We acknowledge that we are making this statement from unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories.
Today is Human Rights Day, the UN’s commemoration of the signing of the historic Universal Declaration on Human Rights on December 10, 1948.
This year’s theme, “Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights,“ could not be more timely. The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the way our social, political and economic structures push so many people to the margins, silencing and disenfranchising them: women, Indigenous people, Black people, people of colour, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+ people, those without wealth or property, and more.
From Indigenous uprisings locally and globally, to the Black Lives Matter movement, to the increase in homeless populations and child poverty, to movements for justice and freedom around the world, we cannot pretend not to see injustice any longer. What we have seen, we can’t unsee.
And what we see is this: What we had in place before COVID was a failed system, and returning to it cannot be an option. We must build back better, designing for the equitable inclusion of all members of our communities.
The BCFED worked with affiliate unions and community partners this year to create recommendations for the provincial government for an equitable recovery. That recovery must include sex workers, workers with precarious or no immigration status, and all those whose voices have too often been ignored or silenced. It must be a recovery that supports equal economic participation for all.
And it must be a recovery that recognizes that we are connected to the world outside our provincial borders. The economic decisions made by governments, businesses and individuals can reinforce and reward oppression, or they can advance justice.
Never has solidarity been more important at every level, from our local neighbourhoods to our global community. Let’s rebuild an economy that prospers by lifting up the voices and fundamental rights of people here in British Columbia, throughout Canada and around the world.
The United Nations campaign for International Human Rights Day: https://www.un.org/en/observances/human-rights-day
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights: https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html
BCFED recommendations for an equitable economic recovery: https://bcfed.ca/recovery-for-all/gender-equity