitchener Centre and the Ontario NDP’s former Anti-Racism Critic.
In August 1834, African people were legally liberated from their enslavement across the Commonwealth, including on the land we now call Canada. Since 2022, Emancipation Month offers a dedicated period to commemorate this liberation and to reflect on Ontario’s own history surrounding slavery and the continued oppression of Black Ontarians today.
Despite emancipation taking place nearly 200 years ago, Black people across the province have yet to see their equality fully realized. To this day, they remain overrepresented in underpaid and overworked professions, especially the public care sector; and they experience disproportionate rates of homelessness, food insecurity, poverty, incarceration, and police violence.
This overrepresentation is not a mistake, but the result of policy decisions. Decisions that the Ford Conservatives continue to make.
Your Ontario NDP recognizes that emancipation is more than a word, a month, or even a single piece of legislation. It is hinged on policies that place equity at the centre. Policies that value people over profit, such as:
- investing in affordable housing and bringing in real rent control across Ontario,
- implementing new approaches to community safety that emphasize social services, crime reduction, and an end to the over policing of racialized people,
- respecting workers’ rights to fair pay and a collective agreement, particularly in fields such as personal support work, health care, and education where front-line labour is disproportionately carried out by racialized women,
- promoting racial equity in Ontario’s education system, and
- tearing down the unique barriers facing Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned small businesses.
Yet, even in the face of harmful, discriminatory policies – both direct and indirect – Black Ontarians continue to make great strides that make our province stronger.
From Black health care workers rising up in times of province-wide crisis, to Black workers and activists paving pathways for an intersectional labour movement, to the unparalleled contributions Black artists make to our province’s rich culture; Ontario is made better because of Black liberation.”