Thursday, February 1, 2018

To mark Black History Month, Canada’s unions are renewing their call on the federal government to commit to an anti-Black racism strategy.

Such a strategy would require the government to commit to analyzing race-based statistics on how various institutional policies impact Canada’s Black communities. The key objective would be to eradicate institutionalized racism that is disproportionately harming this specific segment of Canadian society.

“Black people in Canada are systematically disadvantaged in workplaces, criminalized and victimized by the judicial system, and discriminated against in public services and housing,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

The federal government should look to taking the following steps:

  • Create an intersectional national anti-Black racism strategy;
  • Institute criminal justice reform to address anti-Black racism in the judicial and prison system; and
  • Call for an inquiry on the overrepresentation of Black children and youth in care of child protection services.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent as a response to the need to strengthen the rights of people of African descent. Canada’s federal government officially recognized the International Decade of People of African Descent this week.

“Recognition is a step, but it won’t mean much if it isn’t followed up with concrete commitments to addressing the real grievances people have,” said Yussuff.

Canada’s unions are striving to educate their membership on the issue of anti-Black racism.

Last year, the CLC hosted a series of webinars called Working While Black. The series highlighted the contributions of Black activists and organizers in Canada and helped build skills and knowledge towards confronting discrimination.

This year, Canada’s unions are celebrating Black History Month with the release of a special podcast later this month called “Smoke and Mirrors: Uncovering Truths about Human Rights in Canada”. Hosted by lawyer, writer and PhD candidate Hadiya Roderique, the episode will explore the history of anti-Black racism in Canada and its legacy on society today.

The podcast features interviews with Black intellectuals and activists including authors and historians Robyn Maynard and Dr. Afua Cooper, as well as the award-winning journalist Desmond Cole.