The following statement was originally posted by DWG member Oy Lein Jace Harrison on Facebook on behalf of the collaborative efforts of students and alumni involved in the Diversity Working Group (DWG), Museum Professionals of Colour (MPOC), Accessibility Interests Working Group (AIWG), Indigenous Connections Working Group (ICWG), Master of Information Student Council (MISC), and multiple concentrations within the iSchool. It is cross-posted to the MISC website with permission.
By now you are all aware of ongoing protests in the United States, Canada and around the world, against the murders of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and the countless others that did not make the news.
So, show your peers that you care.
We are asking for your help with the following:
- Protest the iSchool’s statement by sending a copy of ‘RE: “Statement from Dean Wendy Duff on anti-black racism”’ to Dean Wendy Duff and iSchool email: shorturl.at/nHITZ
- Sign our petition to support BIPOC positive changes to the iSchool: https://tinyurl.com/y7jfpda7
- Fill out our survey asking about your experience at the iSchool: https://forms.gle/oXoApkWSivB27CGW9
- Share this post with your friends and peers at the iSchool
The sadness, hurt, anger, grief and exhaustion that is now amplified by the media, has been a permanent fixture in the lives of the Black community long before there was ever a Blackout Tuesday. As my good friend always tells me, “at the end of the day, it is a privilege for many of us to be able to walk away whilst others continue to live in it.”
As many people move to stand in solidarity with the Black community, I ask you all to think about what you are seeing in the media and reflect on how that racial violence is perpetuated here at the iSchool. For myself, and many other Black students, the iSchool has often felt like an unsafe space. I have been congratulated on excellent assignments, only to realize that my profs had mistaken me for another Black student; my friend has overheard students defending their right to use the term nxgger, while their white groupmates remained silent; I have asked profs if they would consider diversifying their courses and was told that their colleague had advised them not to because the white students won’t like it; I have been asked to educate a classroom that was 10% BIPOC on the term nxgger; when I wrote about the need for diversity at the iSchool for an assignment the TA agreed with me, and though there seemed to be no change he assured me that “most faculty care.”
I have seen many of you post black IG screens, share Black Lives Matter posts on FB, and check in on the Black folks in your lives. Now I am asking you to act on what you have said. The Diversity Working Group, Museum Professionals of Colour, Accessibility Working Group and Indigenous Connections have all been working to create safe spaces at the iSchool so that current and future Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, People with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ students do not have to experience what we have experienced.
If you feel comfortable, please share your experiences, or, show solidarity in the comment section on Facebook or at email@example.com. If you would like to publicly or privately share your experiences, but remain anonymous, please message Lo Humeniuk (Queer white woman), Oy Lein Jace Harrison (Black, Chinese and Jamaican woman) and we will comment or record on your behalf.