Media release Racism

PSA: Speak Truth to Power: Forum on the impacts of systemic racism on Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities

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Amid the anger over brutality and injustice, several prominent Canadians (and citizens) that includes premiers, columnists and the head of the RCMP – have cast doubt on the idea that racism is entrenched in the country’s institutions…..” that we are different than the United States and we don’t have the systemic, deep roots of racism that they have had for years.”

This denial is happening at the same time when just in the last few weeks a black woman (Regis Korchinski-Paquet) fell to her death after police were called to her flat in Toronto; an Indigenous woman (Chantel Moore) was shot dead by an officer in New Brunswick while he was carrying out a “wellness check”; and footage emerged showing Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Alberta forcing a First Nations chief (Allan Adam) to the ground and punching him in the head. On Friday evening, an Indigenous man (Rodney Levi) was shot dead by the RCMP in New Brunswick.

These are just a few statistics from decades-long killings and disappearances …how many more must die for us to acknowledge that systemic racism is real in Canada?

How can we move forward if we as Canadians cannot accept our tarnished history that persists and continues to guarantee and perpetuates racial disparity? The numbers are clear: Black and Indigenous peoples in Canada are disproportionately overrepresented in prisons and jails across the country. As students, they face harsher discipline in schools and are suspended at a higher rate than white students, and more likely to be shot by police. It is more difficult to get employment, decent wages and promotions.

The racial disparity and disadvantages are not only in the criminal justice system but also in health, education, housing, cultural acceptance, and economic development. Taken collectively the group effect on Black, Indigenous, and people of color are indicative of systemic racism – and that racism operates at different levels. It is more comfortable for us to think of racism as the deeds of a “few bad apples” and that racism is an individual phenomenon denying institutional and systemic racism. Let’s Talk.