Sun, Mar 21|
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
A VIRTUAL FORUM on the theme of Understanding Racial Discrimination, Promoting Anti-Racism: Reflections on Experiences in Canada, USA & the Philippines & United Nations’ measures
Time & Location
Mar 21, 2021, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. MDT
About The Event
Vision & Rationale:
In 1979, March 21st was declared by the UN General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to recognize the day when a peaceful demonstration against the then racist apartheid system in South Africa was violently repressed, killing 69 protesters. Affirming the 1969 International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, this International Day commences a week of solidarity with all peoples who are struggling against racism and racial discrimination. On March 21st annually, millions of peoples and many Governments, agencies and institutions conduct activities reiterating that all human beings are equal and dignity and rights and that seek to dismantle doctrines and policies of discrimination based on false beliefs of “racial superiority”.
As member states of the UN, Canada, USA and the Philippines have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. However, the problem of “racial” and/or “ethnic” discrimination has continued over the decades in these and many other countries. In this regard, the recent campaigns and protests against systemic racism that were catalyzed by the “Black Lives Movement have also emerged around the world.. While strongly supporting the campaign of #BLM advocates to eliminate systemic racism against people who identify as blacks or people of African descent , Canadians, Filipinos and Americans of many other cultural and “racialized” identities , including indigenous peoples, Asians and Latinos have also raised their voices against all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has also disproportionately impacted on “racialized” or ethnic communities in North America and Europe.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, it is timely and relevant therefore for LINGAP-Canada to provide a virtual Forum to share ideas and experiences of “racial” and “ethnic” discrimination” in Canada, Philippines and USA, as well as programs and activities seeking to dismantle such discrimination (e.g. anti-racism, intercultural/multicultural education and solidarity etc). The virtual Forum will initially present the views of six panelists on the theme of “Understanding Racial Discrimination , Promoting Anti-Racism: Reflections on Experiences in Canada and the Philippines”, including:
Bernadette Iahtail is co-founder and executive director of Creating Hope Society, a society founded for the survivors of the “The Sixties and Seventies Scoop of Aboriginal Children in Care”. Bernadette is an active member of Edmonton Coalition for Human Rights, Aboriginal coalitions, the Edmonton Aboriginal Leadership Team and Stony Plain Wapekin Leadership Team. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 John Humphrey Centre Gerald L. Gall Award for Peace and Human Rights, the 2018 Diversity Award “Friends of Diversity” and the 2018 Star Blanket Award from Stony Plain Child and Family Services. Bernadette’s 60’s child welfare scoop life documentary is in the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bernadette holds a social work diploma from UNBC as well as many certificates including Indigenous Leadership certificates from the Banff Centre. A member of the Anti-Racism Advisory Council of Alberta, she will be reflecting on the impact of racism on Indigenous peoples in Canada and ways to overcome such discrimination.
Funke Olokude is an Intercultural relationship facilitator and educator working to highlight the complex intersecting realities of vulnerable and marginalized individuals and families. Over the past fifteen years, she has continuously promoted equity in policy and practice that led to transformational relationships between individuals and within systems. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, a Masters degree in Education and she is a registered social worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers. In 2020, Funke was named Top 40 under 40 for her continued work in influencing policy and practice across various sectors in Alberta. She currently serves on the board of the Edmonton Logos Society and the convener of a Community Leadership Circle for cultural minority and racialized groups. Funke will share experiences and concerns of racial discrimination faced by Black Canadians.
Dr. Glenda Tibe Bonifacio is a full professor at the University of Lethbridge. She is the chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies, co-founder of the Support Network for Academics of Colour Plus (SNAC+) in Lethbridge, and co-founder of the Filipino Academics Network Canada (FAN-C). Glenda is the author of Pinay on the Prairies: Filipino Women and Transnational Identities (UBC Press), editor of 4 books, and co-editor of 5 books related to gender, migration, religion, and feminism. Glenda will discuss issues of racial and ethnic discrimination experienced by Filipino-Canadians
Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi is is President of the Greater Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) whose objectives include “to strive for equal rights and liberties for all persons in Canada, irrespective of and not limited to race, colour, creed, national origin or sex” and “to promote and encourage Japanese Canadians to work together on matters of concern to all Canadians and undertake collective action for a better Canada and a world free from racism, poverty, inequality and war”. She has a broad base of experience in diverse non-profit settings including education, healthcare, community services and social justice. She is the founder of gala that raised funds for AIDS-orphans in Ethiopia, was team lead for a group sponsoring Syrian refugees and spent 12 years chairing school parent councils to ensure the majority, Asian students, were represented. Lynn will reflect on how racial and ethnic discrimination has affected the lives of Japanese Canadians from their arrival in Canada in 1877 and how historical racism is relevant and connected to the current moment and what can be done now to address racism and discrimination.
Dr. Robert Zuber is Director of UN-based Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict where he directs a team of researchers, advocates and interns monitoring all facets of the UN's work on peace and security. He also serves as consultant, adviser or board member to non-profit and educational organizations including Green Map System, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Cameroon, Global Connections Television, and the New York and California chapters of Women in International Security. He holds degrees in philosophy, theology, psychology and education from Yale and Columbia Universities and formerly worked with Human Rights Watch. Based in Harlem and long-active in promoting culturally diverse communities, he will reflect on current challenges associated with identifying and combatting racial and ethnic discrimination in the United States. He will also assess UN measures to address such discrimination.
Dr. Virginia (Jean) Cawagasis Adjunct Professor in Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta. She has a Doctorate in Peace and Development, MS in Educational Management and BS in Education. She has extensive teaching and research experiences in peace and development education, curriculum development, education for sustainable development, global education, and multicultural education. She has taught courses, lectured, and conducted workshops in these fields for graduate students, teachers, academics, school administrators, community leaders, soldiers, and civil servants in various North and South countries including Canada and the Philippines, where she was also formerly Executive Secretary of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. She is a founding member of LINGAP Institute and LINGAP-Canada. Virginia will present an overview of racial and ethnic discrimination in the Philippines and explore strategies to overcome such discrimination.
The Forum will be moderated by:
Dr. Lucenia Ortiz who currently works as a planner with the City of Edmonton’s Community Services department. She has extensive experience in the non-profit sector in the Philippines and Edmonton where she served as Co-Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op. Lucenia is also a founding member of the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition in 2004, President of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Edmonton and a member of LINGAP--Canada. Her degrees include a BSc and MA (Philippines) and a PhD (Alberta). An active advocate for the health and well-being of migrants, she was appointed Co-Chair of the first Anti-Racism Council of Alberta.