Statement on Anti-Racism by The Black Students’ Caucus
Jun 2, 2020 -
The recent incidents of anti-Black racism have reopened a wound that the Black community has, for centuries, fought every single day to heal. We write this statement to the thousands of Black students across Turtle Island with heavy hearts. The suffering and pain we are reliving as a community is a reminder that we are far from progress. The disregard for Black lives and Black issues are a result of deeply rooted, systemic and institutionalized white supremacy and anti-Black racism.
We say these names to express our condolences to their family and friends, but also to remind ourselves that these are not isolated or accidental deaths. These are only a few of the many names victimized by police brutality. They serve as a reminder that the institution of policing is rooted in violence, racism, and colonialism. Policing was created to oppress and control Indigenous bodies on their own land in what we call “Canada” while used as a means to patrol enslaved bodies in the US.
After the eruption of mass protests, the media has been hyper-focused on looting. A protest does not exist to propagate the status quo but to tear it down. Violence and looting are foundational elements of our national identity. Black and Indigenous peoples have been subject to this violence and have felt the weight of colonialism and police brutality. Now is the time to recognize the critical need for Black-Indigenous solidarity.
Constantly, our community is subjected to covert and overt racism. Anti-Black racism is a collective plight that affects Black communities across the world. Audre Lorde once said, “When I dare to be powerful, to use strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
To our Black kin, near and far: You are never alone. You are the unapologetic, relentless power that will transform our future. You are the change that will never cease. You carry the torch of freedom borne by our ancestors. When one of us is in pain, we are all in pain. Share your anger and sorrow with the rest of your Black peers.
With united Black and allied voices, bodies, and strength of mind, the colonial, racist, and oppressive structures of our society will come crumbling down. In its wake, Black people will find freedom.
Our Black community elders have held the torch for Black youth. Now it’s our turn to run the race. Young people from all over the world need to take to the streets and social media in an indivisible bond of Black liberation and unity.
We are not afraid. Our strength, our hopes, and our revolutionary vision for a new reality lie in each other.
We call on every postsecondary institution and student union across Canada to take action through a comprehensive, meaningful and sustainable lens:
Condemn these injustices for what they are—systemic and targeted anti-Black racism—and whenever possible release statements by your organization.
Call on postsecondary institutions to implement race-based data collection to track interactions between security and students, provide better services to BIPOC students, etc.
Circulate anti-racism learning materials so that your non-Black students can educate themselves (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for our Anti-Racism Toolkit).
Support your Black student community during this time and at all times with concrete actions, such as
Provide info on mental health counselling and services, and check-in with your Black students;
Engage with and support the work of your Black student groups and/or cultural societies on campus;
Support and cultivate spaces for Black student organizing and community;
Support your Black creators, entrepreneurs, artists, etc; and
Donate to local Black action community groups to advance the work of anti-racism both on and off campus.
Donate to the bailout, legal defence, and memorial funds. For a full list of resources, see https://cutt.ly/CyZloPh
Create long-term sustainable supports for Black students on your campuses (e.g. bursaries to support Black education and Black student entrepreneurs, safe spaces, etc.).
National Black Students’ Caucus
The National Black Students’ Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students is a living national movement that represents the thousands of Black post-secondary students across Canada. Connected by the Black student leaders across the nation, we advocate for the interests of all Black students at the provincial and national levels. We are guided by the goal of Black unity and liberation.