Statement on Racism

In recent events, we have witnessed an uprising of voices in support of injustice experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) around the world. Archway Community Services stands with this movement and is prepared to take part in the hard work of standing up against systemic racism. Here is a word from our Executive Director, Rod Santiago with further information on how to get involved and recommended resources for your benefit.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Greetings friends of Archway,

I, like you, have been disturbed and angered by ongoing acts of racism and injustice including acts of hate during COVID perpetrated against persons of Asian background and the recent killing of George Floyd. The roots of systemic racism are deep and in combination with police brutality, income inequality, and poor leadership, all amidst a global pandemic have resulted in weeks of protests across the US, Canada and worldwide with no end in sight.

And before we as Canadians start patting ourselves on the back for at least not being as bad as our neighbours to the south, we only need to look at the news or statistics to see our own problems.

Canada is Not Immune to Racism

Despite being one of the most ethnically and racially diverse countries in the world, the majority of Canadians who are Black (54%) or Indigenous (53%) have personally experienced discrimination due to race or ethnicity from time to time if not regularly. Such experience is also evident but less widely reported by those who are South Asian (38%), Chinese (36%), from other racialized groups (32%), or White (12%).”

It can be easier to pretend racism doesn’t exist than to have to examine our own role and privilege. When we acknowledge that it’s real, we are compelled to act, which then begs the question, “What can I do?”

“I will not lose or waste my anger, and I suggest you don’t either,” Kenneth Elmore, Dean of Students at Boston University wrote. “Let’s use it to do what our rights allow and what our conscience compels.”

What Can We Do?

At Archway, we have things like a statement of diversity, land acknowledgements, a Diversity Education program specifically focused on anti-racism work, programs welcoming immigrants, plus we serve a diverse client base and have a diverse staff group, yet there is more “that our rights will allow us to do and that our conscience may compel us to do.” 

Last week our staff held a dialogue session to reflect and listen and our Inclusion and Diversity Committee is pursuing actionable items for our agency.

If you’re wondering what you can do, here’s some suggestions taken from online resources and others suggested by our Diversity Education program.

Yes, what can I do?

There’s so much to do that it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Let’s tackle this one step at a time starting with ourselves.

I encourage you to do what your “rights allow and what your conscience compels.”

Rod Santiago
Executive Director,
Archway Community Services