This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was a powerful and momentous day, with so many from coast to coast to coast reflecting on the horrors of the residential school system, recognizing the ongoing colonialism on these lands, and recommitting to real and lasting reconciliation.
But, underscoring the urgency of this work, CUPE Ontario’s 280,000 members are saddened to learn that the day was also marked and marred by violence and misogyny. Following a Truth and Reconciliation event hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress, Gloria Lepine and her sister, Linda Wilson, were verbally assaulted, with Linda physically assaulted.
These were terrible acts undertaken by strangers so invested in settler colonialism they would lash out violently at someone like Gloria Lepine, who, as the Congress’ Indigenous Workers Vice-President, has tirelessly addressed and amplified the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women – and who has spoken so clearly about reconciliation and justice.
This violence speaks to the violence that Indigenous people face, even on a day like September 30. It speaks to the violence that women face. And it speaks to the violence that outspoken and powerful advocates face.
Today and always, we take up the Congress’ call to not look away and to always speak up in moments like this. On behalf of the 280,000 members of CUPE Ontario, we send our message of solidarity in the recognition that, though this work is in many ways just beginning, we commit to it with hope, courage, and love.