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Committee contacts

Committee Chairperson

Bobby-Joe Borodey

Committee Member

Atul Verma

Committee Member

Ana Neves

Committee Member

Ai Kaneko

Committee Member

Kathryn Henneberg

Committee Member

Nova Porquia

Committee Member

Odain Brown

Staff Advisor

Jake Evans

Staff Admin

Kelly Steele

Committee news

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Your Human Rights Committee

AUPE's Human Rights Committee meeting photo from Feb 12 2020

Left to right: Front: Atul Verma Local 095 Calgary (Vice Chair), Emille Currie, Local 002 Edmonton (former committee Chair), Nova Porquia Local 047 Red Deer, Ai Kaneko Local 006 Calgary, Kelly Steele (Staff Admin)

Back: Ana Neves Local 046 Edmonton, Leslie Marquardt Local 071 Edmonton (former committee member), Jason Pilot (former committee member), Kate Henneberg Local 045 Calgary, Jake Evans (Staff Advisor), Odain Brown Local 006 Edmonton

For any questions, please contact: humanrightscommittee@aupe.org

Duties of the Human Rights Committee

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AUPE’s Constitution sets out the duties of the Human Rights Committee as follows:

The Human Rights Committee shall:

  1. educate and promote awareness to the members and the public on equality, discrimination, current and related issues, especially as they relate to human rights issues;
  2. encourage and support involvement of members affected by human rights issues in Union activities, events and educational activities;
  3. promote involvement and support by AUPE members-at-large and communities affected by human rights issues;
  4. initiate action and participate in meetings, conferences, conventions and educational events on issues of concern related to human rights issues and coordinate these activities with other committees and organizations;
  5. lobby all levels of government and respectively human rights committees/commissions regarding human rights issues of concern to members;
  6. coordinate with all other public service unions and federations;
  7. review human rights legislation and regulations and promote and lobby for positive change;
  8. draft policies, briefs and other presentations on issues of human rights concern;
  9. report regularly to Provincial Executive and Convention; and
  10. establish a resource base on human rights issues to identify, analyze and exchange information with other groups.
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Truth and Reconciliation

Learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Human Rights Committee’s TRC Brochure!

Resources

  • If you are attending Convention and have special requirements for diet or access, please fill out this form by the deadline!
  • Alberta Human Rights Commission – Find out more about human rights in Alberta. Remember, in many cases you can file a grievance under your collective agreement rather than file a complaint with the commission; check with AUPE first! Call 1-800-232-7284.

Human Rights Committee 2020 Interfaith Calendar

Click to view the Human Rights Committee's 2020 Interfaith Calendar

Download a printable copy of the 2020 Interfaith Calendar

Human Rights days of recognition

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The Human Rights Committee recognizes these days each year:

February

  • Black History Month
    • Black History Month brings attention to the hardships African Canadians have endured and continue to endure, and helps all Canadians understand the role the Black community has played in our history. The first known black person to set foot in Canada did so sometime between 1603 and 1608. His name was Mathieu de Costa, and he was a translator for a French merchant-explorer named Pierre Du Gua. The first black person to live in Canada was Olivier Le Jeune, a slave from Madagascar. Slavery was abolished across the world by 1834, but African Canadians have endured discrimination and racism since that time. Black History Month gives us an opportunity to take the time to learn about this facet of our history.
    • Websites: Black History Canada, Alberta Human Rights Commission - Black History

March

  • March 21 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

April

  • April 17 – Equality Day
    • Equality Day marks the coming into force of the equality provisions (Sections 15 and 28) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17, 1985. The charter was signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on April 17, 1982, however Section 15 was not implemented for three years to allow jurisdictions to analyse their laws and amend them as necessary.

May

  • May – Asian Heritage Month
    • May is declared Asian Heritage Month by the Government of Canada. This statement is in place to acknowledge the contributions Asian Canadians have made to Canadian Society. This recognition was inaugurated in 1993 and has been celebrated and continues to be celebrated by many Canadian cities, including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Halifax.
       
  • May 1 – International Workers’ Day
     
  • May 2 – Holocaust Remembrance Day
    • Holocaust Remembrance Day allows people to take time to remember and reflect on the atrocities that occurred in Nazi occupied territory during the Second World War. Less than seven decades ago, millions of people were rounded up, ghettoized, experimented upon, and murdered. As inconceivable as this was, genocides continue to happen today. Holocaust Remembrance Day is also a day to learn how to prevent genocides from occurring in the future.
       
  • May 21 – World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
    • Diversity Day is an opportunity to help communities understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony. It was adopted in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

June

  • June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day
    • National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the unique cultures, heritage, and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated annually on the 21 of June, which is also Indigenous History Month. National Indigenous Peoples Day starts the “Celebrate Canada” days and is followed by St. Jean Baptiste Day (June 24), Canada Multiculturalism Day (June 27), and concludes with Canada Day (July 1st). National Indigenous Peoples Day gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to share and celebrate Indigenous values, customs, language, and culture.

August

  • First Monday – Heritage Day
     
  • August 12 – International Youth Day
     
  • August 23 – International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
    • The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is annually observed on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. It gives people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of slave trade. In late August, 1791, an uprising began in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that would have a major effect on abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. The slave rebellion in the area weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence. It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade and colonialism. International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999. Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reminds the international community about the importance of commemorating this day. This date also pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.

September

  • September 8 – International Literacy Day
    • The United Nations’ (UN) International Literacy Day annually falls on September 8 to raise people’s awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world. According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration on the day because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed a 10-year period beginning on January 1, 2003, as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The assembly also welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided for UNESCO to take a coordinating role in activities at an international level within the decade’s framework. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. This day was first celebrated on September 8, 1966.
       
  • September 21 – International Day of Peace
    • International Day of Peace is also known as World Peace Day and occurs on September 21. This day is dedicated to peace, and specifically to the “absence of war” such as what would occur as a ceasefire in a combat zone. The Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York, New York, USA. The Peace Bell is very significant in that it was cast from donated coins from children from all the continents. It was a gift to the UN Association of Japan as a reminder of the “human cost of war.” The inscription on the bell reads “long live absolute world peace.” Individuals often wear white peace doves to commemorate the International Day of Peace. The first celebration was held on Tuesday, September 21, 1982.

October

  • October 10 - World Mental Health Day
    • October 10th marks World Mental Health Day. The importance of this day is to raise awareness about mental health issues and be a reminder of the work still required to make mental health care and supports available for all people worldwide. While mental health has become a more common topic in workplaces, schools, and communities in recent years, many barriers continue that stop people from accessing care including stigma. Stigma and discrimination against individuals living with mental health concerns are reported as one of the greatest barriers to people living a full and satisfying life. Acknowledging World Mental Health Day provides the opportunity to help reduce the stigma so that more people can reach out for help.
       
  • October 17 – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

November

  • November 16 – International Day of Tolerance
    • 1995 was the United Nations Year of Tolerance, and at the UN General Assembly in 1996, the UN invited member states to observe a day for tolerance each year on Nov. 16. On the Day of Tolerance, the UN reaffirms its commitment to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations, and peoples.
       
  • November 25-December 10 – 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

December

  • December 3 – International Day for Persons with Disabilities
    • December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. People with disabilities still face barriers to inclusion in the workplace, in schools and in our society. Removing barriers for people with disabilities empowers individuals to fully participate and contribute in society.
       
  • December 10 – International Human Rights Day
    • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948. In 1950, the General Assembly declared the anniversary of that date International Human Rights Day. Traditionally, the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and the Nobel Peace Prize are awarded on this day.