Keynote speaker Sherene Razack, a professor from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), began day three of CUPE’s first national Human Rights Conference with an analysis of Canada’s post-911 security laws. Later in the program, Razack called upon delegates to forge a grander vision of inclusion for Canada’s largest union.
Between workshops that focussed on alliances and barriers to equity and panel discussions that examined the advances, gains and alliances that have characterized CUPE’s work on issues of equality over the years, a dynamic group of young Korean drummers, Riverside Beats the Rhythm, performed a rhythmic meditation that helped bring energy and focus to the afternoon sessions.
An inspirational, short video produced by Richard Sherring and others featuring members of CUPE’s disability working group shed light on many of the day-to-day challenges affecting workers with disabilities. In addition, CUPE staff representative, Don Moran introduced delegates to the Aboriginal Partnership Program, Lila Murao from the Hospital Employees Union spoke eloquently about re-organizing contracted out health care workers, Barb Moore, co-chair of CUPE’s National Women’s Task Force (NWTF) introduced some of the preliminary results of the NWTF survey, and Gerry Lavallée spoke emotionally about his own experiences as a gay man and CUPE’s contribution to the Workers’ Out Conference and the International AIDS Conference.