We’ve all had a chance to watch and absorb the inspiring global events that are focused on eradicating racism and moving towards creating a truly just society.
There is much work to be done, and we all play a part. It’s not good enough to sit silently and watch as our friends, colleagues and fellow human beings courageously stand up and express the pain and suffering they’ve experienced. We must do more than acknowledge the injustice that exists. We must participate in building solutions that actively reject racism, discrimination, and inequality.
Since our inception, CS-Can|Info-Can has actively promoted inclusivity. While we have worked to attract diversity to the field of computer science, it’s clear we could have and should have done more.
Racism is not a new phenomenon. Sadly, our country was founded on a policy of racism with a clear and concerted effort to wipe out the indigenous people who lived on this land long before it was given the name Canada. It is inevitable that racism would infiltrate every system and it is now a part of every institution.
While acknowledging the pervasiveness and damage caused by racism and discrimination is an important first step, we need to work hard to ensure our actions match our words and intentions.
We call on each and every CS-Can|Info-Can member to not only recognize that racism exists, but that it denies many the opportunity to live the lives they deserve. Those of us who have and continue to live a life of privilege must dedicate the time and effort to learn, understand, and change so that we can build a just and equitable society.
As an organization, we pledge to take the following steps to ensure we make a difference:
- First and foremost, we will listen. When confronted with information that points out privilege or systemic racism and discrimination, we will strive to listen, learn, and change.
- We will consult. Instead of assuming that we know the best course of action, we will ask before we act to ensure our actions are inclusive and promote equality. To this end, CS-Can|Info-Can will convene a Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion to consult with the computer science community across Canada to develop programs and policies to ensure that our teaching and research institutions and the industry as a whole serve all Canadians.
- We will act to challenge cultures, policies and procedures which uphold or maintain systemic racism and discrimination
While we will continue in our pursuit to defend and preserve academic freedom, we will never tolerate or accept behaviour that is racist or discriminatory.
Our goal is to create lasting change. We no longer want to be part of the status quo. Join us in making a better world.
To begin, please spend time learning more about racism and its roots. Strive to understand and be part of making positive and lasting change.
Resources for understanding and taking action against racism:
Government of Canada Anti Racism Engagement
Showing up for racial justice
Anti Black Racism Reading List from University of Toronto
Anti Racism Resource from University of Waterloo
KAIROS: Unlearning racism against Indigenous peoples in one generation