The labour movement has a responsibility to respond to refugee crises | The Ontario Federation of Labour

The labour movement has a responsibility to respond to refugee crises

The labour movement has always stepped up to challenges, and accepting refugees into our community is no different, according to Sharon Simpson, the Special Projects Coordinator for Labour Community Services.

Simpson and David Rapaport, CUPE Local 3908, presented a short video from the United Nations Refugee Agency to delegates at the OFL’s Power of Many convention on Wednesday.

After the video, they talked about the many ways those who are trying to divide us all promote fear and hatred to weaken the movement and distract from the real issues and real adversaries.

Simpson said there are those who try to stir up fear and promote division, identifying refugees as someone who dresses differently, speaks a different language and does not look like what so much of the country’s leadership looks like.

“I remember a time when addressing systemic racism was fashionable. It’s gone out of style a little bit,” Simpson said, encouraging delegates to keep up the fight.

Both Simpson and Rapaport encouraged delegates to reject the myths that surround refugees, such as the idea that they are jumping the immigration queue, and share the facts with their families, colleagues and communities.

“If your life is in danger. You run. Plain and Simple. You don’t stand and wait for the help to come to you,” said Rapaport.