February is Black History Month

February is Black History Month. SEIU Healthcare’s Human Rights Committee is proudly celebrating the diversity of our membership by hosting an evening of education and fun. Open to all members, this event aims at showcasing a few trailblazers in the black community as well as giving us a tour of historic moments across the globe.

Date: Saturday, February 28, 2015
Place: SEIU Healthcare Head Office - 125 Mural Street, Richmond Hill
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm (Refreshments will be available)
This event is free! Members can bring a maximum of one guest. To register please contact the Member Resource Centre at 1-877-672-7348.

Deadline for registration is February 19.

Here’s just a few of the pioneers who have helped lead the way for equality and fairness in Canada:

Lynn Jones

Lynn Jones

Lynn Jones is a labour activist who grew up in Truro, Nova Scotia. From the time she was a child, she struggled against racism and segregation. She protested against the Vietnam War in university, and advocated for better access to post-secondary education for Black and Aboriginal students. Jones became a strong labour activist with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and then became the first woman of colour to be elected Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Lincoln Alexander


Lincoln MacCauley Alexander was a Canadian politician and statesman who served as a Member of Parliament and as the federal Minster of Labour. He later became the first black Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Alexander fought for Canada in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. In 1968 he became the first black Member of Parliament in Canada as Progressive Conservative MP for Hamilton West Electoral District. Alexander held that seat for 4 consecutive terms until stepping down in 1980. He was born in Toronto in 1922 and died in Hamilton, Ontario in 2012.

Mary Ann Shadd

Mary Ann Shadd was an activist who followed in the footsteps of her parents, who were part of the Underground Railroad. Mary Ann, whose family settled in Windsor, Ontario, had written education booklets outlining the advantages of Canada for settlers willing to work, and the need for living within one’s means. She opened up an integrated school in Windsor for those who could attend. She then moved to St. Catharines, and next Toronto, where she met and married widower Thomas Cary. Later on she created the Provincial Freeman newspaper, becoming the first black woman in North America to publish a newspaper. She then became the only woman to attend the First Convention of Colored Freemen, held outside of the US, and worked as a recruitment agent to support the Union side during the American Civil War.

Black Cross Nurses

Black women, although denied participation in Canada’s war effort in WWI, formed the Black Cross nurses, modeled on the Red Cross, to aid wounded soldiers. They also worked in the Black community by providing medical aid, such as first aid, nutrition, health care, and child care. Black women also worked in other ways to support Canada in the war, including working in ammunition factories making the weapons for the men to use in the war. They were given the most dangerous jobs: working with explosives, and so forth.


Questions? Need help?