Race Equity Caucus statement on the targeted murders in Buffalo calling for action against anti-Black racism

Dear Members of the York Communities,

We are writing with not only heavy hearts but heavy souls as we have witnessed yet another horrifying attack on African Americans – this time on those who live in Buffalo. The horrific and hateful targeted attack on Black lives in the heart of a vibrant African American community is yet another horrifying instance of the pattern of murders of Black peoples. Moreover, the targeting of African Americans within a community grocery store is a form of violence that unsettles any semblance of the notion of safety for African Americans in the heart of a deeply racist society. Given GTA’s longstanding historic ties with Buffalo, these attacks hit very close to home. The tie to white supremacist ideologies connects this attack to anti-immigration rhetoric more broadly, and in ways that evoke the Islamophobic violence that took place in Christchurch and Montreal. This and other attacks make members of our communities unsafe and vulnerable.

These murders point to the continuing struggle to ensure that Black Lives Matter. While in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, we have seen much attention in Canada and internationally to address ongoing anti-Black racism, acts such as this suggest not only that there is much left to do but also an urgency to carry out effective change. This change must address the increasing influence that white supremacists have in Canada, the United States and internationally. Addressing white supremacy requires an understanding of how it is tied to everyday whiteness - a recognition of the subtle ways it pervades everyday interactions, policies, and structures.

Members of REC would like to affirm that we share a collective determination to challenge anti-Black racism and all the forces that help to create it and maintain it. We stand together and commit to continue to carry out the work to ensure Black people—across their differences of age, gender, religion, class, geography, language and sexuality—can live without fear of violence, discrimination and inequities. We also call on York University and our Faculty Association to take a leadership role in challenging and counteracting all of the forces that create anti-Black racism both within and outside the university. We also call on all white members of York communities to carry out the important work of challenging anti-Black racism.

Ena Dua, Chair of the Race Equity Caucus