Coloured people on Canadian currency, Part: 1

I don’t love carrying cash. But today I’m making an exception.

That’s because there’s a black woman on this money.

Her name is Viola Desmond. She was arrested after she refused to leave the “whites only” section of a Halifax theatre.

I never imagined I’d see a black woman on Canadian currency. But there she was staring at me after I bought a coffee in downtown Brampton.

I didn’t cry. But I did notice. It says something — but not everything — about a country that can acknowledge its mistakes. It doesn’t erase anything. But it’s a start. Especially if we want to write a better future.

I hope the next black person on our currency isn’t there because they stood up against prejudice. We’ve contributed to this culture.

  • Lawrence Hill
  • Lincoln Alexander
  • No. 2 Construction Battalion
  • Michael Lee Chin
  • Rosemary Brown
  • Carrie Best

And all the rest of us.

I don’t know how long that’s going to take. But I can wait.

Until then I’m not going to spend Viola.

And I’ll share Viola’s story with my daughter. Maybe she can find her way to our currency.

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