Statement on anti-Blackness from the Equity & Diversity Committee

In light of the recent death of George Floyd and massive protests in the United States, we stand in solidarity with the Black community and the many movements dedicated to combating systemic racism and institutionalized violence in the US and Canada. Mr. Floyd’s death, like those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sammy Yatim and too many other Black Americans and Canadians are the consequences of sanctioned and willful ignorance of the legacies of enslavement and eugenics, along with ongoing political, material, and social marginalization, policing, incarceration, and wide-spread anti-Blackness. These are all coupled with the intersecting oppressions experienced by disabled, queer, gender diverse and neurodiverse Black people.

Black people continue to face daily reminders that they are unsafe while dealing with the criminal justice system, seeking health care, jogging in their neighborhoods, birding, or just sitting in their own homes. 

Research in the discipline of geography has worked to reveal socio-spatial injustices across academic institutions, cities, and rural landscapes. Today, a new generation of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx geographers continues this work, calling out institutional racism and colonial violence in our discipline’s educational programs, research trajectories, and everyday practices. In this moment of mourning and protest, geographers are called upon to critically reflect on how we, as individuals and collectives, are accountable for ongoing racism, anti-Blackness and disenfranchisement. To ask ourselves how we, as scholars and researchers, can transform our teaching, institutional practices, and community engagements in ways that directly address on-going racism and systemic inequalities. To commit to educating for justice. 

We pledge to address our discipline’s legacy of racism by being actively anti-racist and centring racial justice in our hiring practices, recruitment of graduate students, and curricula. 

– Equity & Diversity Committee, UBC Geography