In observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism on March 21, a community march and rally against racism will be held on Sunday, March 18, in Vancouver.
The event, which will include family-friendly festivities, begins at Clark Park (Commercial and 14th) at 2 p.m. and ends at Grandview Park (Commercial and Charles).
March 21 marks the anniversary of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa, when police opened fire on hundreds of South Africans protesting against Apartheid’s passbook laws, killing 67 and wounding 186. Collectively, CUPE and the rest of the labour movement join friends and allies around the world each year to mark this day and to speak the truth about racism.
Sunday’s event will highlight some of the historic injustices this country was founded on, including the forced confinement of Indigenous children in residential schools and Japanese children in internment camps. It will also point to the need for renewed anti-racist consciousness in light of the continuing institutional racism we see today, such as:
- Mass criminalization and incarceration under the new crime bill, human smuggling bill, and proposed anti-terror legislation
- Tragedies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and communities like Attawapiskat
- Restrictions on immigration and family sponsorships but expanding exploitative temporary worker programs
- Governments bailing out banks while communities of colour live in poverty
- Corporate destruction of Indigenous territories from pipelines in Alberta and B.C. to Canadian mining operations across Africa and Latin America
Involvement in military occupations from Afghanistan to Palestine
“We encourage all CUPE members, their families, friends, and allies to attend the march on Sunday to celebrate the dignity, strength, and resilience of our communities. This is an important expression of solidarity and resistance,” says CUPE BC Diversity Vice-President Dal Benning.
“But we also have to be pro-active in countering racism. Racist stereotyping and scapegoating is still rampant in the mainstream media, the education system, policing institutions, and workplaces. And white supremacist hate groups still commit violent crimes in our very own neighbourhoods. We can no longer remain silent about this horrific form of racism.”