OASW Celebrates Emancipation Day

August 1, 2023

Since the abolition of slavery in 1834, and officially recognized since 2021, August 1st has marked Emancipation Day. Beginning in the 1400s, Black and Indigenous lives were enslaved on this land. Today, we remember the lives that were destroyed through slavery and Canada’s active participation in the transatlantic slave trade and the multigenerational effects of this trauma, and oppressive systems, which remain today. 

As we collectively recognize and reflect on this truth, we must also commit to dismantling racism and oppression in all their forms. Equally important is the recognition and celebration of Black communities including students, families, staff and leaders. Despite the legacy of slavery, we have seen longstanding contributions and achievements from Black Canadians in social work, engineering, art, storytelling, science, activism, innovation and much more. 

Recognizing and celebrating Black excellence is particularly important as we approach the end of the International Decade for People of African Descent. Though the Decade will end next year, OASW commits to ongoing celebration and promotion of Black excellence and to developing and delivering resources that aid our members in recognizing and disrupting anti-Black racism. We recommend that all members review the joint report from the Association of Black Social Workers and the Canadian Association of Social Workers on Reparations for Social Workers of African Descent and learn more about the positive influences of Black Canadians. 

Celebrate, Learn, Reflect and Act:

About OASW
OASW is the voice of social work in Ontario. It is a voluntary, bilingual, non-profit association representing more than 8,500 social workers. All members have a university degree in social work at the bachelor, master or doctoral level. OASW works to actively speak on behalf of social workers on issues of interest to the profession and advocates for the improvement of social policies and programs directly affecting social work practice and client groups served.