To mark UN International Human Rights Day, Mayor Gregor Robertson joined several community leaders in calling on all Vancouverites to stand up against discrimination. The Mayor and community leaders announced they are signing the 101 Days of Action pledge, taking action against discrimination for the next 101 days that culminates in a rally on March 19th marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
“One of Vancouver’s greatest strengths is our diversity. Over the course of the last year we have welcomed refugees from around the world, passed an Access Without Fear policy, and recommitted our efforts to being a City of Reconciliation, but there is more work to be done to ensure Vancouver is a safe and compassionate city for everyone,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The 101 Days of Action pledge demonstrates that we believe in shared values of equality, anti-racism, and freedom from injustice. Recent events around the world and close to home have left many of our loved ones feeling vulnerable, and hate can only be overcome when we stand in solidarity and empower each other to speak out – and call out- discrimination when we see it.”
At today’s rally held at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, the Mayor stood in solidarity with organizations and community groups working to empower vulnerable and marginalized communities, including; Al Jamia Masjid, Battered Women Services Society, Gordon Neighbourhood House, SUCCESS BC, MigranteBC, Multifaith Action Society, Khalsa Diwan Society, Out On Screen, and more.
Representatives from these groups joined the Mayor in signing the 101 Days of Action pledge, which commits to:
a) Speaking out against hate and discrimination of any form in our community;
b) Taking part in a rally to be held on March 19th, 2017, in observance of the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st 2017;
c) During the next 101 Days and beyond, working to build bridges across communities and listen to our fellow citizens with empathy and compassion.
To sign the pledge, visit www.101days.ca
Words from Supporting Organizations:
“S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and its allies and partners are deeply concerned about a growing anti-immigrant sentiment in British Columbia. The recent divisive materials are in themselves a form of violence; and hurtful to the overall community. These should not be tolerated. We appeals to all British Columbians to remain proud, united and vigilant in promoting our province’s shared values of Multiculturalism and Inclusion.”
Queenie Choo, RN, B.ScN, MN, CHE
Chief Executive Officer
“As members of the third largest immigrant community in Vancouver, we have seen racism and discrimination first hand. Because the Philippines remains one of the top source countries of temporary foreign workers and caregivers to Canada, we have also seen how we, as migrant workers in Canada, have been pitted against Canadian workers. This event at the library today underscores that we need to speak out very strongly against racism and that we need to stand together in solidarity, respect and equality. “
Migrante BC and the Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
“Initiatives such as this are important as we face the dual challenge of courageously standing up to hate while responsibly not following the path of hate ourselves. We must endeavor not to see the Other in the people whose actions and words we disagree with. We must work to keep the lines of communication open and be willing to listen to someone's uncomfortable or inconvenient truth. #IWillNotHate”
Multifaith Action Society
“The making of Vancouver as a city entrenched layers of systemic oppression that have manifested in deep and profound ways in the lives of Indigenous people and people of colour. This has had particular impact for women; from missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, refugee and Immigrant women and women fleeing gender persecution, to women and girls experiencing sexual violence and domestic violence, the 101 days of Action Pledge signals the critical renewal in the effort for equity and liberation for all citizens of Vancouver.”
Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director Battered Women’s Support Services
“Racism and discrimination have a long history in Vancouver. The living legacies of the Komagata Maru Episode, still affect us today and guide our work in fostering a more inclusive and understanding city. The 101 Days of Action is a wonderful opportunity to have important conversations making our city more welcoming for everyone.”
Khalsa Diwan Society.
"What makes Vancouver such a beautiful city is the multiculturalism that exists. Students come from so many different backgrounds, and being accepting and welcoming to every person is important in order to assure a peaceful and progressive society."
VSB Student Trustee
"It is heartening to see the City of Vancouver pledging to empower all vulnerable sectors in order to achieve true inclusivity. There is much to be done, but nothing changes without making that first effort, and building upon it with subsequent concrete action. The keys are funding first and foremost, to move change in a measurable and meaningful way, and secondly the support, education, and empowerment of men and youth to embrace and advocate equality for all. It takes those who created the constructs to destroy the constructs, so it is up to the men of Vancouver to play an active role in this campaign. I know that they will rise to the opportunity."
Canadian Liaison, UN Women
“The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs are proud to add our organizations’ names to the 101 Days of Action pledge. Hate has no place in our society, and we are committed to working with you between now and UN International Human Rights Day on March 21, 2017 to further our understanding of each other, build bridges across communities, and listen to our neighbours with empathy and compassion.
The Jewish community has a long and storied history that unfortunately includes several dark chapters. We have been marginalized and targeted with hate, and therefore know all too well how important it is for a society to be built on diversity, respect, and inclusion. Indeed, these are core values of our community, core values we share with all of you who have signed this pledge. In common usage, the Hebrew word Mitzvah means a good deed. Our coming together to stand up to hate is a Mitzvah. We stand with you, our fellow Vancouverites, and we are honoured to join you in fighting against bias and discrimination in our great city for the benefit of everyone who calls it home.”
Ezra S. Shanken, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver
Stephen Gaerber, Board Chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver
Jason Murray, Chair, Local Partner Council, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA-Pacific Region)
Nico Slobinsky, Director, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA-Pacific Region)
"The commemoration of the historic ‘Human Rights Day’ every year is a one day event, but the vigilance it takes to maintain the equality of rights of all is a year round engagement, a ‘welcoming community’ and inclusive place for all. Considering the global political wind presently blowing, a wind of fear and divisiveness, we will need more of us to pull hands to mobilize our communities for trust, cohesion, and unity, and make Vancouver a champion city for others.”
Executive Director, MOSAIC
“Creating inclusive communities is a journey, not a destination. And it will be a journey defined and judged by our actions, not simply our words,” says Out On Screen Executive Director Stephanie Goodwin. “We invite others to join us over the next 101 days to make our communities a place where every queer, trans and two-spirit person can have a real sense of belonging.”
Executive Director, Out On Screen
“Our response to the rise of hate and intolerance must be to build a movement that includes and fights for every member of the working class and the poor. And the BCFED is committed to taking a leadership role in defending the rights of others. We must refuse to accept violence against women, racism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination against people with disabilities, and discrimination against people living in poverty.”
President, BC Federation of Labour
“On behalf of BCGEU’s 70,000 members, I'm honoured to stand with so many allies as we build a more inclusive Vancouver. Hate speech and discrimination have no place in our society. Equity and inclusion are core principles in our union, and we’re proud to recognize Human Rights Day along with our friends in Vancouver.”