..we are a social justice union...
2015-2016 CTA Social Justice Committee Report:
Parween Irani, Social Justice Chair
This was a busy year for the CTA’s Social Justice Committee. Here is a brief summary of our projects to date:
September and October 2015:
Community and Networking Events: The events that our members took part in included, Rally for the Valley, Climate Convergence, KAIROS conference on hydraulic fracturing, and Our Common Home: Climate Change Conference hosted by SFU’s Institute for the Humanities. Get Out the Vote: In the month of October, the focus shifted to helping Chilliwack residents get out to vote, from running information booths with joint non-partisan community groups through to attending, helping arrange carpooling for registering to vote and taking part in the advanced voting dates. Of significant note is the increased outreach in our local Stó:lō community, culminating with the all-candidates’ debate at the Stó:lō Nation offices and the First Nations Student Union at UFV’s work in getting Stó:lō youth engaged in the election. Outreach with Local Stó:lō: The Social Justice Committee also represented the CTA in the historic Stó:lō honouring ceremony of the four Tsilhqot'in chiefs whose 2014 Supreme Court of Canada’s case is the first time in Canadian history that the courts formally acknowledged that a particular First Nations has title to its land.
November and December 2015:
“This Changes Everything” Film Night: Our community screening brought together members of the CTA, CUPE, BCGEU, members of our local climate justice activist community, First Nations, and interfaith organizations to discuss the issue of climate change and how residents of Chilliwack can move towards community actions to both combat and adapt to the new reality of climate change. Action Committee: Members of the CTA, interfaith communities, and our local chapter of the Council of Canadians are in the process of supporting our Syrian refugee families. Thank you to those who helped to gather donations of everything from grocery store gift cards and household goods through to clothing. Global Climate March on Nov. 29th: Members of the CTA carpooled to the Vancouver Art Gallery for the Global Climate March, which placed an added emphasis on how climate change is fueling global conflict, especially in light of the events taking place in Syria.
January and February 2016:
Food Security Project: Martin Armstrong is following up with the Valley Permaculture Guild to look into bringing her team to CSS and speaking to Rick Joe for a pilot project that aims to a) bring healthy, locally sourced fruit and veggies from gleaning the less marketable items from our local farms, due to damage, irregular size, etc.; b) educate students about ourStó:lō traditional harvests (stinging nettles, chanterelle mushrooms, and smoked salmon); and c) expand the project to other school-based food programs to provide the healthiest food that we can on an ongoing basis.
“Fractured Land” Screening: 75 people attended our screening of “Fractured Land” on the UN’s World Water Day, March 22nd. Our panel included guest speakers Sakje Ward and Emma Lui, who shared different perspectives on the issue of water security. We raised $460 in donations for Unist'ot'en, Madii Lii, and Lelu Island.
Refugee Action Committee: The last Social Justice event of the year was a fundraiser for our Eastern Fraser Valley Refugee Committee to support our sponsored refugee families. Lawrence Hill, author of award-winning Book of Negros and The Illegal, spoke about refugees, his fiction, and the connection to world events. New Social Justice Committee Members Needed: With the provincial election in May of 2017, my other volunteer projects are devouring more of my time and energy, so I will not be running as the CTA Social Justice Rep for the 2016-2017 academic year, but I encourage anyone to come on board to help with creating social justice events in the district. The inspiring and innovative community members you meet and befriend will make it all worthwhile.