Week of Solidarity with Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination

Week of Solidarity with Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination

March 21 to March 27 is the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination. Declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979, March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which kicks off a week of action to address racism and support those who are facing and fighting against racism and racial discrimination.

An important starting point to this conversation is defining and differentiating between racism and racial discrimination. Racism is a system of power that provides privilege (unearned advantages) to the dominant white racial group while oppressing people of colour. Racial discrimination is the individual unfair treatment of a person or group of people on the basis of race. The notable difference is that racism is systemic oppression that only affects those who are not part of the dominant group, whereas racial discrimination is an interpersonal treatment that can be directed at anyone.

Black students are almost twice as likely to be suspended at least once during high school compared to their White peers.
Only 0.4% of Black students are identified as gifted, compared to 4% of their White counterparts. Conversely, 16% of White students are identified with special education needs compared with 26% of Black students.
An average of 1,213 hate crime incidents reported per year over the last 10 years.
An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found that 25% of Canadians say they have experienced racism — up 8 percent from 2005.
The unemployment rate for Indigenous Canadians is more than twice the national average.
The incarceration rate for Indigenous Canadians is 10 times the national average.
These stats are but a tiny slice of the larger picture and there is much work to do in our own communities to combat racism. But how do tackle such a large systemic issue? A good place to start is understanding the role of solidarity and the importance of solidarity work. Solidarity includes both the understanding and the conscious commitment to action in support of those experiencing systemic barriers. Solidarity in this context means standing with and lending support to people who are struggling against systemic racism and racial discrimination. While many of your students will be eager to show solidarity, it is important to give them some basic tools that will ensure they are engaging in ways that are respectful and appropriate. Here are some important points to share with students and colleagues.

To act in solidarity with others we must first consider the following:

Listen to the voices of those directly impacted. They are the experts on what their experience and what they need. Don’t make assumptions about what others may be feeling or wanting.
Ask what you can do to support rather than assume.
Recognize your own privileges in society and the barriers others face based on their identity.
Accept the other person’s truth that you yourself may not share or even fully understand, and never deny or question a person’s lived experience of oppression.
Act with and follow the lead of those directly impacted by racism but never take over. It’s important to allow people with lived experiences to lead the conversation and be at the front of the struggle.
This March have a conversation with students about the actions they can take to advocate for racial justice and stand in solidarity with those who are struggling against racism and racial discrimination.

With Agency Report

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy