January 29 represents a tragic and shocking day in Canadian history. On this day in 2017, there was a senseless attack on Muslim men at prayer in the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City: a gunman, driven by the hate-filled messages of Islamophobia and white supremacy, killed six people and inflicted serious injury on many more.
It was an unfathomable tragedy that we as Canadians continue to mourn. On this day in particular, CUPE Ontario remembers and honours those who died and who were injured, and offers our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to their families, friends, and Muslim communities as they grieve the loss of their husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, and friends.
On January 29, we also take the opportunity to renew our pledge as a union to do our part to end Islamophobia in all its forms. CUPE Ontario’s Anti-Racism Organizational Action Plan and the work of our committees guide us in addressing the systemic racism within our union and help us in taking action against all forms of racism, including Islamophobia, in our workplaces and communities. It is also a day that CUPE Ontario renews its commitment to the values of diversity, peace, and respect, and speaks out against the things that divide us, including austerity, discrimination, and violence.
In solidarity with Muslim communities and with those who face Islamophobia, CUPE Ontario encourages members to take part in the Green Square Campaign, which encourages Canadians to wear a green square of fabric in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Quebec mosque attack and as part of our collective stand against Islamophobia. The Canadian Labour Congress also has an excellent report, Islamophobia at Work: Challenges and Opportunities, that includes recommendations for unions seeking to champion fairness, equity, and social justice for Muslims in Canada.