June 4, 2020
Indigenous Faculty and Staff Statement of Solidarity against anti-Black racism
We write as Indigenous faculty and staff at OISE to express our horror, our grief, and our fury. We write now, after two painful weeks of state violence fueled by anti-Blackness, but we know that the timeline of this violence has been continuous and unrelentless. The violence we are witnessing is foundational to Canada and the United States. We join with Black, Afro-Indigenous, and Black Native colleagues and students in collective outrage to mourn the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all of those harmed by anti-Black racism and police violence. Each one of those harmed has been loved dearly by their family and friends.
Here in Tkaronto, we mourn the recent death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet who lived only a short distance from OISE. The death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who was alone in her apartment with two members of the Toronto Police Force, is not an isolated incident. The number of deaths under investigation by the SIU only to result in zero accountability is infuriating and we share in the outrage and anger. We also recognize the extent to which our campus is a site of violent acts of anti-Black racism.
Faculties of education like OISE have a particular responsibility at this time, because of our role in society to prepare teachers and researchers. The delayed acknowledgment and institutional silence and hand-wringing on these recent events has been more than disheartening and we call on our institution to do better. We understand that this is a distressing time for Black and Black-Indigenous colleagues and students, and this moment highlights both historical and present experiences of trauma. The silence and superficiality itself contributes to our university being an unsafe and hostile environment. We acknowledge this and extend our supports to Black and Black-Indigenous students, staff and faculty.
It has also been inspiring and powerful to witness the social mobilization and protests here in Canada and the United States. In solidarity, we express our love and extend healing prayers. We also demand immediate action and policy changes to defund the police and divest from policing.
We echo the call from Desmond Cole and Robyn Maynard who in their important and critical books The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power and Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present respectively call for policing abolition and defunding. We support the call for OISE U of T to defund on-campus policing and allocate effective supports for Black faculty, students, and staff. We recognize our responsibilities to work in collaboration and good relation to bring about these changes.
With much respect,
Indigenous faculty and staff at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education