Canada is often ranked as “the best place to live.” We often perceive Canada to be a friendly and accepting place. But for some it is a place where they experience racism.
Racism is a system of oppression. It is fed by individual and collective attitudes, and by actions that discriminate against, oppress, exclude, and limit ethnic groups based on their race and/or colour of their skin. It is also a system of privilege that gives White people in North America unearned economic, social, political, and cultural advantages.
For centuries an olive branch has symbolized peace.
Greek and Roman cultures used the symbol as early as 2,500 years ago. The dual image of a dove with an olive branch has been a Christian symbol of peace since the end of the first century CE. This comes (in part) from Genesis 8:11, which tells of a dove sent from Noah’s ark and returning with an olive branch.
The symbol continues today. In Palestine, olive oil is the primary source of income for about 75,000 farmers. Olive trees also produce olives for food, soap, jewelry, woodcarving, and firewood.
United Church Women have been very busy this past year, working to keep the issue of child poverty in Canada front and centre among all levels of government. Their Bread not Stones website at www.endchildpoverty.ca, has received stories and news from UCW groups and churches across Canada about their efforts to end child poverty in their areas. Linda Woods shares news about their activities.
It’s the children of Palestine I think about the most!
In the summer of 2015 I spent two months in Susiya, a small village in the South Hebron Hills of Palestine on a UN assignment. The homes of Susiya were once again being threatened with demolition by the Israeli government. The people of Susiya had twice been forced out of their village in recent years. This time they were determined to stand their ground!
Our assignment was to provide a protective presence for the village and advocate for changes in policy. If there was a demolition, there would be witnesses.
Canadians have made huge progress in advancing LGBTI rights here. But what about the rest of the world? Is there something in our experience from which others could draw? How might we act in solidarity with people who live under more repressive regimes?
Since 2010 the people of Grassy Narrows have continued to bring focus to their 50 years of frustration over mercury contaminated water in their community. Every second year they journey to Queen’s Park to lobby the provincial government through their River Run—demanding justice for their people and protection for the waters and forests that give life.
On April 28, 2016 in Ottawa, an impressive turnout of close to 300 people showed up for Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna's townhall for the government's consultation on climate action. This first climate townhall kicked off two months of similar consultations, to be held by Members of Parliament in communities across Canada.
There was a sense of hope, and of moving forward, when on March 31 the United Church made a public statement on adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But without doubt, there were also questions, not the least of which was “why?”
At the Heart of Justiceblog continues the focus on Health Care in Canada with a series by Bill Blaikie, The United Church of Canada’s representative to the Canadian Health Coalition. We offer these personal reflections by Bill as an invitation to move deeper into the many important issues surrounding health care in Canada.