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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

New Brunswickers celebrate first provincial Emancipation Day – New Brunswick

More than 50 people showed up to mark New Brunswick’s first official Emancipation Day in Saint John.

On Aug. 1, 1834, the British Parliament outlawed the owning, buying and selling of humans as property throughout its colonies. The historic act freed about 800,000 enslaved people of African descent across the colonies.

The Canadian government proclaimed Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day after two unanimous votes by the House of Commons and the Senate in the spring of 2021.

New Brunswick observed it last year, and officially declared the day in June 2022.

Read more:

March held in Fredericton to mark first-ever Emancipation Day

Monday’s event at Saint John City Market was organized by Black Lives Matter New Brunswick. Executive director Matthew Martin said he knew it was only a matter of time before they could have a celebration like this.

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“Looking at our history, we have to take small steps when acknowledging our past, and recognizing Emancipation Day is just another small step.”

Martin said there is still a lot of work to be done.

“The chains that used to confine my ancestors may have been removed, but they have been transformed into policies and procedures that put myself and our fellow Black community members at a disadvantage.”

Read more:

‘Freedom is a birthright’ — Nova Scotia marks Emancipation Day

Community leaders and elected officials gathered to observe the day, including MP Wayne Long, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn.

Dunn said moving the motion for recognition of Emancipation Day was the highlight of her career.

She said while she wants to acknowledge the achievements against anti-Black racism, there are still racist attitudes that prevail.

“While we do focus on the positive, I would say again, we cannot ignore the dehumanizing history that so many people endured simply because of the colour of their skin,” Dunn said.

Read more:

New Brunswick chiefs release report, continue call for inquiry into systemic racism

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“Racism has damaged the lives and obliterated the dreams of many people.

“Minorities, as you know, and ethnic oppressed groups continue to struggle for equal access and opportunity to gain access to many of the things that white people take for granted.”

More to come.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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