Emancipation Day 2022

full bike rack

London Street footbridge with a blue and pink sky at sunset

Emancipation Day is marked on August 1 in Canada. This day brings awareness to the history of the enslavement of Black and Indigenous Peoples on these lands, and is an opportunity to recognize the strength and perseverance of Black communities in Canada and those who fought enslavement, which helped to shape today’s diverse society.

On March 24, 2021, the House of Commons voted unanimously to officially designate August 1 as Emancipation Day each year. It marks the actual day in 1834 that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into effect in Britain and its settler-colonial nation states around the world, including the colonies that would become Canada.

The City of Peterborough’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Reem Ali will host Emancipation Day: Challenging Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination, a conversation with Councillor Kemi Akapo, on Friday, July 29 at 10 a.m. Visit the City of Peterborough’s Instagram account @cityptbo to join.

“August 1st – now known as Emancipation day – marks 188 years since Britain's Parliament voted to abolish slavery across its empire. What was the significance of this event?” said Councillor Akapo. “How has Canada changed since that time? What work is there left to do? How do I, as a Black woman experience life here in Canada? I look forward to discussing these and other topics with Ms. Ali on Friday, July 29."

"Ending anti-black racism and discrimination is not a one-time project. It is work that requires ongoing efforts to address systemic barriers, challenge existing biases, and reimagine our collective culture,” said Reem Ali. “We must take a deeper look into how Black people are navigating their belonging in this community through oppression and opportunity, and I will be doing that with Councillor Akapo at this Friday's Instagram Live conversation."

A recording of the conversation will be available on the City’s Instagram account following the live event.

This August 1, Ali invites the community to reflect, educate and engage in the ongoing fight against anti-Black racism and discrimination. While we celebrate the strength and perseverance of Black communities in Canada, we must also acknowledge the history of slavery and systemic anti-Black racism that continues to perpetuate the barriers faced by Black individuals and communities today.

This Emancipation Day:

  • Call out systemic anti-Black racism and discrimination;
  • Attend local events celebrating Black communities, both this weekend and throughout the year;
  • Use your social position to centre and amplify Black voices;
  • Support individuals and organizations fighting anti-Blackness;
  • Educate yourself about the racist treatment of Black people in Canada and across the world, including Canadian Heritage’s online resource about Emancipation Day [https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/emancipation-day.html]

Local events taking place on or around Emancipation Day:

Freedom Cabaret - The Spirit and Legacy of Black Music on Tuesday, August 2 at Peterborough Square courtyard (entrance at Charlotte Street and Water Street). Poet and community organizer Niambi from Black Lives Matter Nogojiwanong will be kicking off this evening of music, dancing, poetry, and celebration of community at 6:30 p.m. Beau Dixon and crew will be on at 7 pm. Admission is free.

City Hall will be illuminated in red, yellow and green starting at dusk on August 1 in recognition of Emancipation Day.