March 25th is observed by the United Nations as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, millions of Africans were taken against their will, chained in the belly of thousands of ships, forcibly removed from their homeland and brought to Canada and other countries as slaves. Many did not survive the journey and their bodies were simply thrown overboard. For those who survived, generations of atrocities followed. Africans were recognized as cattle under the law, sold into slavery and became the property of the purchaser.
Slavery was abolished in Canada in 1833, however, African Canadians continued to face years of segregation. Today African Canadians continue to struggle with anti-black racism of which the CBTU views as a residual effect of Canada’s role in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Because of advances made through Canada’s civil rights movement, today’s Black Lives Matter movement and the work of many Community and Labour organizations, African Canadians have made some progress towards achieving equity in Canada. However, there is much more work ahead of us.
Carding, racial profiling, mass incarceration and over representation within the Children’s Aid Society are some of the struggles CBTU views as a domino effect of Canada’s role in the slave trade.
The objectives of the CBTU are reflected in our mission statement. Those objectives include: the improvement of economic development and employment opportunities for workers of African-Descent, as well as the promotion of access and the opening of doors for black workers and workers of colour within the Labour Movement.
CBTU-Canada is encouraged by the number of workers of African descent that attended our recent Black History Month event entitled “Empowering Our Community: Politicizing Our Struggles”. The attendees at that event identified Criminal Justice, Anti-Black Racism and the lack of African Canadian leadership in Politics and throughout Union Leadership as priorities for CBTU Canada.
CBTU-Canada is an organization that is independent of any political party or candidate. As such CBTU-Canada, in line with our mission statement, continues to motivate, encourage and support CBTU members of African-descent and CBTU members of colour who share the values of CBTU and seek to be elected to leadership positions.
CBTU-Canada does and will continue to work towards the creation of a more just and fair society by working in coalition with organized Labour and other allies whose mission is consistent with those objectives.
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PDF Version of This Statement