Department of Psychology Statement July 6, 2021

06 July 2021

Statement spring/summer 2021 violence against visible minorities: Trigger warning/Content warning: Violence, violence against children

Dear Students and Colleagues,

The last several months have been a challenging time for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult enough on its own. Added to the pandemic are the effects of significant budgetary reductions and restructuring at the University of Alberta. In addition to these unprecedented challenges both globally and locally, we have sadly witnessed several local acts of violence directed at members of our community who are members of visible minorities. These acts are reprehensible and the Psychology Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (PEDIWG) denounce them all in the strongest manner possible.

In addition to these heinous acts of recent violence, we have also learned of several discoveries of childrens’ remains buried in unmarked graves at the locations of former Indian Residential Schools. These events have reopened wounds for Indigenous Peoples across the Country. The PEDIWG stands in solidarity with visible minorities as well as Indigenous Peoples as they deal with the trauma caused by these events.

The PEDIWG joins Indigenous communities and residential school survivors grieving the disturbing and shameful revelations of unmarked mass graves containing the remains of Indigenous children at the sites of residential schools in Canada. The evidence of the dehumanizing policies of Canada’s past must clearly remind us that racism, violence, and inequality remain core problems in Canada today. It is our responsibility to support our students and colleagues and ensure we all continue to be educated about the terrifying history of racism, colonialism, human rights abuses, and genocide in this country.

We are committed to supporting and learning about Indigenous history and issues. The anticipation of the discovery of many more mass graves must commit us to ensure that the atrocities committed against Indigenous People brings full awareness of their continued struggle in Canada. It is our obligation to heed the calls to action for truth and reconciliation.

Over the next few months, the PEDIWG will reach out to faculty, staff, and students to gather information on lived experiences with racism and discrimination within our programs. The PEDIWG will encourage education and implementation of EDI-supporting practices to support all members of our community.

Here are links to some U of A resources supporting student mental health as well as our employee family assistance program.

Continue to take care of yourselves and each other, and be in touch if there is anything we can do to support you.

 

Sincerely,
Chris Sturdy
Chair, Psychology Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group (PEDIWG)
Signed on behalf of the PEDIWG