As protests have erupted all over Turtle Island in support of Black lives and against police and institutional violence against the Black community, we express our complete solidarity with all those who engage in and support these uprisings. We remember and say the names of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, D’Andre Campbell, and Abdirahman Abdi, who represent only some of those murdered by police in recent memory. These deaths, in addition to countless other instances of harm, and acts of repression of any expression of Black grief, show how white supremacy is maintained through state-sanctioned police brutality.
White supremacy and systemic racism take many forms; they underpin justifications for violence against Black communities and normalize the idea that Black lives are somehow less valuable than others. Universities have a part to play in addressing white supremacy and anti-Black racism in their own policies and practices. We echo the calls to action by the Harriet Tubman Institute and YUFA’s Race and Equity Caucus (REC). YUFA’s Joint Subcommittee of Employment Equity and Inclusivity has made clear and achievable recommendations for the hiring of Black faculty, which need to be implemented. The university administration has long resisted any attempt to implement meaningful hiring equity provisions for contract faculty. We must address the underrepresentation of Black faculty at York University in a concrete and structural way for any claim to anti-racism to be more than mere sham performativity.
Furthermore, we were appalled to see that the President is considering all of the recommendations of the recent Cromwell report, including deputizing special constables on campus. As a continent-wide debate emerges about the need to defund the police in order to save lives, it is unconscionable that the university administration would consider inviting more policing, and therefore violence, onto our campuses. There is already a long history of policing practices that endanger the safety and sense of belonging of Black and racialized community members on campus. For anti-racism to mean anything at York University, we need to ban all police from campus, not invite more.
The York community needs to live up to its stated mission. Being a social justice university means amplifying and supporting the movements for racial justice. That can mean supporting Black-led protests and events, supporting Black community care initiatives and organizing, donating to Black activism, funds to support the families of those murdered by police, bail funds for protestors, and community organizing where you can. Below is a woefully incomplete list:
- Justice for Regis: https://www.gofundme.com/f/justice-for-regis
- In memory of D’Andre A. Campbell: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-d039andre-anthony-campbell
- BLM TO: https://blacklivesmatter.ca/donate/
- COVID-19 Black Emergency Support Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-emergency-support-fund
- The Toronto Protestor Bail Fund (https://ca.gofundme.com/f/toronto-protestor-bail-fund) has closed. There are many funds like it to support those arrested in the uprisings in the United States.
No justice. No peace.