Troy Coker saw snow for the first time after immigrating to Canada from the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix in 2012. 
As the shift supervisor in mining and upgrading, at Suncor’s Base Plant in Fort McMurray, Alt., watched the snowflakes fall in wonder, Troy felt optimistic about his decision to move his family so far from home.

"It was a very good experience, and Suncor did everything to make the transition simple for me, my wife and two children," says Troy. 

Fast forward a few years to when Troy brought his family on a tour of Base Plant. That tour was a turning point for Troy’s son, Tré, as it sparked Tré’s interest in working at Suncor. 

Tré went on to study power engineering and later became an operator at Base Plant, where he is mentored by his father on good work ethic and keeping himself and co-workers safe. 

Tré and his dad are both members of Suncor’s Black employee network, Mosaic, which recently kicked off Black History Month with an online opening ceremony with guest speaker Mark Harrison, founder of the Black Talent Initiative, and a steel pan drum performance.

Black History Month has roots that go back to 1915 in the U.S., but dedicating days to celebrating the many achievements and contributions of the Black community began as a week-long event in 1926. By the mid-1970s, the week had grown into a month-long event. However, it wasn’t until 1995 that the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada.

“When I look back over the past two years, Mosaic was formed as part of our response to all the racial injustices in North America,” reflects Natalie Hendrickson, Mosiac co-chair and a senior supply chain management advisor in Business and Operations Services. “For many people of colour, these events unearthed emotions and traumas that had been suppressed.”

“Creating this network supports its members in knowing they’re not alone and they’re surrounded by like-minded allies and helps Suncor become more of an inclusive and diverse workplace.” 

Stephen Muinda, Director, Maintenance with Downstream, and Mosaic co-chair, shares that after 19 years with Suncor, he knows what it’s like to experience the workplace as a Black person: “I want to use my journey to help folks have a similar and hopefully easier path during their time at Suncor.” 

Over the next month, Mosaic will offer Suncor employees the chance to learn about both Canada’s and the U.S.’s history with Black people such as Matthieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter from the 1600s, Mary Ann Shadd the first female newspaper publisher in Canada, William Peyton Hubbard, one of the first Black politicians in Canada, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, who helped over 70 people escape slavery using the Underground Railroad, and Malcolm X.