Statement Against Racism and Police Brutality and in Defense of Social Justice


Our department is committed to social justice, equality, and equity. In alignment with this commitment, we must take a stand against the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd in the United States, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Jason Collins, Eishia Hudson, and D’Andre Campbell in Canada. These are only the most recent deaths in a long list that is the result of hundreds of years of continued racist oppression and colonial exploitation. We denounce the continued police brutality against protestors in the United States. We recognize that we are governed by a system deeply rooted in historic and contemporary white supremacy and are complicit in this system that serves to benefit whiteness over Black, Indigenous, and all communities of colour. We are not immune to the racism that we see happening south of our borders and know that anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, anti-East Asian and other anti-Asian racism, occurs in our city and on our campus. As sociologists, we examine the systems that produce these environments and behaviours, including the ways that racism intersects with class-based and other forms of oppression. As a department committed to social justice, we must also consider the ways in which we can address these and commit to action. Not only do we recognize the harm that is being done, we stand in solidarity with the Black, Indigenous, East Asian and Asian communities. We see you. We hear you. We take seriously a statement issued by Black faculty that we have been given permission to share titled “Our Next Breath: A Statement from Black Faculty” (accessed here), who state that “to remain silent at such a critical juncture is to demonstrate complicity in pervasive institutional patterns, practices, and cultures that marginalize Black Americans”. To this we add Black Canadians, Indigenous communities and all those marginalized by existing power structures. We have recently taken steps to place greater focus on addressing racialization and decolonization through our curriculum, and will be supporting anti-racist workshops for faculty members this year. We commit to using our research, teaching and service duties to educate the damage such structural and individual practices inspire. As Angela Davis states “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be antiracist”.