On Sunday March 21, the global community will observe the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day is a call to action to end and speak out against systemic injustices in our society. Progress has been made over the years to educate and enlighten people about unconscious biases and racial discrimination, yet we still have a long way to go.
We have now passed the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, and if we have learned anything, it is that prejudice and inequity are still rampant in many of Canada’s institutions and within our social fabric. Racialized Canadians still face barriers in our health care systems, such as with First Nations communities, even at this critical time when vaccination efforts are underway.
Recent news show that many groups are bearing the brunt of this intolerance and in many forms. In fact, since the pandemic, there has been a rise in hate crimes in many Canadian cities, including the nation’s capital. Sadly, many of them go unreported.
For many Asian Canadians, there has been a rise in hate crimes since the start of the pandemic. In Vancouver alone, hate crimes towards members of these communities have risen by 717% with many calling for immediate action to stop this scourge.
The federal public service is not immune to discrimination. On December 3, 2020, a group of current and former Black federal public service employees launched a class-action lawsuit citing years of excluding Black public service employees from promotions. More than 500 plaintiffs have filed for reparations and an end to these systemic discriminatory practices. CAPE stands in solidarity with the plaintiffs.
Education is key to end racial discrimination, yet it is not enough on its own. Concrete steps need to be taken to generate real change in our societies: Better curriculums in our schools to teach future generations the value of diversity. Equitable hiring practices and career development standards that would insure everyone has a chance at upward mobility and fulfillment.
We can all do our part, but it is in unity that we can achieve real improvements in our society.
We call on our members to stand against all forms of discrimination, rally others to support the cause, and demand real action from our institutions and fellow Canadians.