TORONTO, March 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Since it first opened its doors in 1997, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) has striven to embody the principle that now forms the theme of this year's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21), which is "Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today."
Created as a direct outcome of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, and entrusted with the mandate to help eliminate racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canada, the CRRF undertakes programming across the country that is designed to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and, through dialogue, build a more harmonious future centred around shared Canadian values.
"Arthur Miki, who played a pivotal role in the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, rightly observed that through its work, the CRRF brings to all the people of Canada the promise to work toward the creation of a society that ensures equality and justice for all, regardless of race, colour or ethnic origin," said Anita Bromberg, Executive Director, CRRF.
In the immortal words of the philosopher George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This must involve taking heed of the lessons of the past, paying close attention to what is happening in the present, and finding solutions and strategies that address the challenges of both.
"Terrible human rights abuses that are still being perpetrated elsewhere in the world today make us cognizant of just how far Canada has come, both in everyday life and through official recognition, in the work of righting past wrongs," said Albert Lo, Chairperson, CRRF. "Yet there is no cause for complacency, as the many troubling incidents that have occurred here recently – including violence against Aboriginal women, denial of services based on race or skin colour, the defacement of religious institutions, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and open hostility against Muslims – make it clear that Canadians must continue to work together to confront racism and its underlying causes."
Almost two-thirds of Canadians are concerned about a rise in racism, according to a recent CRRF survey. The solution lies in coming together under the banner of shared Canadian values – identified in the survey as including civility, respect and inclusion – to reach a common understanding of citizenship and multiculturalism's rights and obligations that will lead to a stronger, more inclusive Canada wherein racism against one will be condemned as racism against all.
"Everyone – students, educators, communal agencies, religious institutions, unions and government – has a vital role to play and the CRRF's Our Canada project is designed to expressly engage in discussions and activities that recognize diversity as a national asset, and promote core Canadian values and civic responsibility as a positive contribution to building a stronger country," Bromberg added. "The Our Canada project's 10 initiatives culminate in the historic opportunity to celebrate these values and traditions as part of Canada's sesquicentennial in 2017."
Visit www.crrf-fcrr.ca for more information about the Our Canada project and the CRRF surveys.
SOURCE Canadian Race Relations Foundation
For further information: CRRF Executive Director: Anita Bromberg, [email protected], 416-508-9033