School Speaks out on Racism

February 2018

Dear Social Work Community and our UVIC Community,

 As we enter this new year, we are reflecting on 2017 and specifically a series of disturbing events targeting racialized groups on campus. These included the “white supremacy wall” incident, racist anti-Indigenous media posts and targeted racist events at the First Peoples House, and anti-Semitic posters. We are writing today to add our School’s voice to others across our campus who have made statements of solidarity and pledges of action against racism and white supremacy.

 White supremacy and racism are not new to this place. As visitors on the unceded, ancestral and traditional territories of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), and Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples, the School of Social Work acknowledges the connections between these recent events on campus and the historical and ongoing settler colonial violence in these territories.

 Racism is an active reality shaping the lives of Indigenous peoples, racialized peoples, and white settlers. We acknowledge that we are hierarchically positioned and differently implicated in these relations of power. Indigenous and racialized faculty, staff and students experience the harmful effects of racism every day at multiple levels, and actively resist these forms of violence on this campus, in our city and our wider communities.

 The School of Social Work emphasizes social justice, Indigenous, anti-oppressive and decolonizing approaches. As such, we recognize the way white supremacy and colonialism are connected to other forms of violence. We work to dismantle the interlocking relations of power that are embedded in our society, including but not limited to colonialism, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, ableism, classism, ageism.

 In closing, the School of Social Work re-affirms our commitment to challenging white supremacy, racism and colonialism on campus, in our classrooms, in our workplaces, in our profession and in our communities. We seek to hold up the leadership of Indigenous and racialized peoples in this anti-racist and decolonial work and we call upon white settlers to critically examine how white supremacy shapes solidarity on these unceded territories and to actively work towards processes of relational accountability and decolonization.


The Faculty of the School of Social Work