It has been difficult to find the right words for Workers United Canada to express our support, solidarity, and gratitude to the black communities and Black Lives Matter movement in Canada and the US. Our commitment to fighting for workers’ rights and fairness does not end in the workplace. The Labour Movement in North America was championed by black activists even when it was explicitly exclusionary of black people. We have early union leaders like Frederick Douglass – escaped slave, abolitionist and president of the Colored National Labor Union – to thank for fighting for all of our rights.
In Canada, Stanley G. Grizzle, the first black Canadian to sit on the Ontario Labour Relations Board, founded the Railway Porter’s Trade Union Council and was president of the Toronto division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. His work was invaluable to the organizing of railroad workers and to Canada’s Labour Movement.
We are outraged and deeply saddened by the state-sanctioned violence and systemic oppression faced by black people in the United States and here in Canada. As anti-black racism becomes increasingly visible, we acknowledge and condemn the deeply rooted institutional racism that exists here in Canada as well. Diminishing its severity through shallow American comparisons breeds a uniquely insidious brand of racism.
Amongst countless others, we extend our deepest condolences to the families, loved ones and communities of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
You will find below links to several resources where you can learn, take action, and donate.
CALLS TO ACTION:
- Official Black Lives Matter (USA) resources
- Official Black Lives Matter (Canada) demands
- Write your Toronto City Counsellor about the city’s 23.3% budget allocation to the Toronto Police Service and Board in 2019
- Minnesota AFL-CIO Calls for Minneapolis Police Union President Bob Kroll’s Immediate Resignation
- Black Lives Matter Toronto
- Black Lives Matter Vancouver
- Black Legal Action Centre
- A Different Booklist Cultural Cultural Centre
- Black Space Winnipeg
- Black Health Alliance
- Caribbean African Canadian Social Services
- Freedom School Toronto
- A Different Booklist (Toronto)
- Toronto Public Library, Black Lives Matter: A Booklist
- Black Lives Matter reading list from Octopus Books (Ottawa)
- My name's not George: the story of the Brotherhood of Sleeping by Stanley G. Grizzle
- Frederick Douglass by Philip S. Foner
- Defunding the Police will Save Black and Indigenous Lives in Canada
- Yes, Canada Has a Racism Crisis and its Killing Black and Indigenous People