April 1, 2023

Toronto’s college board, the biggest in Canada, joins a rising push to ban discrimination based mostly on caste in North America.

The varsity board for town of Toronto has grow to be the primary in Canada to acknowledge the existence of discrimination based mostly on caste, a system of social stratification from South Asia that stretches again hundreds of years.

In a vote on Wednesday, the Toronto District College Board voted 16-5 in favor of recognizing caste-based discrimination and shifting to create a framework for addressing it. The movement was launched by board trustee Yalini Rajakulasingam.

“This movement isn’t about division. It is about creating therapeutic and empowering communities and offering them the safer faculties that college students deserve,” Rajakulasingam mentioned, calling for the board to collaborate with the human rights fee of Ontario.

Wednesday’s vote is the latest instance of a rising development in North America to acknowledge and fight discrimination based mostly on caste.

Underneath the caste system, these occupying the decrease ranges of the social hierarchy endure persistent discriminationabuse and typically violence.

In international locations with giant South Asian communities just like the US, members of the Dalit neighborhood, also referred to as “untouchables”, have pushed to ban casteism.

In February, Seattle, Washington, grew to become the primary metropolis in the USA to ban discrimination based mostly on caste.

“Like racism, casteism is a system of oppression; it’s a very actual — and rising — downside in our nation and our native communities, however one that isn’t understood by most People,” reads a letters circulated by teams in favor of Seattle’s push to incorporate caste in its anti-discrimination legal guidelines.

Some Hindu teams have pushed again in opposition to the hassle, arguing it unfairly maligned Hinduism and will promote bigotry.

The California State College (CSU) public college system additionally added caste to its non-discrimination coverage in January 2022 in one other vital victory for Dalit rights teams.

“This coverage will educate folks about invisible caste discrimination,” Prem Pariyar, a Dalit activist, advised Al Jazeera on the time. “It’ll assist to create a welcoming setting for Dalit college students throughout the nation.”

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