Region 5, Come Alive: Historic Regional Gathering of Racialized Members

OPSEU Coalition of Racialized Workers logo - SEFPO Coalition des travailleurs racialises logo

Stepping up to claim their rightful place in their workplace, union and community, nearly 30 racialized Local Presidents and highest ranking officers from Region 5 met at the Toronto Regional Office on Saturday, July 27.  Happy to see this day arrive, Kola Iluyomade, Chair of the Region 5 Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW) thanked the participants for their interest and willingness to engage with other racialized members in a new way.  “With the attacks on our communities coming from the Ford government, more than ever we need to fight back with the full armour of resistance.  This gathering is an important step forward to unite racialized members and equip us with skills and resources needed to win.”  Such unity and strength is needed to reverse the blatantly racist decisions of the Ford government, most recently the cancelling of a mandatory anti-racism conference after major cuts to Ontario’s anti-racism directorate.

The participants gathered around the following objectives:

  • To engage racialized workers in a new way that facilitates speaking with their own voices about their own experiences in union and workplace
  • To build the capacity (knowledge, skills, etc.) of members as change agents in their union and workplaces
  • To courageously claim their rightful place as racialized workers within their workplaces and their communities
  • To connect with community groups to build a larger movement with a larger voice to have a real impact
  • To develop the R files (on race and racism in Ontario) similar to the F files on Doug Ford agenda, identifying the underlying racist agenda that is at the core of current government policies and practices.

The members adopted an action plan to resist the racist Ford Agenda that will engage grassroots activists in the fight-back.

“It is exciting to see how this new energy for change fits so well with the strategic plan of the CoRW that includes solid training of racialized members on anti-racism principles, the human rights code and its application, mediation of race-based conflict and change management to uproot racism from institutions that shape our lives,” adds Peter Thompson, Provincial Chair of CoRW.

Elizabeth Ha, Vice-Chair, People of Asian Descent, is happy to see this embrace of the diversity and inclusion of all racialized groups in the work of the Coalition.  “Very often we remain invisible as Asians despite our large numbers in the population but we cannot and will not be silent as our communities are attacked, whether through the erosion of social services or racist immigration policies.”