It is time for all Canadians to acknowledge that racism is a systemic problem in Canada, and we can no longer simply stand idly by.
The killing of George Floyd has been a catalyst for people around the world to examine and demand action against the systemic discrimination against non-white communities. His murder has united the world to speak out against anti-Black racism, and racist actions directed at Indigenous and other racialized communities. The Aspen Foundation of Labour Education fully condemns the killing of George Floyd and others. We also condemn numerous other examples of racially motivated violence by police.
Racism is not just a US problem. We must acknowledge that systemic discrimination also exists in Canada. Chantel Moore’s death, the assault on Chief Allan Adam and everyday stories of racially motivated harassment and assault are real and highlight behaviour that we can no longer tolerate. It is rooted in our society, historically, economically and culturally. It is our responsibility to listen and hear the stories of those affected by racism to understand it and move forward by acting to end it.
Now is not the time to be silent. As a society, we need to continue to inform ourselves about this issue. We must take action including passionately speaking out against racism.
Our schools have an important role to play in ending systemic racism. We need to dialogue with students about all racist policies, issues and events. Carding, Residential Schools, Starlight tours, the Chinese Head Tax, and Islamophobia is only an initial list of issues that need to be discussed in classrooms. Educating staff and students in our schools about racism is a step towards meaningful change.
The Aspen Foundation contributes to reducing racism and discrimination in Canada through public education. The Foundation’s peer reviewed teaching resources equip teachers and students with the knowledge and skills to recognize discrimination and find just solutions. We commit to increasing our efforts by producing another teaching resource related to discrimination within the next year. All of us, including the Aspen Foundation, can and must do better.