IWOC 2022 Recording is available on our YouTube Now! Click here to watch it!
The Indigenous and Workers of Colour Conference is back with more action-packed workshops, inspiring speakers, and opportunities to connect with other union members across all sectors of the economy. IWOC is brought to you by the Equity Committee. The committee felt strongly that this IWOC must be about taking action. The time for talking about injustice is past. Now, we are building power to make change a reality - and we're doing it on our own terms. That's why this year’s theme is “The Racialized Majority – Know our worth, normalize our power, and take what’s ours”.
This year's event will feature a keynote by Nicholas Marcus Thompson, who is a labour leader and activist and the lead plaintiff in the Black Class Action lawsuit against the Public Service of Canada.
A moderated panel of speakers who have demonstrated leadership for racialized workers in their respective sectors will give remarks on the theme. We look forward to announcing the full panel soon.
Attendees will participate in one of five workshops that are geared toward personal growth, skills development, and especially, taking action. Each of the five workshops are led by experienced facilitators who have personal and professional appreciation for the strength that comes from knowing our worth, normalizing our power, and taking what's ours. The workshops are:
- Workshop - Owning Our Music - facilitated by Rick Shadrach Lazar
A study of the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Samba
Beauty was born from the brutality of the slave trade. The music created by the Africans brought to Brazil created a sense of unity among people from different regions of Africa, created a remembrance of their homelands through song and dance and ultimately became a vehicle of protest against the colonial rulers.
In this workshop, we will briefly study the history of the musical development of the Samba created by
West Africans in Brazil concentrate on a simplified version of the musical tools of Samba.
Participants can use household items like buckets, utensils and frying pans to play a simple, unified rhythm that can infuse energy into a rally.
The concept of a drum rhythm is the same as the union slogan United We Stand. In a drum group, all the little parts work together to form the BIG RHYTHM.
The BIG RHYTHM can infuse energy into a rally and with the addition of songs and chants can be used as a tool to protest injustice and spur change.
- Workshop - Protecting Our Land - facilitated by Courtney Skye
This Land Claims Us In Our Bodies
The workshop will be a reflection on Indigenous connections to land and why land defense is vital to affirming the rights of Indigenous people being able to recognize their whole humanity.
This will be a guided discussion on positioning ourselves in relationship to Indigenous action and the push for Indigenous liberation. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on where each person is and learn how to build capacity to act in solidarity at all levels.
Courtney will reflect on these issues and concerns through stories and personal experience at 1492 Land Back Lane at Six Nations of the Grand River, and from her experience working in government and Indigenous organizations. Through the workshop, participants will understand the importance of land to Indigenous identities and why Indigenous peoples are willing to put their lives on the line to maintain the connection to the land.
- Workshop - Building Our Power - facilitated by Milan Nadarajah and Rajean Hoilett
Because of workers like you, a $20 minimum wage, 10 paid sick days, equal pay for equal work, real protections for gig workers, and challenging unfairness like Bill 124 were front and centre issues in the Ontario election.
But now that the election is over, our demands for justice are NOT over! How can we keep up the pressure to ensure decent work and wages for union and non-workers? What can we do to beat back the corporate attack? How can we make sure that we are fighting for racial justice in the workplace? In this workshop, we'll talk about what the Ontario election results mean for our labour movement and the tactics to continue building our organizing. Strategies and upcoming actions will be discussed as steps forward in fighting for Justice for Workers for all workers.
- Workshop - Growing Our Community - facilitated by Sharon Simpson and Keith Menezes
Racialized Majority & Refugee Next Door
This workshop will examine what it means for Indigenous and racialized people to confront racism amidst an increasing Indigenous population and the racialized majority population in cities like Markham and Toronto. Participants will get an overview of the potential power in this population shift as Indigenous, and racialized people recognize their worth and normalize their power. It will also speak to our collective responsibilities to support refugees and newcomers.
- Workshop - Telling Our Stories - facilitated by Mike Perry
Stories for a change
For each one of us, what is our story? What moments reflect our values? What choices to act have made a difference in our lives and the lives of others?
This session creates a brave space to explore how our inner narratives can inspire us - and others - to act for change.
Stories communicate our values in the language of the heart. Our hopes, care, and emotions can give us the courage to act. As a common language of humanity, stories also convey choices and wisdom and bring understanding to face difficult situations and uncertain outcomes because each of us is the protagonist in our own life story, facing everyday challenges, authoring our own choices, and learning from the outcomes. Stories allow us to express our values not as abstract concepts but as lived experiences with the power to move others.
This workshop will help participants identify and develop their personal stories of action with concrete tips on linking them to inspire others to work for the change we want to see in the world.
Requiring some boldness, the workshop will go beyond creating a safe to empowering a brave space of sharing, self-realization, and activism.
If you already know your preferences, we encourage you to register now to hold your space and avoid disappointment.
Ticket price is $20 per registrant.
Please note that payment must be made via cheque made out to the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and mailed to our office at 15 Gervais Dr., Ste. 407, Don Mills, ON M3C 1Y8.
As an alternative to electronic registration, the paper registration form may be printed and mailed in with payment.
For unions: Individual registrations can be submitted electronically (via the RSVP below) or on paper. Payment should be submitted in one lump sum by cheque with one copy of the registration form attached.
The IWOC Conference hosts over 200 union members each year. RSVP today!
Map and directions