OPSEU Coalition of Racialized Workers

OPSEU recognizes International Year for People of African Descent


In recognition of the United Nation’s 2011 International Year for People of African Descent, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has purchased billboard space in the Toronto Transit Commission system to proclaim its support for the goals of the UN campaign.

“The struggle to permanently eliminate racism, end racial discrimination and stop intolerance continues for the people of African descent,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “I’m delighted that OPSEU and members of our Workers of Colour Caucus have developed a campaign that puts a spotlight on the important work the United Nations is doing to strengthen international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent.

“The fact we have launched our campaign on the eve of Toronto’s annual Carnival festival reinforces our message that racism and intolerance against all peoples of colour inside African and around the world, must be fought every step of the way.”

Incorporating the artwork of African-Canadian artist Robert Small and featuring the image of an African woman wearing a colourful kente cloth and gazing into an ocean horizon, the OPSEU subway billboard message states: “For however long the night, the day will break.”

“People of African descent have been witness to, and victims of, centuries of slavery, colonialism and racism,” said Peter Thompson, chair of OPSEU’s Workers of Colour Caucus. “Let us hope that organized labour’s support and recognition of the struggle we still encounter brings us one step closer to ending the scourge of racism whenever and wherever it rears is ugly face.

For more information::

Libby Zeleke
OPSEU Human Rights Officer
416-443-8888 ext 8679


Eduardo Almeida, OPSEU 1st Vice-president/Treasurer; Hayton Morrison, OPSEU Workers of Colour Caucus; artist Robert Small; Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President; Peter Thompson, Chair, OPSEU Workers of Colour Caucus