Aboriginal & Workers of Colour
By: Ahmed Ismail
As the new Chief Steward I took a 2 Week AWOC (Aboriginal and Workers of Colour) Course and 2 days AWOC conference, held at Unifor Family Education Center in Port Elgin (May, June 2018).
This course was rich in teaching participants on how to understand how racism is not individual acts or attitudes, but is systemic and real in the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Workers of Colour. The course covered mostly
• To recognize how racism intersects with gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and other forms of discrimination.
• To understand the connections between racism and capitalism, and how it acts both locally and internationally.
• To equip members in challenging racism in workplaces and in the broader community while strengthening our support networks and solidarity among Aboriginal and Workers of Colour.
• To gain greater knowledge, leadership skills and confidence for Aboriginal and Workers of Colour to become actively engaged in all aspects of Unifor and the labour movement.
• To provide a space for Aboriginal and Workers of Colour to envision and strategize on ways on removing obstacles to leadership positions and decision-making at all levels of Unifor.
• To strengthen our collective commitment in building as an socially inclusive union that is grounded in principles of economic, social and racial justice.
Section D of Article 15 of the Unifor Constitution states that all local unions should establish the following Standing Committees: Human Rights; LGBTQ; Aboriginal and Workers of Colour; Young Workers; Workers with Disabilities; and Women’s Committees.
I would recommend this course to anyone in the AWOC committee that needs knowledge and gravely concerned about the wave of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incidents witnessed across Canada.