George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor in the United States; Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell in Canada, are just a few people added in the last month or so to the long list of Black people killed in encounters with police. These murders stem from persistent anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and systemic violence.
Canada is not exempt from racism. It has a history of colonialism, slavery, and racist application of immigration and settlement policy. Current conditions reflect the legacy of this history: police racial profiling and brutality, the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous and Black people, the institutionalization of white supremacy and racism in Canadian schools and workplaces, and the role of racism in structuring disparities in health, housing and life opportunities.
We know that Black and Indigenous people in Canada are disproportionately targeted by police through hyper surveillance and higher rates of incarceration. For instance, Ontario Human Rights Commission (2018) report found that Black people in Toronto were 20X more likely than white Canadians to be murdered by the police. With such stark and horrifying evidence before us, it is important for us to stand in solidarity with protestors from across the globe to condemn police brutality and systematic violence against Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
The spectrum of violence against racially minoritized groups is a persisting reality that many of our colleagues and students are forced to navigate on a daily basis. The impact is significant on those with the lived experience of its effects, as well as in the ways it acts as a serious challenge to principles espoused as values by most major Canadian social institutions – anti-racism, human rights, dignity, and equity.
We acknowledge that academia is not immune to these systems of oppression and violence. As such, we need to do better for ourselves, our colleagues, and our students. Our attention to the issue of racism and its structural violence needs to be consistent and ongoing. The Mount Royal Faculty Association is committed to its goals of equity, diversity and inclusion. The Executive Board commits to reviewing its policies, practices and structures to identify and change those that perpetuate inequality and inequity, while advocating for the same review from the University.
We ask that Mount Royal University’s Board of Governors review and address University-wide policies to ensure that the highest standards for both equality and equity, for University employees who are members of minoritized communities are upheld, implemented and followed.