Major Matthew Hung (Left) speaks with panel regarding racial discrimination during the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination Event taking place in the Military Family Resource Center (MFRC) Theater, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta on March 17th 2023 – All photos from Corporal Alisa Strelley, Royal Canadian Air Force Imagery Technician
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An interactive discussion on racism and bigotry took place among 4 Wing members, including the Wing Commander, on March 17th. The event, hosted in conjunction with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), was organized by the 4 Wing Defence Visible Minority Advisory Group (DVMAG). As a representative and consultative body for Canadian Armed Forces members, the DVMAG was established in 1994.
The discussion included some information on the services that the DVMAG provides members, the showing of a film entitled Good Hair: Perceptions of Racism, and a panel talk featuring moderator Major Matthew Hung, Major Rick Quickfall, Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Roesler-Yue, 4 Wing Commander Colonel Dave Turenne and 4 Wing Chief Warrant Officer Lee Darling, along with City of Cold Lake Councillor Bill Parker and Reflexology by Mecell owner Mecell Pilon.
The panel members shared personal experiences with instances of bigotry, bias racism and sexism. Afterwards, the panel took questions from the audience on topics such as leadership’s role in stopping behaviour and how members can ensure an equitable workplace.
“I was very pleased with the turnout for our discussion,” said 4 Wing DVMAG Military Co-Chair Captain Abiodun Abati. “Members hopefully learned to ‘be each other’s keeper”. I also enjoyed the quote from Mr Parker’s speech. He said ‘We both bleed the same way,
we are humans.’ “
It’s important for members to take action if they encounter bigotry or unfair treatment, Abati says.
“Members should speak up and let the other member be aware of it. Resolution starts with communicating.”
IDERD 2023 marked 75 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (UN). March 21st, the official day IDERD is hosted, marks the 63rd anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre when 69 people were killed and over 180 injured after being shot by police while protesting racial laws in South Africa.