Unifor stands in solidarity with the community movement Black Lives Matter as it continues to resist, speak out and raise awareness about racism and its impact on the lives of Black people.
If all lives are to matter equally, we must not pretend that there is not a specific problem faced by the Black community. We must recognize that violence, discrimination and racism disproportionately impact members of the Black community, First Nations people and other people of colour. We must act in concert to demand structural change to practices and systems that unfairly target, disadvantage and oppress members of these communities.
The recent aggressive and unnecessarily confrontational actions of the Toronto Police Services in dismantling Black Lives Matter’s peaceful protest speaks to the need for immediate change. When communities don’t believe that justice works for them, when they feel that those enforcing law and order are not doing it for them, but against them, and when police actions reinforce the idea that Black lives matter less, we have a badly broken system.
Unifor, along with its allies, calls on Chief Mark Saunders, Mayor John Tory and Premier Kathleen Wynne to do their part. If those in power would take immediate action and enforce the carding ban, stop supporting the targeting of people of colour and begin listening to the many voices who are demanding systemic change, they would send a message that Black Lives really do Matter.
Transformational change will take collective and concerted effort and time, but trade unionists know that it is work that must be done if solidarity and social justice are to have real meaning. The struggle of Black Lives Matter is a struggle for recognition and for social progress. It is a struggle that Unifor unreservedly supports. Our union will continue to work with Black Lives Matter, other like-minded communities, social justice advocates and activists, and with governments to end the scourge of racial discrimination and build a more equitable and just world in which every individual afforded security and opportunity.