On March 21, UFCW Canada Local 1006A will join many around the world in observing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
On this day in 1960, South African police killed 69 protestors and injured 300 others, who 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.
Nearly six decades later, racism, discrimination and prejudice still remains the reality for many around the world.
While significant progress has been made in Canada, much work remains to be done to create a more equal and inclusive society for all. Many Canadians still grapple with the devastation and dehumanization of racism, discrimination and prejudice and we as a country must do better.
This year, we mourned with our sisters and brothers in the Muslim Canadian community when a gunman, fueled by hate, opened fire at a Quebec City mosque, killing six people and injuring 19 others. Our hearts ache for the victims of this tragedy, which included a UFCW Canada member, and we must do what we can to make sure hate has no home here.
We stand in solidarity with racialized communities who continue to be targeted by hate crimes. Statistics Canada reports that Black Canadians, Jewish Canadians, LGBTQ community members, Muslim Canadians and many other groups are victims of hundreds of hate crimes every year. Canada belongs to all of us, and not to those who seek to divide and harm with hate.
We stand with racialized communities for whom racial profiling and carding remain inescapable realities.
We stand in solidarity with racialized men and women who face barriers to advancement at work and are paid far less than their non-racialized counterparts.
While much work remains to be done, we will get there. As Martin Luther King said, “As darkness can’t drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can’t drive out hate; only love can do that.” On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, let us come together to light the way to eliminate racial discrimination and affirm our commitment to stand up for equality, human rights and fairness for all.
Wayne E. Hanley, President, UFCW Canada Local 1006A