On Sunday, Vancouverites marched in the streets to mark Emancipation Day – August 1, 1834 – when slavery was ended in Canada and the British Empire. Today, there is still much to do as anti-Black racism still festers in our society. We have issued the following statement to continue the dialogue, and a call to action to educate, take action and advocate against anti-Black racism.
In many ways, the year 2020 has served as a call to action – a call that has challenged each of us to play our part in achieving a bigger goal for the broader community. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing helped to flatten the curve. Ongoing vigilance to public health measures has sustained our efforts in protecting our community, particularly the most vulnerable.
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are yet more examples of transgressions in a long line of systemic anti-Black racism that still festers in our society. Worldwide outrage has erupted against these injustices and the disparities that continue to plague the Black community. While the marches and protests have quieted, we are reminded to remain conscious and attentive to the movement re-enforcing that Black lives have value.
As an institution founded on the virtue of compassion and the tradition of social justice, Providence Health Care and the Medical Staff Association stand firmly against anti-Black racism. Overt and covert anti-Black racism has created systemic inequities in power, wealth, justice, education and health that continue to stifle the Black community. Fighting racism is about protecting and respecting human lives. These are the same principles that led many of us to a career in medicine and health care.
We would like to foster a culture of dialogue and inclusion. While talking about racism may be uncomfortable, experiencing racism may be deadly. Moving beyond conversations, we must take a stronger collective stand to recognize and eradicate racism in our workplaces, institutions and households. We must demand change. It is work we need to do for a better world – for our patients, our colleagues, our children and the future of humanity. We are united in fighting against COVID-19. How can we stay silent about anti-Black racism? The pandemic is temporary, but racism will continue killing people long after COVID-19 is gone.
Let’s play our part! Here are some ways that you can make a difference:
1. EDUCATE yourself and others about racism.
2. TAKE ACTION
- Speak up against racism that you witness or experience in our health care environment or system, so that we can take action to make necessary changes and stop it.
- Speak up against racism that you witness or experience anywhere.
- Share and repost information and stories in support of anti-Black racism.
- Respond to social media trolls by recommending they educate themselves and adding a link to blacklivesmattervancouver.com> or bccommunityalliance.com>.
- Volunteer and/or join a peaceful demonstration: https://blacklivesmattervancouver.com/
- Volunteer with the BC Community Alliance to address systemic inequities and racism in educational policy and practice here>
- Volunteer as an ally/collaborator with an organization providing programs to support youth leadership and community resources for women and their families: The Congress of Black Women >
- Volunteer for the Black Youth Helpline>
- Sign petitions calling for transparency on the death of individuals in custody.
- Advocate for transparent external independent reviews of criminal justice activities involving law enforcement agencies.
- Support the City of Vancouver, Racial and Ethno-cultural Equity Advisory Committee’s initiative of collecting disaggregated race-based data to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC). We cannot help diverse communities unless we have specific data on health outcomes: https://vancouver.ca/your-government/racial-and-ethno-cultural-equity-advisory-committee.aspx
- Sign petitions calling for measures to support anti-Black racism in the Vancouver School Board: https://bccommunityalliance.com/anti-black-racism-petition/
- Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmattervancouver.com/>
- Contribute to scholarships that support Black students who are pursuing post-secondary education: https://bcblackhistory.ca/learning-centre/rosie-jones-joan-cook-memorial-bursary/ and http://ncbwf.org/help-_-support.html#donate
- Donate and support an organization working in partnership to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada: Black Health Alliance: https://blackhealthalliance.ca/get-involved/donate/
- Support organizations that are working to highlight and preserve the historical contributions of the Black community in British Columbia. BC Black History Awareness Society > and Hogan’s Alley Society >
- Sponsor organizations that provide and promote programs that foster the advancement, recognition, health and education of Black women and their families. The Congress of Black Women of Canada >
- Black Youth Helpline >
- Emergency Black Community COVID-19 Fund >
- Black Solidarity Fund > This common fund supports more than 40 charities across Canada focusing on social services, economic opportunities, access to education, advocacy and mental health support. Donations are matched up to $1 million by an industry sponsor.
Download the PDF here>