News and Views
News and articles on our work.
MakeWay Stands with Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism Movement
On the anti-racism activism taking place around the world currently, and conflicts between police and activists standing up against anti-Black racism and violence.
Across Canada and for too long Black People, People of Colour, and Indigenous People have faced violence and systemic racism. We must do more than be outraged: we must take action and be willing to risk our power, resources, and comfort to achieve self-determination and equity for all. MakeWay stands for justice and in solidarity with Black lives and their struggle against violence, incarceration, and police brutality. MakeWay hopes to speak in one voice when we say Black Lives Matter.
The same institutions that exploit our ecosystems also exploit our communities. There is no ‘outside the environment’ as much as there is no ‘outside the community.’ While our personal experiences may differ, our commitment to creating a society where we can all thrive unites our collective struggle. We are in this together.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we must remember that racism and state violence is unfortunately commonplace in Canada as well. Some resources that outline the history and current impacts of racism & police violence in Canada include the following:
- Canada has its own extensive history of anti-Black racism and police brutality;
- Ontario’s Human Rights Commission found that Black Torontonians are 20 times more likely to be killed by police use of force than any other group;
- From MacLeans in 2015, “By almost every measurable indicator, the (Indigenous) population in Canada is treated worse and lives with more hardship than the African-American population.”
- Which makes senses given the RCMP were founded to “extend Canada’s colonial control of Indigenous territories in what would become Western Canada”;
- Research released in December 2019 found that, “Majorities of Canadians who are Black (54%) or Indigenous (53%) have personally experienced discrimination due to race or ethnicity from time to time if not regularly.”
- Canadians, especially British Columbians, must not forget our history of anti-Asian policies, such as the head tax, segregation, and Japanese interment. In light of COVID-19, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen.
MakeWay stands with the families and communities of all the Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Colour who have been slain by representatives of the Canadian state since colonization began.
In past years, MakeWay has taken a critical look at many of our policies and practices to try and align our operations with our values, but there is much more we can do to improve. We have taken some steps by establishing a Truth, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee, changes to our hiring practices, and staff learning sessions.
Ways in which we can/must do better:
- Continue to educate ourselves, and speak up on the intersectionality of environmental issues with economic & social justice issues, such as those related to race and gender;
- Prioritize work led by diverse community leaders, including work that directly confronts current systems of injustice;
- Build upon our efforts to make space for and support the leadership of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour at all levels of the organization;
- Supporting public interest positions on: (a) alternatives to policing & prisons, (b) legal recognition of Indigenous sovereignty, (c) increased community investment that flows directly to initiatives led by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.
- Set and monitor plans to achieve our goals, such as reconciliation, diversity, and climate action.
Open letters to America, written by Black Canadian writers in Maclean’s, addressing the recent upheaval and the task of confronting racism that—deny it as some Canadians might—persists in their own country: https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/a-letter-to-the-canada-u-s-border-they-said-it-would-be-different-on-this-side/ (Authors include Desmond Cole, Andray Domise, Esi Edugyan, Lawrence Hill, Sandy Hudson, Eternity Martis, Rinaldo Walcott, Ian Williams)
For white people drafting and redrafting the perfect post in the wake of another viral Black tragedy: https://thewhitepages.substack.com/p/for-white-people-drafting-and-redrafting?r=jqrv&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copy&fbclid=IwAR2pCQOr1LAUf-sNV8gQnOQCKYF3XbpHPBT2wNQhZoCxSh_G-09RsUvwjvk