Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement commemorating Black History Month:
“During Black History Month, we honour people of African descent who have shaped British Columbia’s past and present.
“Black people were pioneers in this province — economic, cultural and spiritual leaders, renowned athletes, and they held pivotal roles in B.C.’s government.
“In 1858 James Douglas, born in Guyana to a Black mother and a Scottish father, became the first British governor of the united provinces of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
“Douglas set out to abolish slavery and welcomed 800 Black people to Vancouver Island from San Francisco, where they had faced violent discrimination.
“British Columbian Rosemary Brown became the first Black woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada in 1972, and Emery Barnes was the first Black person to be elected speaker in any Canadian province in 1994.
“The legacy of Black pioneers and contributions of many Black people throughout B.C. history have helped build this province.
“As we celebrate Black History Month, I encourage all British Columbians to participate in community events for Black History Month and learn about the role Black British Columbians have played, and continue to play, in our province.
“British Columbia’s history is Black history. When we gain greater knowledge of and respect for the stories of our past, we strengthen ourselves, our communities and our shared future.”