Dismantling anti-Black racism is eroding the legacy of slavery

Dismantling anti-Black racism is eroding the legacy of slavery

Coalition of Racialized Workers logo
Coalition of Racialized Workers logo

Friday, March 25 is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, a time to put a spotlight on the barbaric slave trade.

The suffering, trauma, and oppression that was inflicted on more than 400 million Black men, women, and children of African descent was dehumanizing. Sadly, to this day Anti-Black Racism continues to exist in our society.

The United Nations General Assembly designated this day as a reminder that the evil era of slavery continues to be felt in many ways through the marginalization, oppression, and discrimination of Black people in our society.

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says Canadians have a responsibility to dismantle and eradicate anti-Black racism and all forms of racial discrimination.

“Our union will continue to create awareness and education on the historical and current effects of slavery and racism in our union, workplaces, and communities,” Thomas said.

Peter Thompson, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW) is appalled that the after effects of slavery continue to haunt us decades after the practice was abolished.

“We recently witnessed unforgivable acts of racism and discrimination of Black people when nooses were found in a Toronto construction site,” Thompson said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the economic, social, and health inequalities of Black people and their communities.  More Black people are living in poverty because of job loss. Many are working poor and are disproportionately represented in low paying precarious jobs. Many suffer poor mental health which often goes untreated and undiagnosed.

The over-policing of Black neighbourhoods, racial profiling of Black men, and unnecessary deaths of Black people in Canada and worldwide point to the lingering prejudice, stereotyping, and racism of the slavery era.

“At OPSEU/SEFPO we are committed to Anti-Black Racism. We embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of our union,” said First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida.  “We continue to engage in difficult conversations by speaking up when we see or experience racist and discriminatory behaviour.”

OPSEU/SEFPO has developed and runs the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism (DABR) Course at Regional Educationals. Members are all encouraged to take this course. Together, let’s dismantle anti-Black racism and the lingering effects of slavery.

For more information on the work OPSEU/SEFPO is doing to dismantle anti-Black racism visit: