VIU’s ongoing response to the Black Lives Matter movement and racism in our community

June 8, 2020 - 2:15pm

 Submitted by Irlanda Price, Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs and Monica Kay, Director of VIU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office  

Over the past week we have had many conversations with students and employees, and know many others in our community are having similar conversations with each other, around the anti-Black racism protests that have drawn millions into the streets around the world to stand up for #BlackLivesMatter. 

One of the key things we heard from faculty and students who reached out to us after reading our message last week addressing racism, was that our focus in that message should’ve have been on the anti-Black racism protests that were happening around the world. And, that in our desire to recognize other groups who have been impacted by racism in our community, we diminished the focus on anti-Black racism that is front and centre in everyone’s hearts and minds in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. We have learned and understand that we can reject all forms of racism and also support, specifically, the anti-Black racism protests. We want to say thank you to those who reached out and let you know that while we still may make mistakes, we are listening and learning and will continue to do so.

VIU stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with everyone in our community and around the world who has come out to demand an end to anti-Black racism.

Racism towards any one or any group of people is not tolerated at VIU. We know many in our community have suffered throughout their lives from both the subtle and overt impacts of systemic racism. We want you to know we are here to support our community through listening, learning, educating and, most importantly, by not remaining silent.

We also know that while words are important – actions are critical.

As part of our continuing work to address racism in our community and around the world, VIU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office and Student Affairs Department are bringing a diverse group of employees and students together to discuss ways in which we can gather together, learn from each other and find ways to heal.

Our goal will be to create a safe space where we can hear difficult stories and have challenging conversations to ensure that racism in all its forms does not occur in our workplace, learning environments or in our broader community. We will be sharing more information about these activities as details are confirmed.

If you would like to be involved, please connect to studentaffairsadmin@viu.ca. If you have been impacted by current events, please reach out to VIU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office at humanrights@viu.ca. Thank you – by coming together with the goal of listening and learning we will begin to see real change.


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