On Thursday, January 21, we celebrate Lincoln Alexander Day. It’s a chance to not only honor the life of Lincoln MacCauley Alexander and his unforgettable contributions, but also to reflect on and embrace the values he stood for.
Born on January 21, 1922 in Toronto to parents who had immigrated from Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Alexander was no stranger to racial injustice or prejudice, but that did not discourage him. He became the first Black member in the House of Commons, the first Black federal cabinet minister (serving briefly as labour minister), the first Black Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Board, the first racialized person to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and Chancellor of the University of Guelph for an unprecedented five terms.
Lincoln Alexander worked hard to get to a position of influence in an effort to address racial and ethnic inequalities from the highest level. He used this platform to fight for education, youth, and racialized people. He not only gave back to his community, but to generations of Canadians to come.
To honor the life of Lincoln Alexander is to continuously fight against racism and racial discrimination, to ensure access to education and provide continued support for our youth, but most importantly we must continue to work toward making our country one where true equity is achieved for all Canadians. OPSEU/SEFPO is committed to this fight toward equity in our workplaces, our union, and our communities.
As we start this new year with renewed hopes, dreams and goals for what’s ahead, let’s all honor Lincoln’s legacy in everything that we do to further the creation of a better society for everyone.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer
Peter Thompson, Chair, OPSEU/SEFPO Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW)