Equality is the Vision and Equity is the Path

It is June 2021. This month we celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion. We will acknowledge colonialism as settlers and will sit in circle with First Nations, Inuit and Metis neighbours on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We will raise the Pride flag – a rainbow of colours now including black and brown stripes, in solidarity with the LGBTQ2SI communities. And we will mourn what we have lost.

It has also been a month of years shattered by unspeakable and brutal acts of racism, intolerance and hate resulting in meticulously targeted deaths. Truths embedded, once fastidiously hidden, now revealed. Oppression enacted through homophobia, Islamophobia and the horrific legacy of colonialism. And it is not because ‘the system is broken, as Liben Gebremikaem attests, “The system has worked as it was designed [1].”

The struggle to achieve equity is hard, multi-layered and perpetually threatened by the backlash when the dial has been or perceived to have moved even slightly and the status quo feels threatened. This pandemic which has disproportionately impacted racialized, indigenous, immigrant, poor and marginalized communities has also amplified the principles of inequity that systems have preserved to enhance and save the lives of some and render invisible the lives of others.

But, now we can and must be willing to see, bear witness, listen, learn and most importantly act to deconstruct what is, to create what must be. The road to equity is perilous, never-ending and compulsory. The work is blatant, subtle, relentless and ‘most powerful when walking together [2]. The courage to step up from the places we occupy to just start may be daunting. But we no longer have a choice. The vision is equality and the solitary way forward is through equity. It is the only path that is just. And there is much to do.

As Mumilaaq Qaqqaa [3] said when she resigned her seat in the legislature on June 16th,
“I have never felt safe (and )
“… am reminded every step of the way I do not belong here.”

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Happy Pride!!

Lynne Raskin                                                    Michelle Hurtubise
Executive Director                                           Chair of the Board

[1] Liben Gebremikaem , ‘Power in Community Conference,’ Alliance for Healthier Communities June 2021
[2] Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Canada. BLM is resolutely committed to the abolitionist struggle for Black liberation. Black Legal Action Centre.
[3] Iqaliut during her time as Nunavut’s MP and accused the federal government of refusing to provide Inuit with basic human rights in the House of Commons Tuesday night. How many others feel this way every single day.

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