March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
On this day, I encourage you to affirm your commitment to standing up for equality and fairness for all. Together, let us work to eliminate racism, discrimination and prejudice at work and in our communities.
The history of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is traced back to 1960 when South African police killed 69 protestors and injured 300 others. The victims had peacefully gathered in Sharpeville to protest racially discriminatory laws. The shootings made worldwide news, and in 1966, led to the United Nations General Assembly proclaiming March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Half a century later, racism, discrimination and prejudice continue to be the reality for so many people around the world. Here in Canada, we are not immune from these challenges.
Many Canadians in racialized communities live with the devastating effects of racism and discrimination everyday.
- Inequity in pay for racialized and indigenous communities.
- Reduced access to employment opportunities. Studies have repeatedly shown candidates with minority names are less likely to get interviews.
- Racial profiling for racialized and indigenous communities.
- Hate crimes against racialized communities.
- Treatment of Canada’s indigenous people.
It is clear that we, as a society and country, need to do better. Change begins with our actions to support our sisters and brothers from racialized communities in their struggles, and to be a voice for a more inclusive, respectful and united society.
As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the mountain may seem insurmountable but we must remember, we must never give up, and and never stop advocating for what is right—a more equal and just Canada for all people.
Wayne E. Hanley, President, UFCW Canada Local 1006A