President's Message - Black Lives Matter

I’ve spent days wandering around in a daze, feeling bloody helpless to support and be an ally to my fellow humans, my brothers and sisters who are people of colour. And even in saying that phrase, I know it’s controversial. But it’s not about me… it’s about people who feel and experience racism and discrimination every single day in obvious and not so obvious ways.

I am beyond disgusted by the murder of black men and women in the United States – but Canada is not innocent or immune from this racism. People of colour have seen and experienced such shocking disrespect that I cannot begin to understand… but that is what we must do: educate ourselves, understand racism and do everything in our power to stop it.

We can stand with coworkers who are facing these comments and call those out who are making the comments – for the BS that they are spreading. We can wake ourselves up and think before we speak. And we can educate ourselves about the evil nature of racism and discrimination. This is a union issue because it affects our workplaces and our communities. This is a union issue because it affects our members in so many ways.

I don’t know the thousands of names of men and women who’ve been killed by police violence, but I will learn them. That is one way we can honour their memories.

This affects all marginalized people in ways that we cannot begin to comprehend, but that is what we need to do… look at the world through a different set of eyes. We need to stand for something that is better than this. And in saying that Black Lives Matter, I do not believe that it means that Indigenous lives do not matter or other lives do not matter – it’s a simple statement that doesn’t take away from anyone or any group.

I chose to stand with our members, with our communities. Black Lives Matter – it is that simple. Rest in peace George Floyd.

In Solidarity,

Barbara Cape
SEIU-West President

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