February is Black History Month, an opportunity to pay tribute to people of African descent and to celebrate their many achievements and contributions to Ontario and Canada.
Black Canadians have fought for and won some of the rights and freedoms we all enjoy today. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says much progress has been made but a lot of work remains.
“OPSEU has been a leader in fighting systemic racism in workplaces and society and I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” said Thomas.
“However Black and African Canadians still face disparities in employment, education and health outcomes. We cannot rest until disparities like those are resolved.”
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says he is proud of the work that the OPSEU Coalition of Racialized Workers and other OPSEU committees have done to fight discrimination and create greater awareness.
“I’m very excited by the commitment we see month in and month out from members of the Coalition and all the other committees,” said Almeida. “They have helped make OPSEU a better union for us all and Ontario a better place for everyone to live.”
Throughout February, the Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW) will take OPSEU’s membership on a journey into the history of Blacks in Canada, looking at the contributions and advances made by Blacks or people of African ancestry in Canada and around the world.
The Coalition of Racialized Workers will hold a forum on Friday, Feb. 21, to honour Fred Upshaw, the man, the leader, the unionist. Fred was OPSEU’s president from 1990 to 1995, becoming the first African-Canadian to lead a major labour union in Canada. We will highlight Black history as a tool for learning as well as sharing information and facts which may not be known to all.
CoRW Chair Peter Thompson is inviting OPSEU members to come out and share in this month’s activities and learning.
These activities will be posted on the website in the coming days.