November 22, 2017
Following honest and productive discussion on human rights resolutions, the OFL convention heard from Jeewan Chanicka. Chanicka is an educator and community activist who lives in Toronto, Ontario and most recently worked at the Inclusive Education Branch within Ontario’s Ministry of Education.
Chanicka spoke directly to workers affected by racism, colonialism, and other systems of oppression. He recognized both the macro and micro-aggressions that workers of colour and Indigenous workers face daily.
To the room, Chanicka said, “The work that you do every day ensures that human rights are protected. Unions have always been great protectors.”
The young activist also highlighted the unique position of unions and trade unionists in protecting the most vulnerable among us, saying,“We are settlers and we have to make sure that we stand up for the rights of all indigenous peoples.”
In a direct call for loving, meaningful challenges to systems of oppression, Chanicka said, “Love is courageous and honest. Love is how we move towards justice and truth.”
He reminded delegates that the push for justice and for human rights for all takes courage, and is hard work. But it is necessary work that we take on for the next generation.
In closing, Chanicka highlighted that, “Our work is anchored in hope. If we did not believe we could make a difference then we wouldn’t be here today”
Delegates continue to discuss human rights resolution at the convention, and have committed to take action on the recommendations of the OFL 2018-19 Action Plan, towards building a more just and equitable province for all.
Chanicka is a regular contributor at Huffington Post, read his columns here.