Komagata Maru. Indian Act. Residential Schools. Africville. Japanese-Canadian Internment Camps. Starlight Tours. Carding. Slavery. Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. Chinese Immigration Act. Bill C-36, Anti-Terrorism Act. Disproportionate criminalization.
This brief list is not an exhaustive, nor complete, list of Canada’s lengthy history of racism. Despite decades of protest, study, education, and tenacity, the voices of First Nation, Métis, Inuit, Black and People of Colour have been consistently minimized when speaking about their experiences with Canada’s systemic and individual racism.
The experiences and the wisdom of Black, First Nation, Métis, Inuit, and People of Colour in workplaces, schools, universities, sporting events, government of all levels, and in our communities are required to truly represent all of Canada’s citizens and interests. When all Canadians are represented fairly and equitably the benefits multiply for all.
The Comox Valley Community Health Network recognizes that the social determinants of health are deeply affected by racism and that addressing racism directly, with strength, knowledge, resources, and education is the only way to ensure that barriers to equality are removed.
With these beliefs in mind, the Comox Valley Community Health Network’s Coordinating Circle members commit to the following:
- Challenging their individual implicit biases and actively working at being anti-racist.
- Continually affirming its commitment to recognizing, addressing and understanding how racism creates lasting trauma for those who experience it and who fear being the victims of racially motivated violence.
- Understanding how racism prevents First Nation, Métis, Inuit, Black, and People of Colour from reaching their full potential and supporting them to break barriers.
- Continually affirming its commitment to recognizing, addressing and eradicating all forms of racism.
- Respecting and supporting the protest actions of Black people, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people, and People of Colour.
- Acknowledging, and believing, that First Nation, Métis, Inuit, Black and People of Colour suffer disproportionately at the hands of police and the criminal justice system.
- Recognizing that most of its members have not experienced racism and that gaining the skills to identify, name and respond to racism is vital.
- Using its collective voice to raise awareness about racism in our community, even when it is uncomfortable.
- Striving for the equitable participation of Black People, People of Colour, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit People in all Network activities.
- Compensating People of Colour, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people, or Black people when requesting education from them.
Our Network calls on everyone in the Comox Valley, individuals, organizations and groups, to join us in taking these steps to address racism in our community.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together.”
Lilla Watson – Kangulu Elder, activist and educator, Queensland, Australia
This quote is typically attributed to Lilla Watson. However, Watson has said, of this quote, that she was “not comfortable being credited for something that had been born of a collective process” and prefers that it be credited to – Aboriginal activists’ groups, Queensland, Australia, 1970s