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DHS statement on Anti-Black Racism

Photo by Tony Zhen on Upsplash. Large Black Lives Matter protest with handpainted signs.

The violent deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell in Canada and of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breanna Taylor in the United States are only the most recent examples of anti-Black racism and state violence in North America. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society denounces such racism and violence and joins our students, colleagues, families, and friends in solidarity as we resist any effort to accept or normalize anti-Black racism and state violence.  We support the statement made by Black health leaders declaring anti-Black racism a public health crisis.

DHS understands that it is our responsibility as teachers, researchers, community members, family members, and friends to stand against this racism and other intersecting forms of structural violence rooted in white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism. It is also our responsibility to take action. Toward that end, ICHS commits to making a special effort to

  • continue to educate ourselves about anti-Black racism;
  • recruit, hire, and retain Black scholars in faculty, staff, teaching assistant, and postdoctoral positions;
  • support the academic excellence of Black students and challenge structural obstacles to their success;
  • collaborate respectfully and actively with community groups that fight anti-Black racism and foreground racial justice and anti-oppression in their movements toward health and well-being;
  • make curricular change in our undergraduate degree programs, including the launch of a course that addresses anti-Black racism and state violence as public health concerns; and
  • advocate for meaningful institutional and systems change.

It is our pledge to listen more intently, learn from one another and from our mistakes, and be audacious in our individual and collective efforts to work toward a more just and healthy world where Black lives not only matter but are also celebrated. 

In solidarity,

Department of Health and Society

(Laura Bisaillon, Hilary Brown, Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, Andrea Charise, Obidimma Ezezika, Ghazal Fazli, Jessica Fields, Cassandra Hartblay, Maureen Murney, Suzanne Sicchia, Michelle Silver, Nicholas Spence—signatories as of June 4, 2020)