"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Anti-racism campaigner and South Asian broadcaster takes stand in support of the Indigenous peoples Featured

For years without a break, the Burnaby-based IT Productions has celebrated Canada Day with the rest of Canadians.  

This year however, due to the pall of gloom that has descended over Indigenous communities following the recent discoveries of unmarked graves on the sites of residential schools, the CEO of the company has decided to abandon its annual ritual of making greetings.  

Shushma Datt, who is an award-winning seasoned broadcaster, in a brief message that goes on air July 1 says, “On this Canada Day, the staff and the management of IT Productions, IT Media Broadcasting, Spice Radio and Radio Rim Jhim (all part of the same group) stand in solidarity with the indigenous peoples.” 

Although the audio message that runs in English, Hindi and Punjabi ends with customary Happy Canada Day greetings, it is in line with the growing demands for cancelling Canada Day events across the country.  

Close to 1,000 graves of Indigenous children have been found recently, sparking the campaign.  Already, the City of Victoria and a few other municipalities have cancelled online July 1 events to show their respect to the First Nations. 

The residential schools were established to assimilate Indigenous Peoples into the European and Christian ways to build a nation state on their stolen lands.  

Datt, who had started the Hands Against Racism campaign in January, 2015 from her radio stations, has been vocal against systemic racism being faced by Aboriginal peoples and other visible minority groups in Canada. That campaign, coinciding with Holi, an Indian festival of colours, encourages participants to dip their hands in colour and leave a palm print on white sheet alongside a message against bigotry, and has been recognized both by the federal and the provincial governments.  As part of that commitment, the other on air hosts of IT Productions will also be sharing their messages of support to the Indigenous peoples on July 1 and 2.

  

 

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