March 21st International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21st – marred in history when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

Unifor recognizes we must not repeat history and it has been very evident this year, we must be a part of the change needed to redefine public safety and divest from institutions that perpetuate racism and are still taking the lives of Black, Indigenous and people of colour.

This year, Unifor’s message is “Together for Racial Justice.” We understand that we must use our collective power to make change. It is about engaging the communities, trade unions, employers, workplaces and organizations to work together for meaningful lasting change.

#Together4RacialJustice aims to make real meaningful change in cultures that exist in workplaces and a society that devalue any person solely based on the colour of their skin. We often hear the word tolerance. Tolerance has absolutely nothing to do with racial justice, but everything to do with one’s attitude. It is not making the real changes need to end racism, more like ignoring the real issues and claiming to be not racist vs acting in a way that is anti-racist. It is vital that trade unions do not ignore the place in history we are in.

As the Covid-19 virus began to spread in early 2020, a parallel pandemic was unleashed – of hatred, violence and fear against Black, Indigenous and people of colour. Those who identify or were perceived to identify as Chinese were targeted by hate and wrongly blamed for the pandemic. Stark inequities, rooted in racism, quickly became clear. Black, Indigenous and people of colour and women are significantly at higher risk of infection and death.

Unifor is proud to join other unions across North America in a cross-border, multilingual webinar on the fight for racial justice as we near the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

On March 20, activists will come together to redefine public safety, to advance the interest of Black, Indigenous and people of colour in our society, workplaces and union. We will continue to work together to eliminate racism.

Unifor is encouraging members and activists to register and participate in the Together for Racial Justice Webinar on Zoom at 3 p.m. eastern time on March 20, 2021. This will allow us to have moments of reflection and recommit to being Anti-racist using Unifor’s six steps to support racial justice.

Unifor will continue in our quest for equity, equality and anti-discrimination and we call on each and every one of us to stand up against all forms of racism. On social media we will show our recommitment to ending all forms of racial discrimination by using the Unifor frame “Together for Racial Justice.”