Panel Discussion – Confronting Inherent Racism

The Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation (CMEF) and the Edmonton Interfaith Centre (EIC) held a panel discussion over Zoom on Sunday March 21 from 1 to 2:30 for the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), on the topic of “Confronting Inherent Racism”.

Speakers were Dr. Chaldeans Mensah, Beryl Scott and Dr. Alvin Finkel, and we are grateful for the added participation of Elder Pauline Paulson and moderator Harriet Tinka.

The IDERD is the commemoration of a massacre of unarmed protesters in South Africa in 1960. In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this as a day of remembrance. Canada was the first country to support the initiative, making it an annual campaign in 1969. Both the CMEF (with the Harmony Brunch) and the EIC (in City Hall) have been observing this day for many years. .

Speakers for IDERD 2021

Dr. Alvin Finkel is professor emeritus of History at Athabasca University where he taught for 36 years of his 40-year teaching career. Born and raised in the North End of Winnipeg, his parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine in the 1930s when immigration policy permitted few Jews to enter Canada. His 13 books have together sold over 150,000 copies. He co-authored “History of the Canadian Peoples”, a university-level survey history of Canada now in its seventh edition. Other bestsellers include “Social Policy and Practice in Canada: A History”, “Our Lives: Canada After 1945” and “Compassion: A Global History of Social Policy”. He is president of the Alberta Labour History Institute and served as editor/writer for their book “Working People in Alberta: A History”. He served on the board of the Edmonton Social Planning Council board, as founding chair of the editorial committee for Athabasca University Press, as book review editor for the journal Labour/Le Travail and on many other editorial boards and boards of academic organizations. He was one of the founding members of the Athabasca University Faculty Association where he served as president, treasurer, and grievance officer as well as two terms on the university’s Board of Governors as faculty representative.

Beryl Scott grew up in Montego Bay, Jamaica and at 14 moved to Bournemouth England where she finished her education and trained to be a Registered Nurse (RN) and received certification as a Midwife and Health Visitor. In 1976, Beryl moved to Canada to join her sister in Hamilton, ON where she worked as an RN. Four years later, she joined her brother and his family in Alberta, and worked here as an RN at the Royal Alexander, Edmonton General and Grey Nun’s Hospitals. She continues to be very active in organizations that work to protect and promote human rights, such as the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and the Alberta Federation of Labour. She has been a champion of minorities in the nursing profession and helped to create WOCAW – Workers of Colour and Aboriginal Workers. In addition, she has served on the board of the Centre for Race and Colour (formerly Northern Alberta Association for Race Relations) and as the president of the Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation. She is actively involved in many communities, supporting diverse cultural groups to promote equality and human rights. Beryl has received numerous awards for her professional and civil liberties work, including Daughters’ Day, International Women’s Day and the Award for Surgical Nursing (UK). She remains a committed associate member of the UNA.