June 5, 2020
Time for Action and Resolution rather than Discussion or Debate
We can all acknowledge that equality was not acquired when laws became equal and did not resolve the systemic and institutional racism and discrimination embedded in our government and society. Acknowledgment of inequality is not enough action to take; recent events highlighting our unequal society signifies the importance of needed change. With the anti-racism movement rising against discrimination on skin colour, First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, ethnicities, faith, gender and gender orientation, we can agree racism is a pandemic of its own that has persisted for far too long. As a country that prides on equality, it is sad to see our governments’ lack of actions in terminating existing systemic racism, as well as its failure to create a society that provides equal access to education and opportunities for every citizen. This statement is not an opinion, but facts. Low income families, in particular First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, ethnic and faith minorities, are positioned in a way that preserves the social order, making it harder for these lower-income children to achieve their full potential, setting them up to remain in their socioeconomic rank.
One can debate how the government and society have failed to do justice for people of different races and faiths, and for people of lower income. However, this letter wants to set in motion change in government and society; acknowledgment and sympathy are insufficient. Democracy has not been accessible for all, and should not be solely for the higher income and majority population; for these reasons, we urge that all levels of the government and society pledge and plan with reforms that ensure change.
This pledge will be done with the intent to end the prevalent systematic racism and discrimination, including a plan to be completed with a decade, having our governments, administrations, businesses, educational institutions, first responders and law enforcement be representative of our entire society (i.e., across skin colour, First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, ethnicities, faith, gender and gender orientation).
This plan of action should include a minimum of the following changes, injustice has lasted too long in our government and society. Ignoring these essential changes will result in a failure to create a society that corresponds to spoken and written words and laws.
1. All institutions including and not limited to universities, public schools, first responders, police, government employees and the private sector should have board members, executives, administrators, and staff who represent the diversity of our society. The pledge is to meet mandatory and voluntary targets in ten years, with program implementation beginning in the next year.
2. Income of one’s family should not play a factor in a student’s educational journey. Lower income areas correspond with lower standard educational levels, as well as provide less opportunities for children and youth to gain the experiences that higher income children and youth are given. All schools in lower income neighborhoods will be provided with educational level of staff and programs that are equal standard to all Canadian schools, and offer equal opportunities for student’s growth and achievement.
3. Social programs should be employed for children suffering from inter-generational racial and economic discrimination and inter-generational trauma. These programs will ensure opportunities and processes for these children to achieve their potential, and equal and as necessary additional access to medical and mental health resources and treatment.
The government needs to initiate action if equality and non-discrimination in our society are to be achieved. “We need to address hate, racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, Xenophobia, colonialism and homophobia as it impacts every person regardless of their faith, colour, or gender. It’s time for action and resolution rather than discussion or debate,” said Dr. Mukarram Zaidi, Chairman of Think For Actions.
If this letter corresponds to your own thoughts send this to your councilor, MLA, MP, Premier, and Prime Minister as well as sharing it for a difference.
For further comments and questions please contact:
Dr. Mukarram Zaidi, MBBS, CUS, MSc, MD, CPHRM, MCFP. PPP,
Canadian Muslim Research Think Tank, Think for Actions, CARVH, I-CARE Task Force
587 890 8321
Magdalena A.K. Muir, J.D., LL.M.,
Secretary, I-CARE Task Force
403 305 3393
Letter drafted by: Fatima Zaidi