EDMONTON - The Alberta Federation of Labour stands in solidarity with the millions of people protesting systemic racism in the United States, here in Canada, and everywhere in the world.
Racism is real and systemic. It manifests itself in many ways, including police brutality and institutional marginalization.
The first step to eradicating systemic racism is to acknowledge that it exists everywhere. Those who do not acknowledge this fact are part of the problem; part of the reason why systemic racism continues to thrive.
We at the AFL also support the right of citizens to protest, even if those protests get messy or offend the sensibilities of some.
Protest is meant to disrupt and change ingrained patterns of behavior. In order to be effective, protest needs to make those in power uncomfortable. That’s why there will never be a completely “acceptable” form of protest that is also effective.
We in Alberta’s labour movement know that governments are often resistant to systemic change. In fact, even in democracies, they will sometimes go to extreme lengths to defend the status quo by limiting or criminalizing protest – as the Alberta government did recently with Bill 1.
That’s why we will continue to stand in solidarity with those who fight racism – and why we will continue to defend their right to protest, even if those protests make more privileged and powerful members of our society feel uncomfortable.
Director of Communications, AFL