Thoughts from the Peoples of Color Caucus

January 2013

Thoughts and questions from the people of color caucus

We are thankful of being at the unceded Algonquin territory this launch is taking place on and for the inspiration that Idle No More and Indigenous nations provide us.

We honor all the Original peoples of Turtle Land and we honor the diverse lands of the Original peoples of Turtle Island on which we individually reside. We recognize the legacy of all indigenous teachings across this continent and the world. We are committed to working in solidarity as allies with the Indigenous caucus and the Original peoples of Turtle Island, in words and actions again colonization and against other forms of oppression as well as in supporting the needs of your nations.

We are happy that some of the struggles and dreams that unite communities of color and all peoples who are present here today were included in the discussions yesterday.

We wish to ask for reflection in this process, by means of sharing our collective thoughts, feelings and questions.

1. Yesterday, the invisibility of the struggles that are particular to communities of color was felt strongly in this space. Particular struggles that communities of color could speak to include but are not limited to: police brutality and imprisonment, Immigration laws that render peoples of color as non-people, education and media systems that
continue to be racist and colonial, poverty, and many other relationships of exclusion

2. This invisibility is also explicit in the naming of the proposed social forum. Many peoples of colour do not identify with nationalist blocs of Canada and Quebec and are actively excluded for example; temporary migrant workers and non-status people are legally excluded and face evictions from Canada everyday. We can speak of the tragic death of Ge Genbao and Lui Honglaing, in 2007 in the tarsands and the subsequent deportation of 130 immigrant workers after this tragedy. It is important to note that 1 in 20 people in Canada are not Canadian.

3. We feel that it is important to understand different processes that make up Canada and Canadian society, for example colonization and also imperialism and interventionism, slavery, and indentured labor that is historic and ongoing, that particularly targets women and children of color? Canada presents itself as a paragon of human rights,
but Canada as well as Canadian civil society has been complicit in genocide and dispossession of communities across the global South.
For example, Canadian corporations are involved in destructive mining operations around the globe.

4. Peoples of color around the world are bearing the brunt of all the issues we are talking about: austerity, climate change, militarism, extraction, patriarchy, capitalism, dispossession of lands and labor exploitation that benefits the Canadian state and peoples. How do we make this a part of local actions?

5. We feel that it is important to recognize the importance of our diverse cultures and identities, including the role of youth and grassroots communities as active creative thinkers in the modeling of a better society, and the struggles to achieve it.

We assert that movements and groups representing communities of color struggles need to be part of active leadership and decision making roles of the social forum at all levels

We are available to be part of the processes that make sure that all these concerns are an important part of developing the elements that will make the social forum an inclusive space, not only for communities of color, but for all peoples that experience diverse forms of oppression.

We ask that the social forum be grounded in both unity and the meaningful and practical considerations of the particularities of struggles as evidenced by the common, different and complex oppressions that we all face.

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