9 people smiling at the camera at the Colour of Labour 2014 event

The frigid winter weather didn’t stop more than three dozen CUPE Ontario members and allies from participating in The Colour of Labour, a two-day Black History Month event in mid-February. It focused on the relationship between the North American Labour Movement and the Black Liberation Movement.

“This event was an opportunity to look at the historical and current points of unity and conflict between the two movements, while exploring how they can work together to achieve fairness and equality,” said Leticia Boahen, member of the CUPE Ontario Racial Justice Committee and local 4772.

African-Canadian workers have a long history of building the Canadian labour movement and fighting for social change for all people of colour. Still, racism and discrimination exist, as seen in recent high-profile incidents involving police violence against people of African descent.

“Discussions like this come at a critical time for human rights and equality in North America. It’s important for CUPE members to be active in the fight against systemic racism that persists in our workplaces and communities,” maintained Boahen.

The Colour of Labour was organized by Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP) with the support of the CUPE Ontario Racial Justice Committee and CUPE local 4772.