Our Commitment to Confronting Anti-Black Racism

The Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) stands in solidarity with those who are speaking out and calling for the elimination of anti-Black racism in Canada and around the world. We recognize the deeply embedded racism that exists at all levels and across all sectors, in Canada, in Ontario, and in London.  We are firmly opposed to the rationalization, minimization, or denial of racism and its impacts on racialized groups and our society as a whole. 

As a research centre established as a university and community partnership, CRHESI exists in both academic and non-academic spaces. We have witnessed first-hand the many ways in which structural racism shapes the work we do – the research questions we ask, how we ask them, and what we do with the knowledge we generate. And we have seen how racism influences whose voices are heard, and whose are not.

We recognize there are ways in which we as individuals and as an organization contribute to the existence and experience of historical, interpersonal, and systemic racism and racial injustice, and are committed to listening, learning, and strengthening our capacities and actions to eliminate racism and enhance equity.

We acknowledge evidence of the direct and indirect negative impacts and harms racism inflicts on health and wellbeing, and in shaping and perpetuating health inequities.

We hear and firmly support the Black Lives Matter movement and leaders of various Black organizations in Ontario and Canada in their call for anti-Black racism to be declared a public health crisis and for concrete action for positive change.

We echo the respective 2018 statements of the Canadian Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association naming racism and law enforcement violence against marginalized populations as significant public health issues.

As a community-focused centre for research on equity, we commit ourselves to reflexive practice and to ensuring that our research and knowledge exchange activities contribute to the dismantling of institutional and systemic racism and racial injustice, and to the deep understanding and establishment of health equity. And we are committed to the conduct of research that is explicitly anti-racist. To achieve this, we must learn about our history and its harmful consequences. More specifically, we will:

  • Revisit our Statement of Principles through an anti-racist lens
  • Commit to understanding, articulating, and implementing anti-racist and decolonizing research methodologies, and sharing our insights with the broader community of academic researchers within and outside of Western University
  • Forge ongoing relationships with Black organizations to co-construct our vision, mission, principles, and work
  • Reflexively examine how we as individuals and an organization contribute to oppression
  • Collaboratively create knowledge exchange opportunities that address anti-Black racism by leveraging existing resources to support the voice, actions, and leadership of others in this space

“We need more than hollow words.”

“On Sunday, June 20th, 55-year old Juan López Chaparro became the third migrant agricultural worker to die from COVID-19 while in Canada. Juan was employed by Scotlynn Group in Southern Ontario, the farm with the largest COVID-19 outbreak among migrant agricultural workers in the country…” Continue reading We need more than hollow words, a statement issued on June 23 by the Migrant Worker Health Project.

Continue learning: Watch Susana Cajax’s (Assistant Professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University) interview with CTV News on Tuesday, June 23.

Confronting Anti-Black Racism (July 7, 2020, 7-8:30 PM)

Let’s explore concrete ways that we — individually and collectively — can acknowledge and dismantle our roles in the perpetuation of racism.

On July 7, 2020, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM, Dr. Melanie-Anne Atkins and Dobijoki Emanuela will host a live City Symposium discussion with Colette Chapman, Nyabuoy Gatbel, Leroy Hibbert, Arielle Kayabaga, and Malvin Wright about confronting anti-Black racism. “We will explore how silence, privilege, microaggressions, and unconscious bias continue to enable anti-Black racism in our institutions and communities.” Full bios for all the panelists and facilitators are available on the City Symposium website.

Please register for the event via Eventbrite.

The City Symposium series is made possible through a city-wide collaboration including the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion, Urban League of London, London Community Foundation, Polishuk Camman & Steele, London Public Library, Aeolian Hall, Grand Theatre, Museum London, Western’s Faculty of Information & Media Studies, Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences, London Arts Council, Pillar Nonprofit Network, Fanshawe Student Union, Western University Student’s Council, and the City of London.

Letter to the Editor: Let’s disrupt the silence

Read Vivetha Thambinathan’s (PhD student, Health Rehabilitation Sciences, Western University) letter in the Western Gazette:

Non-Black people, like myself, have a responsibility to labour in thinking through and acting in ways that support, affirm and advocate for our Black students, staff and faculty at this time… We can do this by asserting our understanding that this country was founded on anti-Black chattel slavery and the genocide of Indigenous peoples as part of the nation-building project. And acknowledging that white supremacy and race logic are embedded within our institutions in ways that privilege whiteness and uphold colonialist values. As professor Angela Davis has eloquently said: “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

Read full letter in the Western Gazette.