Dr. Cindy Blackstock: we can do better

Delegates were inspired by fearless human rights and child welfare advocate, Dr. Cindy Blackstock, who took the CLC convention stage on Tuesday afternoon.

CLC President Hassan Yussuff presented Dr. Blackstock with the CLC’s Award for Outstanding Service to Humanity.

“We would like to give you this award for your courage, for your conviction, for your tireless effort to ensure all children have a fair future in this country, especially First Nations children,” said Yussuff.

“This award is dedicated to the real heroes – the 165,000 First Nations children – that continue to experience racial discrimination by the Canadian government,” said Blackstock.

Holding a stuffed rabbit that she brought to recognize May 10, Bear Witness Day in honour of Jordan River Anderson, Blackstock told delegates that in its 150th year, Canada is at a crossroads.

“There are two legacies we can leave. The one we are living right now, or the one we want our children to grow up in,” she said.

Blackstock highlighted the ongoing funding shortfall for education for First Nations children. Each day this funding shortfall continues, she said, First Nations children are growing up without the education they need.

Blackstock urged the labour movement to join the campaign to get First Nations children what they need to succeed in life.

“We allow this racial discrimination to happen – all of us do – because we have not risen up as people of the period and told the Canadian government ‘no more!’” she said. “We’re better than that.”

“First Nations children are worth the money. Don’t turn the page on these kids. You must wake up every day and think ‘who is it that I can talk to today to make this racial discrimination end?’” she added.

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