Put Viola Desmond on Canadian Currency
Earlier this week, CBC announced that Canadian civil rights hero Viola Desmond is one of twelve Canadian women to be considered to be put on Canadian currency.
The next step in this process is a formal public opinion survey to narrow the list of twelve down to three. The Finance Minister will make the final decision.
Graham Reynolds, author of Viola Desmond’s Canada, compiled five reasons why Viola Desmond should be on Canadian currency:
Her refusal to give up her seat in a white’s only section of a racially segregated theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, is a uniquely Canadian story of courage. It was a singular, unpremeditated and nonviolent act of protest against injustice. He action is an example of the kind of citizenship and courage that all Canadians should aspire toward.
Viola’s story and the widespread existence of racial segregation in Canada is an important but little known chapter in Canadian history. Giving Viola an honoured place on a Canadian bank note will serve to raise awareness about this critical chapter in our history.
Viola’s story is part of the much larger struggle for racial equality in Canada, but, sadly, most Canadians are unaware of this history. The image of Viola on our bank note will help highlight the important role Blacks have played in shaping our modern democratic society and it will keep the history of the struggle for racial equality in the public consciousness.
Viola is a symbol of an entire generation of civil rights leaders who collectively have made Canada a more just and racially tolerant society.
Showcasing Viola Desmond on our currency draws attention to her remarkable success as an African Canadian businesswoman. Her achievement is even more extraordinary, given the fact that Black women in Canada during most of the twentieth century had limited career opportunities.
More about: Viola Desmond’s Canada.