The Honourable Jean Agustine

The Honourable Jean Agustine

Thursday, February 2, 2023

"Being the first Black feels good, yes, but more than that, it says to others and to ourselves that Blacks can be in every place in society." The Honourable Jean Augustine gave that quote to the Globe and Mail in 2002, right after she was appointed Canada's Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, making her the first Black woman in Cabinet. She would go onto achieve a few more firsts, including becoming the first Black woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons, where she pushed forward a motion to acknowledge February as Black History Month.

Augustine is a big reason we have a month dedicated to celebrating Black history in this country at all. She’s built her career on not only being the first but uplifting the Black community so there could be a second, a third, and so on. She hasn’t just climbed the ladder, she’s sent it back down so others could climb, too.

She’s retired from politics now, but as an immigrant who was raised by her grandmother, Augustine supports multiple scholarship funds that assist single mothers with their post-secondary education. Two schools in the GTA have been named in her honour. In 2009, she was made a member of the order of Canada for her distinguished career as an educator, political and advocate for social justice in Canada. On her 80th birthday she raised money for education for marginalized youths. Talk about No days Off. source refinery29

No comments yet