Toronto – January 26, 2018 – Each year, citizens across the country recognize February as Black History Month in honour of the stories, experiences, and accomplishments of Black Canadians. The month encourages us to learn about African culture and recognize that Black history is an essential part of Canada’s history, as African Canadians helped build and defend the country we all call home.
As Canada’s leading union, UFCW honours Black History Month by reflecting on how we as union activists can bolster our fight against racism. Our work begins in the workplace. Through the collective bargaining process, we must continue to ensure that anti-discrimination language is front and centre in the protections afforded to all workers. After all, the freedom to work in an environment free of bias, prejudice, and stereotypes is not a choice – it is a human right.
This work is essential because – regrettably – people of colour continue to experience racism on a consistent basis in Canada. For example, a recent poll by Ipsos found that 25 percent of Canadians claim to have experienced racism in their lives. Of the more than 1,000 citizens who responded to the poll, persons self-identifying as Black, Muslim, Arab, Indigenous, and East Indian were the most likely to be victims of race-motivated discrimination.
Evidently, we must continue our work to eliminate systemic racism in our workplaces, homes, and communities, while remaining united in the belief that diversity is our greatest strength.
This Black History Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to stand in solidarity with workers of colour and honour the achievements of Black Canadians in creating a more equitable Canada. Let us also recommit to working towards a future where racism and inequality are things of the past.
To learn more about UFCW Canada’s anti-racism efforts in workplaces and communities across the country, visit our anti-oppression webpage.
Paul R. Meinema