The Faculty Association at Emily Carr University of Art + Design joins with millions of people to voice our solidarity with Black and racialized communities in response to the unlawful killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, D’Andre Campbell, and many more Black people. We situate these recent murders in the context of historical and ongoing state-sanctioned violence against Black communities in North America. We acknowledge and feel the pain and anguish caused by these murders and by the repeated denial of justice and human rights to Black Canadians, Americans and people the world over. We assert that Black lives matter.
The Faculty Association commits to dismantling the obstacles that prevent Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Colour from living full lives, and in some cases, from just living. We believe that efforts that focus on individuals, opinions, or points of view may fail to address the root of the problem that faces us. We call on the ECU community to reflect on the issues of anti-Black racism and racialized oppression on a systemic level.
Such an approach must begin with addressing and educating those within our own communities, including ourselves. We recognize that as an institution, ECU perpetuates a culture of anti-blackness and systemic racism. We recognize, with grief, that faculty have contributed to, or been complicit in, normalizing this violence in conscious and unconscious ways. This is further evidence of the systemic nature of what we are fighting, and the structural factors that prevent active change. To this point, many of us have been struggling with the contradictions between our commitments to justice and the institutional norms that have systemically obstructed these commitments.
If we are to address unjust systems, then we need to build communities and support networks grounded in respect, mutual aid, and care for one another across our differences. This includes:
- Recognizing the historic settler colonial attitudes in the nation-building of Canada that pervades to this day, with structural racism practiced implicitly as well as explicitly in its governing bodies and institutions;
- Building curriculum that focuses on the struggles of Black and other marginalized communities, and practicing an active pedagogy of liberation and resistance to these oppressions;
- Practicing intersectional solidarity and recognizing that it takes work and dedicating resources to the dismantling of these unjust systems;
- Acknowledging that this work is done on unceded Coast Salish territories, and we have a responsibility to decolonize and build better relations with one another;
In addition to these actions for which we must hold ourselves accountable, the Faculty Association supports faculty and student agency in actively planning for, and achieving comprehensive equity, diversity and inclusion. The Faculty Association understands that faculty members and students in the Social Justice Working Group (formerly the Intersectional Working Group of the past two years) have long been calling for an open community forum to build the changes we need as a community. We support this open community forum as a crucial first step.