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Confronting Anti-Black Racism

June 4, 2020

The Society of United Professionals joins those around the world mourning the death of George Floyd and, here at home, Regis Korchinski-Paquet.  The murder of George Floyd is shocking, it is saddening, and we join those who call for justice for the family of Mr. Floyd.

We affirm our deeply held conviction that Black lives matter.  We recognize that anti-Black racism is deeply embedded within Canadian institutions and that we all must take an active role in confronting and ending that racism.  To paraphrase Angela Davis, it is not enough to be “not racist”:  we must explicitly adopt an anti-racist approach to our work by actively opposing racism in all its forms.

The Society of United Professionals has, and will continue, to support these efforts.  Our ongoing work includes:

  1. The Professionals of Colour Committee founded last year to advocate internally and externally on issues important to racialized Society members (contact Leon Simeon to get involved at simeonl@thesociety.ca);
  2. Developing and promoting the Charter of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities;
  3. Tracking member-reported incidences of workplace discrimination through the Society’s biannual member survey; and
  4. Supporting the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, a non-profit organization fighting racism since 1975.

In addition, the Society is contributing $5,000 to the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC). BLAC is a community legal clinic supporting low-income Black Ontarians with a wide range of individual and systemic legal issues. Given that anti-Black racism often results in over-policing and over-incarceration of Black people, and that hundreds of our members work in the legal aid system, the Society felt that this was an important and relevant contribution for our union.

If you are considering a personal contribution, there are many worthy organizations and groups to consider. We offer these suggestions for your consideration:

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, to which the Society is affiliated, also issued a statement on this issue, which you can read by clicking here.

In conclusion, we as a union reaffirm our effort to advance workplace policies that deepen respect and inclusion. Individually, let us challenge ourselves and others as we fight anti-Black racism.

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