Black lives matter. We acknowledge that while racism and oppression have come to the forefront again recently in the United States, Canada has its own historic and present day systemic racism towards Black, Indigenous and Peoples of Colour. Anti-Black racism in Canada dates back to the social, economic, and structural exclusion of Black people who came to Upper Canada seeking a safe haven from slavery and abuse. The exploitation of unpaid Black slave labour by European colonizers is the foundation of the systems and infrastructure that have allowed for Canada’s growth and development on stolen Indigenous lands.
POLICE VIOLENCE IN CANADA
Reparations have not been made to these oppressed groups, and this history permeates our society to this day. Black people continue to be subjected to racial profiling and disproportional carding by police. Indigenous Canadians are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates. Progress on investigating cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women is far too slow.
Whether conscious or unconscious, the racial bias of Canadian policing has real and lethal consequences for Black Canadians and Indigenous peoples in Canada, effectively neutralizing police services’ ability to “protect and serve”.
Black and Indigenous Canadians are much more likely to be killed in interactions with police: between 2000-2017, more than a third of the victims of deadly police encounters in Toronto were Black, although Black Canadians make up only slightly more than 8% of the total population. Black Torontonians are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white residents. In Winnipeg, 60% of those killed in police encounters were Indigenous, despite only making up 10.6% of the city’s population. Other racialized groups in Canada also experience statistically disproportionate levels of police violence, as well as discrimination and bias in police interactions.
It is important to note that in Canada, there is no official record of the number of individuals killed during police encounters. There is no system that regularly releases data on the usage of police force, and when this data is released, critical factors such as race and ethnicity are not accounted for. Thus, all statistics mentioned prior are the result of studies conducted by independent researchers, journalists, and/ or advocacy organizations.
More information: https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/06/02/Canada-Race-Based-Violence/
RACIAL JUSTICE IN THE CO-OPERATIVE SECTOR
At CWCF, we recognize that remaining silent on issues of injustice against the Black community, is to be conducive to the persecution, subjugation, and exploitation of Black Canadians.
It is no longer enough to not be racist. We must be fervently ANTI-racist in ways that encourage the protection, healing, acceptance, and overall welfare of our Black populations.
We acknowledge that positions of power in the Canadian co-operative sector are predominantly held by white people, making the work and workplaces in these fields subject to white biases and racism.
We also want to acknowledge, center and uplift the rich history of co-operative economic practices in Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities. To create economic and social justice for all, we must build new economies that do not replicate the systemic racism and inequity of capitalism.
The leadership, values, and economic practices of Black and other racialized communities are foundational to the current, and future, Solidarity Economy.
CWCF is doing our part to ensure the co-op sector, and our workplace, are representative of an inclusive environment where all forms of racism, whether overt, discreet, or micro-aggressive; are condemned.
CWCF’s governance now includes a ‘Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ (JEDDI) Committee, who have drafted and approved an ongoing JEDDI action plan to support a racially diverse, inclusive and just worker co-operative movement in Canada.
This plan includes two new funding pools to support racial justice in the Canadian worker co-op sector: one for racial justice projects, and another for the professional development of racialized individuals working in the sector.
We are also working to support the development of co-operatives and social enterprises owned and operated by racialized individuals through our JEDDI Business Conversion Project.
Internally, CWCF is committed to the periodic revision of the hiring processes, organizational structures, and level of racial diversity within our organization, to ensure we embody the representation and opinions that will allow us to authentically work towards dismantling harmful beliefs and practices in the workplace.
These are just the first steps to dismantling the racism embedded in each of us individually, as well as the harmful attitudes, damaging beliefs, and oppressive systems embedded in the co-operative sector. We call on our colleagues, peers and co-conspirators in solidarity, to commit to this transformation with us.
This statement was re-drafted by CWCF’s JEDDI Business Conversions Project Coordinator, Janielle Maxwell, and approved by CWCF’s BIPOC Board Advisors & Executive Committee.