OID Statement of Solidarity: Resisting Anti-Blackness

Dear Faculty of Medicine community,

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity would like to reach out and acknowledge the ongoing acts of resistance to anti-Black violence and police brutality that have been occurring in North America and around the world. We want to express our solidarity with Black communities and recognize the collective pain and anger that is being felt in the wake of recent events. We join you in calling for justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Tony McDade. We recognize that this violence is not new; there is a long history of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous police brutality in Canada and America.  We want to unequivocally affirm that #AllBlackLivesMatter.

It is particularly unfathomable that Black communities are dealing with this pain and violence while also facing COVID-19, which is killing Black and other marginalized groups at disproportionately higher rates as a result of structural oppression. The pandemic is a stark reminder that anti-Black racism is prevalent across all systems in North America, including health care services, research, and education. Our Office must continue to work collaboratively to eradicate anti-Blackness through systemic change.

To those that are feeling overwhelmed, outraged, and saddened, we want to remind you that you are not alone. There is a supportive community behind you that cares. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our Office at medicine.oid@utoronto.ca. We are here to listen, support, and organize for change. You can also access the U of T Equity Offices, including the U of T Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO). ARCDO has announced 2020-2021 course offerings designed to increase faculty and staff’s understanding of their roles/responsibilities and key strategies to advancing racial equity, diversity and inclusion at U of T. Here is the list of courses:

  • Understanding your responsibility to preventing racial discrimination & harassment in the work environment
  • What is Harassment? Tools to identifying and addressing racial and sexual harassment in the work environment
  • Addressing Racial Microaggressions: Tools, Strategies and Discussions
  • Understanding Anti-Black Racism: The Foundation
  • Going Deeper in Addressing Anti-Black Racism: Understanding Whiteness, Internalized Racism and Debunking Myths
  • Anti-Black Racism & Tools for Organizational Change
  • Debunking Institutional Racism for Managers
  • Identifying and addressing attitudinal barriers to racial equity, diversity and inclusion

You can register for these courses here: https://antiracism.utoronto.ca/request-a-training-workshop/. You can also advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion in your unit by requesting a customized workshop from ARCDO or our office.

Much work lies ahead for allies, advocates, and accomplices who aim to dismantle Anti-Black racism. We want to express our gratitude to all the Black learners, staff and faculty who continue to go above and beyond to support all Faculty of Medicine community members and respond to requests for education and leadership. We encourage allies to do the work to educate themselves and understand the traumas that Black community members are facing while trying to continue to do their own work and support people they care about. The following is a list of resources that can act as a starting point. You can also contact our Office for more information.

In Solidarity,

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity