December 10 is the day we commemorate the 1948 United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that sets out the fundamental rights of all human beings, irrespective of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
A fifth of the way through a new century, one might think we had progressed in this world. Unfortunately, people are still oppressed by colonialism, neoliberalism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and racism. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone the spotlight on the travesty of trampled rights. Most of the frontline workers who put their own lives at risk to make sure others are safe, come from oppressed groups, be they women, racialized people or working-class members who have insufficient protections and pay.
Meanwhile, 2020 was marked by police brutality against racialized people in Canada and the United States, although there are other places where racialized people are mistreated, brutalized and killed with regularity. With alarming ease and impunity, police robbed Black and Indigenous people of their lives. This list is tragically long.