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On the Front Lines of the Pandemic: Racialized Workers and COVID

October 26, 2021
10:00 AM EDT - 11:00 AM EDT

Event Description:

The pandemic has highlighted and further entrenched deep rooted structural inequalities embedded in the social, political and economic fabric of capitalist society. Inequalities framed through systems of white supremacy and racial domination have manifested themselves in a number of ways including differential levels of exposure to the virus, the execution of the vaccine roll outs, and unevenly shared financial hardships and other burdens. 

With a particular spotlight on the experiences of Personal Support Workers working in the heart of the COVID storm in Long Term Care facilities, this podcast focuses on the ways in which systemic racism manifests itself in the Canadian context -- unearthing how the ongoing racialization of the Canadian labour market has impacted workers. This podcast is the first of a series that will focus on capturing and highlighting the experiences of racialized frontline workers during COVID.  Organized by the Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy.

Speaker Bios:

An anonymous Personal Support Worker  

Speaking out critically about workplace conditions can have negative repercussions for workers. This Personal Support Worker has chosen to share her experience and expert knowledge without sharing her name or photo.  She believes that employers must take a greater interest in the opinions of PSWs and act on the needs of employees providing frontline services.

Dr. Grace-Edward Galabuzi

Grace-Edward Galabuzi is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, at X University. He serves as Undergraduate Program Director of the Politics and Governance BA program, and he is a research associate at the Centre for Social Justice in Toronto. He is the author of Canada’s Economic Apartheid: The Social Exclusion of Racialized Groups in the New Century.

Ayu Pinky Hapsari

Ayu Pinky Hapsari (Pinky) is Research Coordinator at the Upstream Lab based at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions. She holds an MSc degree from the University of British Columbia with a specialization in epidemiology. She manages the operations and data analysis of projects addressing social determinants of health.

Dr. Andrew Pinto

Dr. Andrew Pinto is the founder and director of the Upstream Lab, external link. He is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, external link. He is a Scientist in the Centre for Urban Health Solutions, external link, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, external link, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, and Associate Director for Clinical Research at UTOPIAN, external link.

Debra Slater

Debra is a professional Personal Support Worker.  She sits on the advisory board of The EMPOWER Project-Upstream Lab. It is a community-based participatory action research project designed to understand the work conditions and health of PSWs.

Moderator Bios:

Salmaan Khan

Salmaan Khan is an organizer and educator based in Toronto. He has assisted the Chair in Social Justice and Democracy since 2011 and remains grateful for the experience. Through his work with the Chair he has had the opportunity to meet and work with countless activists, workers and organizers from across Canada. Currently, Salmaan is completing his doctoral studies in the Social and Political Thought graduate program at York University.

Kiké Roach

Kiké is the Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at X University where she teaches courses in Human Rights, and Social Movements and Politics. It is   a cross-appointment in Politics and Social Work and the first union-endowed Chair at a Canadian University. The mandate of the Chair is to create a hub of interaction between social justice activists and the X University community.

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