As we approach the
year 2000, it is our responsibility to do those
things necessary to show that we are united in
our Slovak heritage, and that there is reason to
continue the identification of the community as
Never has our community appeared more divided
This country is so huge, and we are so few
that we are lost among the peoples of Canada,
especially among those who have come into Canada
since 1969 by the hundreds of thousands. As each
community grows larger, they demand and seek
representation in the decision-making bodies of
this country, all the time pushing us further and
further down the list of priorities.
It was no accident that the former president
of the National Action Committee for Women
recently pleaded with feminist groups that her
successor be a woman of color. Is not white a
color too? Are no Slovak heritage women qualified
to lead NAC? What did Slovak women do to deserve
such shunning? Didn't our mothers and our sisters
experience the same consequences of
discrimination when they came here and sought
positions, as these women of color now claim?
Why is their plight seen as less than those
who came into the country over the last few
Governments heed groups such as NAC because
they pretend to represent large groups of women,
even if they don't. Our problem is that because
the growth of our community and the lack of
immigration from Slovakia have left our community
small, no one in officialdom cares what the
Slovak Canadian community thinks.
We are simply white Europeans who are blamed
for all the hurts, real and imagined, that other
groups of people, notably the so-called visible
minorities, in Canada claim they have suffered.
It's not fair. We didn't do anything to
discriminate against anyone. So why do we have to
share the blame?
We have however become the invisible minority.
Because we are divided by time and distance,
the occasions on which we come together are fewer
and fewer. Yet we must make the effort to
demonstrate that the Slovak community is an
integral part of multicultural Canada.
But we are also divided by such things as
religion, politics, membership in competing
fraternal organizations, place of origin within
Slovakia, ability to speak and/or read the Slovak
language, and a host of other differences which
seem to mean something to some people.
All of these things together make it difficult
to show the Canadian community that there is in
Canada a strong, united Slovak community here. We
have to overcome our differences and reach out to
each other because of the one common element that
ties us together -- that we are of Slovak
And we must do it in such a way as not to hurt
anyone in the community. We must realize that our
survival as a community is at stake. We must be
on guard against activities which would divide us
and perpetuate the differences between us to the
extent that we do not participate or attend each
other's events held in the community.
It doesn't matter that the function is
sponsored by Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics or
Lutherans, Ligars or Jednotars, those from
eastern Slovakia or from Central or Western
Slovakia, it is more important that the event be
successful and that it reflect well upon our
Slovak Canadian society.
Let Slovaks be united in their respect for one
another and show other Canadians that we are a
kinder gentler people who deserve a place in the