Skip to main content
News Article

Letter: Black History Month

In 1995, the Canadian House of Commons designated February as Black History Month. However, as a social work student and president of the Association des é internationaux de l’Université de Moncton, I find myself grappling with crucial questions about the current reality.

Before coming to Canada, I was unaware that there was a month dedicated to Black history. Further readings revealed that this recognition had several purposes, especially to emphasize the significant contributions of Black individuals to the growth of society. Nevertheless, I question the ability of everyone, especially the youth, to contribute.

Friends and acquaintances my age struggle to pursue their dream careers due to prejudices, discrimination, systemic racism, and other forms of economic injustice.

I am particularly concerned about the professional future of Black international students who come to Canada to study. Some recruited by Canadian institutions in their home countries end up in underpaid jobs predominantly occupied by women, such as caregiving occupations, creating a vicious cycle of financial insecurity.

Moreover, qualified students may find themselves overqualified due to unrecognized degrees from their home countries, forcing them into lower-skilled positions. This situation can be intensified by biases related to the country of study. Government data shows that racialized individuals have a high activity rate but face the highest unemployment rates and often hold underpaid and non-unionized positions, contributing to economic injustice.

Undoubtedly, Black individuals whether Canadian or international -contribute significantly to society as care workers, students, nurses, lawyers, professors etc. Let's strive to create a New Brunswick where everyone can thrive regardless of their skin color. Through collective action, let's build a more inclusive and equitable society.  We must also collaborate on adopting employment equity policies to combat biases in hiring and promotion, along with pay equity legislation to ensure fairness for all.

Jovial Orlachi Osundu
Social Word student, Université de Moncton