January News Briefs
Celesta Maniatogianni

Canada Post Honours Abolitionist and Journalist Mary Ann Shadd on a New 2024 Stamp

On January 23, Canada Post unveiled one of the stamps featured in their 2024 lineup in observance of Black History Month. The new stamp honours Mary Ann Shadd, Canada’s first female publisher, and North America’s first Black female publisher.

Mary Ann Shadd, born in 1823, is one of Canada’s most significant figures in the anti-slavery movement and a trailblazer for Canada’s Black community. An activist, lawyer, educator, and journalist, Mary Ann Shadd advocated for the rights and education of Black people in Canada, as well as for the rights of women. 

Some of her most significant achievements include founding The Provincial Freeman, making it the first newspaper in North America to be published and edited by a Black woman, and opening a racially integrated school while people of colour were still barred from public education. 

Today, January 29, the stamps will be available for purchase online and at local post offices.

2023 Emmys Ties Record for Most Awards Presented to BIPOC Actors

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, held on January 15, tied their record for the most winning actors of colour with five of the 12 acting Emmys being presented to people of colour—a record first set back in 1991. 

The first two awards of the night were presented to The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, which marked the first time both awards went out to Black women in the same year. 

Niecy Nash-Betts received the Outstanding Supporting Actress award in a Limited Series for her role in Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. 

The last two awards of the night, Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Limited Series, were awarded to Steven Yuen and Ali Wong for their roles in Beef, officially tying the 1991 record for most awards presented to BIPOC actors at the Emmys.

Youngest Son of Martin Luther King Jr dies at 62

Dexter Scott King, an activist, attorney, author, and son of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., died on January 22 at the age of 62 after battling prostate cancer. 

Dexter was the youngest son of Martin Luther King Jr. and is best remembered for his efforts to legally protect his family’s legacy and intellectual property.

He served as a chairman for The King Centre of Nonviolent Social Change, a non-profit started by his mother following his father’s death. In addition to his civil rights activism, he was also an outspoken activist for animal rights.

In a public statement on X, King’s oldest son, Martin Luther King III wrote, “The sudden shock is devastating. It is hard to have the right words at a moment like this. We ask for your prayers at this time for the entire King family.”  

Puerto Rico Legislators Debate a Bill Aiming to Ban Hair Discrimination 

Legislators in Puerto Rico have opened a public debate on a bill which would explicitly ban discrimination based on hair, an issue that predominantly affects the island’s Afro-Caribbean population. Discrimination against hairstyles such as cornrows, Afros, braids, dreadlocks, and Bantu knots would be prohibited by the bill.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, around 575,000 people in Puerto Rico identify as Black either exclusively or in combination with another ethnicity. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory with a total population of 3.2 million. 

Some Puerto Rican government officials have argued that discrimination is already prohibited by the Island’s laws and constitution. However, protection from discrimination based on hair is not explicitly mentioned. 

Debate around this bill is expected to continue in the upcoming weeks. 


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