Queen’s responds to anti-racism protests

Principal Patrick Deane, AMS, and Rector encourage fight against racism 

Principal Patrick Deane encouraged members of the Queen’s community to educate themselves about the issue at hand in a June 2 statement.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

In various statements, the University and student leaders have addressed the anti-racism protests sweeping the United States and Canada over the last week.

Principal Patrick Deane encouraged members of the Queen’s community to reflect on their own biases and educate themselves on the issue at hand in a June 2 statement.

“In recent days, like many people, I have watched and read news coverage of anti-racism protests across the United States and in Canada, precipitated by the brutal and senseless killing of George Floyd by police,” Deane wrote. “This appalling event, along with other racist acts experienced daily by Black people in our society, reminds us that we cannot be complacent and must continue to fight racism in all its forms.”

He pledged to further efforts for inclusion at Queen’s through the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE).

Deane also linked a number of resources for individuals impacted by the recent events, including student support counsellorsEmpower MeGood2Talk, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance (EFAP) program and their Human Rights and Equity Office.

“We must continue and strive to keep our shared humanity in focus and care for one another with respect and courage,” he wrote. “That can only come from doing the work needed to fully understand the roots of anti-Black racism, acknowledging our biases and role in contributing to this problem, and standing up to its destructive forces to achieve fully a future in which everyone is treated equitably and with dignity.”

The AMS also posted a “Statement Against Anti-Black Racism” to its website on June 1.

“The Alma Mater Society stands in solidarity with our Black students, staff, faculty, and extended communities who continue to face anti-Black racism and discrimination,” they wrote, adding the Society condemns acts of racism and discrimination and understands its platform must be used purposefully and with intention.

The Society also shared a list of links on its Facebook page on June 2, including links to resources, events and opportunities students can access, and information on student groups and organizations.

“We […] intend to continue working throughout the year to educate, inform, and support our peers,” the Society wrote in the post. Students can contact the Society to have resources added to the list. 

Rector Sam Hiemstra released a statement on June 1 to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and acknowledge the anti-Black racism present at Queen’s.

“The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and the countless members who were murdered due to the extrajudicial killings by police has been vicious,” he wrote. “I stand in solidarity with grieving Black community members.”

Hiemstra followed the statement with resources for students, including the Queen’s Black Academic Society’s (QBAS) list of actions that individuals can take, a list of mental health and support events for Black and BIPOC students affected by recent events, Human Rights Advisory Services and the Human Rights Office’s information about racism at Queen’s.

“To non-Black students and members of the community, now is the time to listen and unlearn,” he wrote. “We must go beyond verbal support and help dismantle the structures that reinforce the idea that Black lives are not valued. We need to demand more from our friends, family, leaders, and ourselves.”

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