‘You’re always alone’: 4 takes on being black in British Columbia

Black History Month is February, but talks about racism and discrimination are always on the minds of black Canadians.

The CBC met up with four people who attended an anti-racism conference at Pinetree Secondary School in Coquitlam to talk about what it’s like being black in British Columbia. 

Provincial court Judge David St. Pierre, artist Khari Wendell McClelland, and high school students Roy Quaynor and Alexandra Mandewo share experiences of discrimination, but also highlight what they love about being black.

Watch the video in the player

While 3.5 per cent of Canadians identify as black according to Statistics Canada, the majority are in Ontario. In B.C., they make up one per cent of the population.

Black history month was officially recognized in Canada 25 years ago, when the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, Jean Augustine, introduced the motion in the House of Commons. It passed unanimously. 

It’s unclear when the celebration was declared in British Columbia, but the City of Vancouver passed a motion in 2011 designating Black History Month as a civic special event with funding.

This month, CBC.ca is bringing together stories from across the country about being black in Canada, you can find them all at cbc.ca/beingblackincanada