Dear UAlberta students,
We will not be silent as crimes and injustice continue to be perpetrated. We fully stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, and condemn the racist violence, police brutality, systemic racism, and lack of accountability that continuously and disproportionately affect Black and Indigeous people across Canada.
The murder of George Floyd and death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet are only the latest unnecessary tragedies that have placed a spotlight on racially motivated crimes and police brutality that are often not held to account. We will not stand idly by while these crimes continue to be committed, and we are calling for change.
Every person deserves to feel safe. And this includes on our campus. Unfortunately, the racist attitudes and actions prevalent in our society today are historically rooted and normalized in our communities, our province, and our country. It will take work to completely eradicate these structures and attitudes. It will take work to eliminate the barriers that Black and Indigenous students experience. It will take work to better represent the voices that often go unheard. It will take work to address and criticize the racism we see in our classes. And it will take work to eliminate the overt or violent racist acts that are experienced by Black and Indigenous students.
It is written into our values that we must take action—we must do what’s right (and not what’s easy), inspire change for the world, act with unbridled compassion, and learn from the past to improve tomorrow. These are not empty words we stand by, and they will not be followed by empty actions. We will not stand by while our friends and classmates endure racism and injustice. We must use our platform to amplify and listen to the Black and Indigenous voices on our campus that too often go unheard.
The remainder of this statement will be from the Black Students’ Association and the Aboriginal Student Council:
The University of Alberta's Black Students' Association Statement:
In days like these, it is easy to be disheartened, frustrated, and confused. Many of us are afraid, angry, and appalled by the deaths of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Regis Korchinski-Packet. Now, more than ever, we must rally, speak out, and take action to bring justice for those in our community who continue to face oppression in all its forms both abroad, this country, province, city, and campus.
We must all be steadfast in calling out systems of oppression, demanding justice, and being unequivocal in our right to equality. Now is the time for honesty, transparency, and recognition for the struggles that our community faces, of the legacy of marginalization and violence, and the burden of trauma that many of us carry every day.
As we continue to fight against racism we stand firmly with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. The Indigenous community and the Black community have faced centuries of oppression, and we will not stand for anything less than full justice for both our communities. We stand together not only for support of each other, but to show that we will not back down.
The last few months have brought an unprecedented level of insecurity and change to our campus here at the University of Alberta. The staff, students, faculty, and administration have all risen to the challenge, and have managed these changes admirably. Once again, the University of Alberta family must rise to the challenges we face. Today’s challenge is unabashedly that of racism. We ask all allies of the Black community to continue to support us in our fight for justice and equity. We ask that you take the time to learn about the historical and contemporary manifestation of racial oppression here in Canada. We ask that you actively engage with anti-racism projects, have those difficult conversations with your friends and family, and listen to those marginalized in your community.
We at the UABSA stand ready to serve, lead, and assist - In partnership with First Peoples' House and the University of Alberta's Students' Union, we are here for the University of Alberta community, the greater Edmonton Community, and all those abroad.
Black is Valid.
Black is Important.
Black is Beautiful.
The University of Alberta's Black Students' Association
Aboriginal Student Council Statement
tȃn’si / twanshi / tunngasugit
As we sit here and watch the reaction to the murder of George Floyd and the injustices Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour face within the United States, Canadians here across Turtle Island sit at home with a veil of ignorance shrouding them to the many injustices faced by Indigenous, Black, and racialized peoples in Canada. Many Canadians are unaware that today Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples are facing an ever-growing presence of hatred and discrimination. Racist ideas and notions flourish within the institutional structures that hold up the Canadian state. Canada was founded on the dispossession of Indigenous lands with the labour of disenfranchised racialized peoples.
As Black and non-Black communities respond within the United States their rage resonates with countless Indigenous Peoples and their communities/nations all across Turtle Island. These tremendous feelings of anger, rage, and love for our people's culture, body, family, and children are the same that birthed the Idle No More movement.
We as Indigenous and Black peoples have survived over 400 years of racialized, gendered violence designed to remove us from our traditional lands and assimilate us into the mainstream discourse held by these colonizers. For many years our peaceful protests have fallen on deaf ears and the notion that we should all remain positive and calm, while over 4,000 Indigenous women and girls are missing in Canada with nothing as little as a shoulder turned to us; while Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot by police than the city’s white residents, while the legal system will not even provide a trial to the perpetrators of violence, is unfathomable. Now is the time for action.
We as Indigenous Peoples are reminded that Black and Indigenous communities are deeply connected through painfully shared experiences with colonialism, oppression and white supremacy. The Aboriginal Student Council proudly stands with and fully supports Black communities across Turtle Island.