“International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reinstates our deep belief that we need policies
that could end systemic racism and ensure racialized people are protected. The past couple of years have
deepened my personal commitment to build a more diverse and inclusive Society.
In a settler colonial state like Canada, systemic racism is deeply rooted in every system of this country. The
systems put in place were designed to benefit white colonists while disadvantaging the Indigenous populations
who had lived here prior to colonialism. This power dynamic continues to be upheld and reinforced in our
society, extending its impact on other new racialized citizens, including African, Chinese, Japanese, South
Asian, Jewish and Muslim Canadians.

Collectively, we at PICS are working to dismantle the barriers to opportunities both in our workforce and the
community we serve. We recognize this is still a work in progress. Because outside of all the commitments and
committees, all the dedications and slogans, there are still painful realities like; the discoveries of unmarked
graves of Indigenous children at residential schools, higher rates of violence and discrimination against
Asians during the pandemic, comments made by politicians about the Filipino community and later the South
Asian community that placed blame on them for transmission of COVID-19, racial profiling of many
communities and systemic discrimination against racialized youth, Quebec’s Bill 21 which is both morally and
legally offensive and would set a dangerous precedent that will significantly erode the rights of women, and
minority religious communities living in Quebec, and increasing Islamophobia with many recent attacks against
Muslims in public places.

Now more than ever, we must continue to stand in solidarity, while also resolutely condemning acts of
discrimination and bias. We can reject actions that threaten our core values or strip others of their fundamental
human rights, while we continue to acknowledge and learn from our own biases. We want Canada to be a true
reflection of the communities that call it home.

Through the PICS Society event A.R.T. – Against Racism Together (#UnitedAgainstRacism), we aim to educate
and inspire communities to eradicate racism and to send a message of solidarity, a message of unity and a
message that we are all coming together from our different communities and we will continue to work for
systemic and meaningful change.

Like Desmond Tutu very rightly said, ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of
the oppressor’. We should always raise our voices against policies, practices, and behaviours which exclude.
We can all push forward in our individual and collective journeys towards anti-racism. We won’t get it right
every time, but should remain committed to do better, to stay humble and open. I hope you will join us, as this
important work requires all of us. Let’s build a strong community together.”

– Message from PICS Society’s President & CEO – Satbir Singh Cheema