Social injustices happening in Canada and worldwide, and what you can do about it
By Avreet Jagdev
The World Day of Social Justice takes place annually on February 20th. It is a day observed internationally, recognizing the importance of social justice – which includes the promotion of human rights and equity, specifically targeting issues such as racial and gender inequality, LGBTQIA+ rights, access to housing, education, and healthcare.
In light of this day, here is a look at some social injustices happening in Canada as well as worldwide — and how you can help make a difference.
- Grassy Narrows
Grassy Narrows is an Indigenous community situated in the province of Ontario. The Grassy Narrows community has and continues to go through a number of traumas. In addition to the historical horrors of residential schools and the Indian Act, Grassy Narrows is ongoingly fighting for their rights and facing injustices. Their water has been contaminated by mercury, and their land has been used for logging and mining without their permission. This unceded exploitation of their land is a grave injustice.
To support the community of Grassy Narrows, you can visit their take action page.
- Violence against Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People
Four out of five Indigenous women in Canada experience some form of violence in their lifetime, and Indigenous women are murdered more than 10 times the national average. What’s more is that violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people is too often faced with little to no media attention or government action, making it easier for perpetrators to continue committing their gender and race based violence.
To take action in regards to MMIWG2S (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People), you can visit the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women’s call to action.
- The Overturning of Roe V. Wade – which takes away millions of Americans’ right to abortion
Roe V. Wade was a landmark decision in the United States that ruled that it was every American’s right to access abortion. In June 2022, this ruling was overturned – meaning that reproductive rights were peddled back, and it was now up to the states to decide whether abortion would stay legal. Since the reversal of Roe V. Wade, millions of Americans have had their access to reproductive healthcare taken away – and this ruling disproportionately affects women of colour.
You can take action on the reversal of Roe V. Wade by visiting Amnesty International’s page on the issue.
- Police Brutality
The term police brutality refers to the excessive use of violence and force by police officials. This is a worldwide issue that disproportionately impacts people of colour, because many incidents are fuelled by racism. Many studies and statistics point to this, such as the fact that in the US, Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by the police than white men. Police violence has taken away too many lives, and an important first step in taking action is recognizing those who have been affected by police brutality. This resource highlights some cases of police brutality that have resulted in the death of Black Americans.
You can make a difference by researching how much funding is allocated for police in your city. If you believe that money could be better used somewhere else (housing, food banks, community programs), write to your mayor or call your city councilor about your concerns. You can also sign petitions to ensure those who commit police violence are held accountable.
For any issue of social justice, the most important way you can be a part of the solution is by staying informed. It’s this knowledge that is key to taking action towards justice.