June 05, 2020

Anti-Black Racism – Now is the Time to Act

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation condemns all acts of racism and discrimination. We acknowledge the many Canadian protests and voices in support of US anti-Black racism demonstrations against police brutality in the George Floyd case. Canada’s peaceful demonstrations raise the importance for Canadians to address systemic inequalities inundating Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities. The COVID-19 environment had already begun to reveal similar risks and fault lines.

Racism is also a reality in Canada. Systemic and structural racism faced by the Black and Indigenous communities is well-documented [1]. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the protest marches taking place across Canada and acknowledged and promised that his government will do more to address the situation. We welcome these messages and look forward to the changes soon. We echo the poignant points expressed by The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s statement “”Anti-Black Racism in Canada: Time to Face the Truth” that anti-black racism is pervasive in Canada and we must work together to eradicate racism.

“’I can’t breathe’ is what Black people have been crying out since the days of slavery in US history. Story after story has brought us to this point of ‘I can’t breathe’ and enough is enough. Let us be reminded of US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s words: People are people…strike them they will cry, cut them they will bleed, starve them they will wither away and die. But treat them with respect and decency, give them access to the levers of power, attend to their aspirations and  grievances, they will flourish and grow . . . and  form a more perfect Union” says Raymond Tynes, Board member of CRRF and Commissioner with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

“It has never been more urgent for Canadians to act now, to stand together, to speak up and work in support of anti-racism. It is up to all of us, regardless of our background, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting racism out. We need to self-reflect and listen to our peers who experience life differently because of the colour of their skin” says Teresa Woo-Paw, Chair of CRRF.

The CRRF is grateful to the continuous support and communications from Canadians for our educational efforts.  We thank everyone for doing their part in voicing strong messages against racism.

What You Can Do Now

While not an exhaustive list, below are links to some organizations providing resources and participation opportunities that support Anti-Racism movements. Learn, support and get involved.

Anti-Racism Advisory Council (Alberta)

Black Legal Action Centre (Ontario)

Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19 (B.C.)

Black Space Winnipeg (Winnipeg)

Black Lives Matter Toronto

Black Lives Matter Vancouver

Canada Anti-Hate Network

Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society (CAERS)

Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (Quebec)

Color Code, a podcast about race in Canada, The Globe and Mail

Hogan’s Alley Society (Vancouver)

Hoodstock (Montreal)

Nia Centre for the Arts (Toronto)

Solidarity Halifax (Halifax)

The Come Up (Edmonton)

Urban Alliance on Race Relations (Toronto)

CRRF Learning about Racism courses

Recent Reports on the Racism in Canada

[1] Race Relations in Canada 2019, Dec 2019. CRRF, in partnership with Environics Institute for Survey Research

Deadly Force: Fatal Encounters with Police in Canada: 2000 – 2017, CBC Report

Interim report on the Inquiry into Racial Profiling and Racial Discrimination of Black persons in the Toronto Police Service, Ontario Human Rights Commission

RDS vs. A Story of Race and Justice, a documentary in partnership with Adjacent Possibilities Inc.

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