We are in a historic moment in which Indigenous, Black, and racialized people around the world are leading mass movements to defend their humanity and are achieving dramatic changes so that they may live in freedom.
At the same time, many white people are recognizing that our society and our systems promote racism in ways they had not noticed or understood before – be it in the workplace, in schools, in policing, in the justice system, in healthcare, in unions, and so forth. And so many white people, rightly horrified by these realizations, are asking themselves – what should I do? White union members are asking themselves – how can I support my racialized and Indigenous union siblings as they struggle against racism in the workplace and in their union? It is these questions we hope to help begin answer in the webinar.
As expressed in PSAC’s recent statement on anti-Black racism, anti-racism is everyone’s fight. We must challenge our unconscious biases. We must be part of the solution.
In order to truly understand the heinous problem of racism, we must look at it head-on and recognize who is impacted by it - Indigenous, Black and racialized people - and who benefits, from it whether consciously or unconsciously - white people. It is essential to offer white people the chance to reflect on what role they can play in dismantling this form of oppression because while white people do not experience racism, many white people, PSAC members and staff included, reinforce racism and racist systems every day without even realizing it or intending it.
The inspiration behind this webinar was the feeling among many Indigenous and racialized trade unionists that Indigenous and racialized people have been fighting racism for centuries and that white people are not listening. Many are exhausted from doing this work of explaining what racism is and how they experience it. As white people, it’s our responsibility to take up this labour. Black union activist Carol Wall eloquently expresses this point of view in her recent heartfelt letter published in Our Times magazine, “Dear White Sisters and Brothers” :
“…this has unleashed something that can’t be fixed by me, but it must be fixed by white people. I need every white person to do their part. I don’t want them to be silent anymore when they witness and hear racist comments... I did not create white supremacy and I don’t benefit from it, so those who do must examine and dismantle it. This is a turning point as I demand action, no more comfortable conversations. Do the work you need to do, as the Black community will be organizing and demanding accountability.”
You are encouraged to read Carol’s letter in its entirety at the link provided above.
This webinar was designed by a team of PSAC Education Officers of a variety of races and features a Black activist and a white activist in conversation. All are welcome to attend regardless of ethnicity to hear some answers to the main question the two activists will be discussing: what is the role of white people in fighting racism?
You are welcome to attend and undertake this important learning opportunity which will serve to make our union and the labour movement stronger in the face of increasing privatization, unsafe workplaces, and threatened cuts to public services. Learning that will make us stronger, together.