Solidarity Statement

This has been a time of grief and mourning for all of us. We are still reeling from the horrific discovery in late May of the bodies of 215 undocumented Indigenous children buried on the grounds of a residential school in Kamloops, B.C. As Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation Chief Rosanne Casimir says, this is confirmation of an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about, but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School.” Chief Casmir goes on to say that “each child has been forever taken from a family and a community that loved them. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. And it is a stark example of the violence the Canadian residential school system inflicted upon Indigenous peoples and how the consequences of these atrocities continue to this day.” As a School and CYC community, our hearts go out to our Indigenous faculty, sessional instructors, staff and students as we acknowledge the grief and anger that they must carry and the profound impact that this has on them. Our thoughts are with all of the families, communities and residential school survivors who mourn. As a school, we stand with other Indigenous communities in seeking the truth about their missing children, and the children yet to be found.  

In London, ON last week, a young white man murdered four members (and three generations) of a Muslim family, targeting them in an attack on a city sidewalk. This act has been called out as a hate crime and as a School, we send condolences, support and solidarity to Muslim and South Asian colleagues, staff and students here in the CYC community. 

This is a time to return to our 2017 Statement of Solidarity and recall the words of acknowledgement, compassion and action. This is a time to reaffirm our commitments to dismantling white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Indigenous, anti-Black and anti-Asian racism throughout our curriculum, our teaching, our research and our professional and everyday practices. This on-going work will require us to work in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and other historically and systemically marginalized groups to seek the truth, name the violence and uphold our responsibilities to accountable practice with children, youth, families and communities.

As we mourn the lives of the Indigenous children and their families and the Muslim communities, who have ever more reason to fear for their safety and well-being, we must take these commitments forward with compassion and action. In particular, it is incumbent upon those of us who are white settlers to support grieving communities and take action to educate ourselves about the on-going legacies of colonialism and the racism that lies at its core.


Dr. Donna Jeffery
Associate Professor, Acting Director
School of Social Work, Child & Youth Care


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