History made with the Emancipation Day Act


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This article was published 09/11/2021 (570 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Though our return to the legislature this October may have been brief, my colleagues and I were able to achieve a lot for Manitobans in that short time.

We forced the government to withdraw five of their most unpopular bills — including Bill 64, held the government to account for the ongoing crisis their health-care cuts have caused and I’m proud to share that we were able to pass my first piece of legislation, Bill 232 – the Emancipation Day Act.

Bill 232 officially recognizes Aug. 1 of every year as Emancipation Day. It marks the day in 1834 that the Slavery Abolition Act took effect in Canada and across the British Empire — a significant step towards the end of slavery and the first of many steps in a long, arduous journey towards true equality for Black people in Canada. It is a journey that is still unfinished today.

Supplied photo St. Vital MLA Jamie Moses celebrates the unanimous passing of the Emancipation Day Act alongside Nadia Thompson (right), chair of Black History Manitoba and community activist and educator Segun Olude.

I put forward this bill on behalf of a strong and vibrant community of Black people in Manitoba, and I’m honoured to be the first Black man in Manitoba history to have a bill pass in my name. However, this would not have been possible without the support of so many incredible community partners, such as Black History Manitoba, whose office is located in St. Vital, and African Communities of Manitoba. I also want to thank my NDP caucus colleagues for their support; I am so proud to be part of a team that is committed to doing the hard work to dismantle racism in our society.

Black people in Manitoba have a long and proud history, and that history does not happen without freedom created by Emancipation. Emancipation Day is an opportunity to reflect on Black people’s journey to freedom and how much more work must be done to build a more equitable Manitoba.

My hope for the future is that Emancipation Day can be a moment to reflect on the contributions and achievements that Black Manitobans have had in our province’s history. It’s equally important to take this as an opportunity to educate ourselves and those around us, especially young people, about how to create a more inclusive and equitable future for our community here in St. Vital.

If you would like to learn more about Emancipation Day or need any assistance from my office, please feel free to email or call 204-219-5407. Best wishes and stay safe.

Jamie Moses

Jamie Moses
St. Vital constituency report

Jamie Moses is the NDP MLA for St. Vital.

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