The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is celebrated annually on August 23rd. It is an opportunity to raise awareness and work to build inclusion. To overcome racial inequality, we must confront our history.
On this day in 1791, a revolt paved the way for the end of slavery and dehumanization. Each year, individuals and organizations around the world commemorate this day and use it to educate the public about the negative consequences of the slave trade.
“We must do the work to educate ourselves and the people around us. We must work to uncover and face our biases, and we must not put up with intolerance,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“OPSEU/SEFPO will continue the work we’ve been doing for years to educate all levels of our union and our employers about racial equality and inclusivity. We are committed to fighting against systemic racism,” he added.
“This is a moment of reckoning in human history. The ongoing injustices against the Black community teach us that differences are what continue to divide us,” added OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “In order for all of us to be truly equal, we must work towards ensuring that everyone is free. We can all learn from moments like these if we are willing to acknowledge that we must to do better.”
It is important to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition because the Black community continues to face injustice and is struggling to find diversity and inclusion, said Peter Thompson, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW).
“The abolishment of slavery is an ongoing process. The reality is that its legacy continues to exist today,” Thompson noted. “Those in positions of power need to acknowledge the crimes of the past. They need to implement reparations so that it never happens again. When we think about these reparations especially in the form of payments for past injustices, we must educate ourselves to understand these impacts and how they have shaped Black people’s lives today.”