“It’s not enough to just condemn racism. We must all act and be actively anti-racist.”
As a champion of diversity and inclusion, DIVERSEcity stands fervently against anti-Black racism that has gripped us with the murder of George Floyd and the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, which have proven to be a tipping point of centuries of institutionalized racism and oppression faced by the Black community. These horrific deaths have a devastating effect on Black communities, taking away loved ones and ripping open wounds that have yet to heal. The ramifications of these actions are heart wrenching, forcing us to live within different degrees of inequality, sometimes subtle, other times severe. These are not issues just for the U.S.; Canada, too, is guilty of systemic oppression. As a non-profit organization that supports diverse and vulnerable communities in Canada, we know that racism can also be quiet and internalized, yet equally as insidious. It’s time for us to evolve as people, a community, a country and beyond.
But it’s not enough to just condemn racism. We must all act and be actively anti-racist. Our mandate and message as a community services organization is that everyone belongs. But we know that while systemic racism exists, words of belonging are often more vision than reality. Our journey, our voices are not the same. True belonging means we not only use our voices to speak out against inequity and hatred, but create spaces for all voices to be heard and all differences and lived realities acknowledged. We need to give space for grief, acknowledge the pain of others, and fight for equality with uncomfortable conversations in our homes and in our workplaces.
While DIVERSEcity works with racialized communities to advance an inclusive and thriving Canada, we are still working towards fully refining our values as an anti-racist organization. We don’t have it perfected, but we are ready to put our foot forward in a call to action to all levels of government to address the systematic oppression of Black people that exists across Canadian institutions in order to create safer, more equitable communities for all. We also put forward a call to action to everyone to make space for the unheard, to practise empathy, and to understand and challenge privilege. This work must be done both unequivocally and unapologetically. Learn the history and educate yourself so that you can be an ally for those, whose voices have been silenced. Be the catalyst for change we all desperately need to see.
It is in this spirit of commitment to advancement and learning, we call upon partner organizations and members of our community to join us as we work towards a just and equitable future for all. In listening to community voices during these times, we wish to amplify the following resources that may support in these efforts:
- If you have the means to, consider donating to the following community rooted initiatives: Black Lives Matters https://blacklivesmattervancouver.com/ ; Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19 https://ca.gofundme.com/f/covid19-black-community-support-vancouver
- Support local businesses owned by members of the Black community
- Do your own work of educating yourself on how to be anti-racist and practise anti-Black racism and have those conversations with your family (here is a resource https://www.antiracism.co/)
- Learn about Black history in Canada (see https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/history-ethnic-cultural/Pages/blacks.aspx)
- Buy books and support Black authors that write about the Black experience in Canada (Desmond Cole, Sandy Hudson, Robin Maynard to name a few)
- Exercise your civic ability through volunteering, peaceful assembly, voting and petitioning for legislative change.
— DIVERSEcity’s Leadership Team