The Douglas-Coldwell Foundation wishes to add its voice to those protesting around the world against racism and social injustice.
Systematic racism is one of the most persistent forms of injustice and inequality in our society. The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has been met with a wave of demonstrations in the United States, in Canada and around the world. People have been expressing their outrage, pain and anger, not only at what happened to George Floyd, but also at decades of racism targeting Black people, Indigenous people and other racialized people.
In too many cases, a heavy-handed response from police and governmental authorities against peaceful protests have resulted in significant injuries to many demonstrators, journalists reporting on the events, homeless people and other innocent by-standers.
But while we watch in horror at what is happening south of the border, we cannot ignore Canada’s own systemic racism. The deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and Chantel Moore, and too many others before them, highlight the urgent need to reform policing practices and the criminal justice system as a whole. There has to be a better way.
In communities across Canada, anti-Black racism, racism against Indigenous Peoples, anti-Asian racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination remain a reality. The over-representation of racialized workers in precarious employment; racial profiling and carding practices; the discrimination in hiring and promotion and the skewed demographics in Canada’s prisons are all proof that we have much more work to do.
Together, we must push for immediate action against racism and inequality. Each and every one of us has a role to play in our communities, in our workplaces and in organizations we are involved with.
In 1947, the Saskatchewan CCF government led by DCF founder Tommy Douglas, received the unanimous support of the legislature for the adoption of the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights. The first legislation of its kind, it stated that, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion or nationality, it was the right of every person to engage in any occupation or enterprise; be a member of any professional or trade association; rent or purchase any property; receive education in schools and universities, and be given service in public places such as restaurants and hotels.
We have come a long way in the past 73 years. But the recent tragic events are reminding us that we still have a long way to go. Ending systemic discrimination and racism must be our ultimate objective as a society.
Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world.