On August 1 in 1834, the British Empire abolished slavery. New Brunswick, just like the rest of Canada, is commemorating this day. In Fredericton, several Black-led organizations will gather to celebrate this day.
Husoni Raymond, a Jamaican Canadian and an organizer with Black Lives Matter Fredericton, said that “it’s about time” for Canada to celebrate this day nationwide. On August 1, the British Empire abolished slavery and liberated over 800,000 enslaved people all across the world.
Raymond said that the Black Lives Matter movement contributed to Emancipation day being recognized all over Canada.
“I think now Canada is finally coming to terms with its legacy of exploitation of Black people. So this is the first step in actually making people aware that slavery existed here in Canada, in New Brunswick, and what Emancipation Day represents for people of African descent, particularly those who are descendants of formerly enslaved people.”
For him, August 1 represents freedom and liberation for Black people.
He concluded that, although things are moving forward slowly, there is still work to be done.
“I mean, it was only 75 years ago that Viola Desmond couldn’t even sit in the white-only section of the movie theatre. So we still have the legacy of slavery and colonialism that impacts the lived experiences of Black people living in Canada.”