Lunar New Year

For approximately 1 billion people around the world, Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is one of the most important holidays of the year.

It is celebrated in East and Southeast Asian cultures, with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean groups among those participating.

The New Year is frequently celebrated across several days, rather than simply one, as it is on the Gregorian calendar. The Lunar New Year will begin on February 1st, 2022.

The celebration began as a time for feasting and honoring home and heavenly deities, as well as ancestors, and was tied to the lunar calendar.

There are many legends surrounding the Lunar New Year’s origin. The most common one claims that the festivities began to frighten away a beast known as “Nian” (which means “year” in Chinese) who haunted cities and villages each spring, attacking people. People used firecrackers and red paper to frighten Nian, because he was afraid of loud noises and the color red.

The New Year usually begins with the first new moon, which occurs between the end of January and the beginning of February. The first 15 days of the lunar calendar’s first month until the full moon.

2022 marks the year of the Water Tiger. In China, the tiger is regarded as the king of all beasts. The Tiger is a symbol of strength, and bravery in the Chinese zodiac and due to the Tiger’s auspicious signs, 2022 is set to be a prosperous one.

Your Component Diversity Committee would like to send our best wishes to everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year. We wish you all the best of health and success for the year ahead!

In Solidarity,

Your Component Diversity Committee

Black History Month

The month of February marks the start of Black History Month.

Born in 1976, Black History Month is an annual event recognizing the pioneers who fought for black liberation and celebrates the immense contributions they have made to the United States of America, Canada, and the world.

Mr. Carter G. Woodson, author, writer, and historian, who is also known today as the “Father of Black History”, was a firm believer that racial equality could only be achieved by the recognition and comprehension of a race’s past, and he devoted his life to the study of African American history.

It is said that Woodson chose the month of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Woodson also hoped that one day, Black History Month would no longer be necessary. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go.

Although February has been designated as the month of recognition of the history of the African Diaspora, its rich history should be recognized and celebrated every day.

You might be wondering how Black History Month relates to the workplace.

Well, it is up to employers as well as committees such as this one to set the standard for eradicating discrimination, conscious and unconscious bias and to encourage the inclusion of all employees.

Employee engagement may be increased by recognizing and celebrating employees’ cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds and with initiatives such as the Black History Month Flight set to take off on February 11, 2022, we believe that Air Canada is on its way to attaining that goal.

Your Component Diversity Committee will continue to engage with the employer in a collaborative manner to ensure that initiatives like these are put forth to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace.

In order to give you an opportunity to celebrate the significant contributions and achievements of black people throughout our history, we have compiled a list of links to Black History Month events happening across our four bases.

YYZ:
https://www.thessu.ca/ssu-events/black-history-month-cooking-class-feb-2022

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/black-history-month-with-afiwi-groove-tickets-229099983217

https://www.ajaxlibrary.ca/node/573

https://www.thessu.ca/ssu-events/black-history-month-paint-night

https://www.gowherewhen.com/event/toronto-black-film-festival

YUL:
https://www.mcgill.ca/equity/initiatives-education/black-history-month/black-history-month-2022-schedule-events

https://www.moishistoiredesnoirs.com/programmation/nfb-black-history-month-panel-discussion

https://www.moishistoiredesnoirs.com/

YYC:
https://allevents.in/calgary/black-history-month

YVR:
https://events.ubc.ca/black-history-month/

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Q9E9jUIsQnmkfDD0CEwjcQ

CANADA:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/d/canada/black-history-month/?page=1

https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month.html

We must all raise our voices now, more than ever, and insist that society continue to recognize and honour Black History!

In Solidarity,

Your Component Diversity Committee

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

As you may be aware, today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In June, the Federal Government passed legislation to recognize September 30th as a statutory holiday, making it a paid day off for federal employees and staff in federally regulated workplaces.

From the 1880s through the 1990s, the Canadian government forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes and sent them to residential schools designed to sever them from their culture and assimilate them into Western ways — a system that a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 called “cultural genocide”. At the schools, 70% of which were run by the Catholic Church, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and violence were commonplace.

Since that time there have been multiple discoveries of unmarked graves containing the remains of Indigenous children at the sites of defunct Canadian Indian residential schools in several provinces. The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission has estimated that approximately 4,100 children went missing from the schools, but a former Indigenous judge who headed the commission, Murray Sinclair, declared in an email, that he now believes the number to be “well over 10,000”.

These discoveries are a grim reminder of centuries of discrimination, abuse, and injustice that Indigenous people have faced and continue to face today.

Let us honour the Indigenous community by taking the time to learn, reflect and acknowledge the intergenerational harm that these residential schools have caused to them and stand in solidarity with the survivors and their families. The goals of this day in part will be to educate the Canadian public about the suffering of survivors. If this educational goal is met with success, it will alter the ways in which Canadians think about their culture and history, challenging their identity as members of a community. Such transformation, many believe, is the first step toward reconciliation between the two communities.

For those of you who would like to learn more about the efforts towards Truth and Reconciliation you can find the Calls to Action that resulted from the profoundly important work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission attached HERE.

In Solidarity,

Your Component Diversity Committee

Your New Component Diversity Committee

After numerous discussions and experiences of racist events unfolding in our workplace, here in Canada and around the world, we would like to introduce you to the Air Canada Component Diversity Committee.

What is Diversity? In simple words, it is understanding that we are all unique individuals with individual differences. We can reap the benefits and unleash the power of Diversity only once we recognize our differences and respect and value one another, irrelevant of our backgrounds.

The Diversity committee will aim to illuminate the challenges and opportunities that arise when individuals from different backgrounds come together in the workplace. We will also highlight the experiences of disenfranchised populations as well as our cultural strengths in order to promote empowerment.

Moreover, we will encourage the employer to develop comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies, including but not limited to cultural awareness campaigns, employee and leadership Diversity & Inclusion training, accessibility to development opportunities etc.

The Diversity Committee will be committed to supporting and helping our members to flourish within their role and to see themselves represented in the workplace.

Air Canada’s People, Culture and Communications branch has launched their first Diversity and inclusion survey that is intended to guide them in their efforts to foster an inclusive environment where our members of diverse backgrounds can thrive. We are hopeful that the feedback to the survey will help the company to find ways to ensure that they include the voices of our members who might otherwise be marginalized.

They will be analyzing the results across a wide spectrum of demographics, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, religion etc.

We believe that this is a positive step in the right direction and strongly encourage you to participate as they are looking to gather as much feedback as they can about the collective experience of those working within the company. Your responses will remain confidential.
The survey was sent to all employees via their Air Canada email. Please check your inbox for the survey.  You can complete and submit your survey by 11:59 PM EST, Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

Our newly formed committee looks forward to what we can collectively accomplish. We will create a mandate that can stimulate meaningful change and respect for all members and to create a culture within our ranks that is built on respect for one another.

Please feel free to reach out to the Committee Chairperson, Dionne Solomon at diversity@accomponent.ca. I am very pleased to take on this role and hope that this committee can influence meaningful change within our workplace and beyond.

“Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. Diversity, broadly defined, describes a range of personal experiences, values, and world views that arise from differences in culture and circumstance. These differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and geographic region, among others. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, we will create a success-oriented cooperative, and caring community that draws intellectual strength and produces innovative solutions from the synergy of our people.”
North Carolina State’s Diversity Definition as adopted on Nov. 12, 1997, by the Administrative Council

In Solidarity,

Your Component Diversity Committee