On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, back up words with action: BCFED

The BCFED released the following statement today on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:

More than six decades after the massacre in Sharpeville, South Africa — the event today commemorates — we continue to see the injustice and pain caused by racism. We know only too well that it doesn’t have to be as overt and explicit as apartheid to do its damage, and that its harm cascades down through many generations.

Recent headlines underscore how far we have yet to come in British Columbia, from the racist and violent acts against members of Indigenous and racialized communities. The BC Human Rights Commissioner’s report on hate showed appalling spikes in hate during the pandemic, particularly anti-Asian hate, especially against those with intersecting identities.

That report made it clear that words can never be enough. We need coordinated action, drawing on community-level strengths and experience — action to fight hate, and action as well to bridge gaps and resolve injustices. Our province is making important progress with measures like the Anti-Racism Data Act, the Declaration Act Action Plan, pay transparency and more. There is more work to do.

From intersectional, effective pay equity to educational curriculum changes… from permanent resident status for all migrant people to deepening our commitment to reconciliation… British Columbia must engage relentlessly to heal both the historic legacy and the present-day realities of racism and discrimination.

Labour has our own work to do and relationships to deepen with Indigenous, Black and racialized communities. We took an historic step at our last convention, ensuring our officers include representation from racialized and Indigenous workers.

Today, we recommit to stand in solidarity with all those who face racial discrimination and injustice in British Columbia, across Canada and throughout the world. None of us may rest until racism is truly a thing of the past.