As we celebrate Black History Month, we at Cooperation Canada renew our commitment to key principles at the heart of our work: inclusion, equity and decolonization. We recognize that building an equitable world begins with understanding, respect and solidarity. We are excited to launch initiatives throughout the month of February to honour the diverse contributions of the Black community to Canadian international cooperation while continuing efforts to dismantle systems of oppression. 

With a membership of over 100 Canadian international development and humanitarian organizations, Cooperation Canada believes that as a sector we must take concrete steps to address the legacy of racial prejudice and colonialism in international cooperation. We encourage all those interested and involved in international cooperation to be inspired and guided by the Anti-Racism Framework for Canada’s International Cooperation Sector. 

To mark Black History Month this year, we are launching a digital campaign to highlight the remarkable change-makers, innovators and disruptors shaping Canada’s international cooperation. The campaign will celebrate and recognize the impact of the Black community in our sector. 

In 2024, Cooperation Canada will also release its Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice Strategy and Action Plan. After nearly two years of commitment and engagement from the Cooperation Canada Board and team, along with some expert help, the new strategy aims to strengthen anti-racism in the implementation of internal organizational practices and the broad work of the organization. 

Cooperation Canada will also continue discussions with its members to revise its Code of Ethics, bearing in mind that decolonization and anti-racism are practices that require personal and organizational commitment and effort. 

While we will be allocating time for our team to reflect on the historical violence, systemic injustices and the resilience of African, Caribbean and Black communities, we recognize that these reflections and commitments must extend beyond Black History Month. We look forward to continuing our efforts towards decolonization, dismantling structures of oppression, championing equity and amplifying marginalized voices long after February.