Greetings,

Unifor supports Indigenous communities in the push for justice and reconciliation. I am proud to share our union’s support for Orange Shirt Day, September 30, as we voice our respect and love for residential school survivors. 

Canada’s residential school system caused great harm and suffering to Indigenous families and nations. The intergenerational effects of the violence and abuse suffered there are still felt by many, and can be seen through the current suicide crisis in northern First Nations communities, among other injustices. Unifor members should listen to the stories of survivors and their families, and speak up to say, “Every child matters.”

Orange shirt day was founded to recognize the experiences of residential school survivors, with one woman’s story in particular. To learn about Phyllis’s Story please visit www.orangeshirtday.org.

Unifor recognizes that to move toward recognition and reconciliation, Indigenous children must know that they are loved and valued. At this year’s Education Conference, delegates heard the lived experiences of four residential school survivors, as well as stories from Unifor members present.

Bearing witness, listening to these stories, and then taking action against colonialism and violence is all part of the project of reconciliation that Unifor is committed to fully participating in.

Please participate in Orange Shirt Day events over the next week and on September 30. Your participation can help show these survivors that they are heard. 

Here are three ways that members can open conversation and share messages of support on Orange Shirt Day:

  1. Print the poster available at unifor.org/aboriginalworkers to start a conversation about Orange Shirt Day and reconciliation in your workplace or Local.

  2. Wear an orange shirt, post a picture with your message of support using #OrangeShirtDay and #Unifor. Send your photo to us at communications@unifor.org.

  3. Visit Unifor Canada on Facebook on Sunday and use the Orange Shirt Day Unifor profile picture frame.

All people in Canada should learn this history and become a part of genuine efforts to foster hope and healing and change the dark past into a brighter future.

 In Solidarity,

 

Christine Maclin
Director, Human Rights