On behalf of the National Council of the Union of Health and Environment Workers I want to wish everyone a Happy Black History Month. February is Black History Month in Canada and this year like others in the past we take some time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who have done so much to make Canada a culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous country.
We have sometimes ignored the important role that Black people have played in our history, from the people of African descent who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes to the sacrifices Black soldiers made in serving Canada as far back as the War of 1812. Yet as we celebrate and remember the contributions that Black Canadians have made we should also think about how we can combat racism and discrimination in our own lives and in our communities. There is still much work to be done when to comes to diversity and inclusion, especially in our workplaces.
That includes the fight for justice for Black workers in the federal public sector. Black workers have faced decades of Black employee exclusion from career advancement opportunities. They make up 3.5 per cent of the federal public service and yet only hold 1.6 per cent of executive roles. There is currently a Black Class Action Lawsuit that has been filed by over 1,300 plaintiffs, many of them PSAC members and union activists. The class action is seeking remedy for the financial and psychological harm this has been caused thousands of Black federal public service workers over the years. You can find out more about this lawsuit here:
There are many different ways that you can support Black History Month. Look for seminars and other activities in your own community. Read about noteworthy Black figures and their contributions to Canadian society from the past right up today. You can also make a donation to organizations that support anti-racism activities and fight for equality.
We hope you will join us in celebrating Black History Month.
As always, we’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at the e-mail below.
Help us build UHEW together!!