March 21, 2022

Voices for action against racism

That’s the theme of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It calls on people everywhere to strengthen and consolidate their voices against racism, to mobilise against all forms and all manifestations of racial discrimination and injustice, and to ensure a safe environment for those who speak up.

Why March 21? Each year, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination marks the day police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

As educators, colleges and institutes play a vital role in combatting systemic racism and discrimination. In areas like healthcare and public safety, they ensure that workers are given tools to protect public spaces against injustice, now and in the future.

As institutions, we also recognize that systemic racism and discrimination exist in Canada and have work to do to address the challenges to success that Black students, Indigenous students, Asian students, and other visible minorities often face.

It’s not enough to be “not racist.” Anti-racism means that we must reflect on unconscious biases and institutional and structural policies that allow racism to exist, and consistently work to identify and dismantle them.