Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit raises flag for Emancipation month

A flag waving in the wind with the blue sky a large building in the background.
The Pan-African flag was raised at Mel Lastman Square this week to officially launch Emancipation month. Photo by Daniel Centeno/CJRU.
Daniel Centeno - CJRU - TorontoON | 05-08-2022
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The City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit celebrated a flag raising ceremony for Emancipation month this week. 

This follows the commemoration of Empancipation Day on Aug. 1. The month commemorates the beginning of ending slavery across the British Empire in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Carribean in 1884. 

The ceremony included speeches from deputy mayor Michael Thompson and Professor Akwatu Khenti, director of the unit. 

A musical performance from the Kambi Ya Watoto youth camp concluded the ceremony. 

A group of people lined up for a photo. They are standing on green grass outdoors.

Deputy mayor Michael Thompson standing with organizers of the ceremony at Mel Lastman Square. Photo by Daniel Centeno/CJRU.

Professor Khenti emphasized the fight for freedom for Black slaves, especially as the process went beyond the abolishment of slavery by the British Empire 

"Emancipation was not a gift for Black people," said Khenti. He said it was misconceived as given, rather than fought for in the 19th and 20 centuries.

He also highlights the importance of efforts today to secure this freedom - this includes Toronto’s inclusion of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and seeking collaborations with community organizations 

CJRU had the opportunity to speak with deputy mayor Thompson, who reflected on the importance of Emancipation month and the need for continued action in the present.  

"For me, it is really important in term of the recognition and the challenges that Blacks have experienced over the years, 400 years plus," said Thompson. "Today it still continues and so on, and I think it is so important to ensure that all of us recognize we have a role in the success and eradication of racism and discrimination right across the board."

Several events are slated for this month for the Emancipation month commemoration. 

This will include more from the city, as well as from other community organizations like Blackhurst, who held an Emancipation day march across the downtown core on Aug. 1.  

Listen to CJRU's ceremony coverage: