"What does freedom mean to you right now? Because freedom is always changing. It's constantly evolving. I believe that we should never take our freedoms for granted and always be aware of our struggles to get here,” says Ngozi Paul.
August 1st marks the end of legal slavery in Canada since 1834. This is important because the Slavery Abolition Act not only affected the lives of those enslaved but also their descendants. Emancipation Day is also a vital first step in recognizing the hardships of Black Canadians who continued to be enslaved under the label of "apprenticeship." It took another four years before they fully achieved freedom from bondage on August 1, 1838.
“Freedom is something that everyone should value and that’s what Emancipation Day is all about, the beginning of freedom,” says Rosemary Sadlier, the woman who spearheaded the effort to get the Government of Canada to officially recognize Black History Month (recognized nationally in 1995) and Emancipation Day (recognized nationally in 2021).