Many of you have reached out to express your desire to learn more and to take concrete, constructive steps to address anti-Asian and anti-Black racism. As McGill faculty, students, and staff, our actions can have an impact on our own campus community and beyond.
The desire for learning more about confronting racism and cultivating allyship is widespread right now, although, for many, it is not new. To support this, we have prepared lists of resources which are found by clicking on the links above. We urge you to visit these sites and explore the array of resources with a view to learning and reflection. We also offer a series of equity education workshops open to all staff. These will be rolled out again in the Fall 2021 term. Faculty and administrative staff should be on the lookout for an invitation to register. You are warmly invited and we truly hope you will participate alongside your colleagues.
But, before we set out to learn more, it is critical to pause and reflect. This is a moment during which many positive and necessary changes can occur. However, we want these to be sustainable over time; that means addressing the root causes and not merely the symptoms of systemic discrimination and systemic racism. This requires deep and long-term engagement from each of us marked by a strong sense of awareness and humility. Therefore, each of us is called to engage in an honest self-assessment of what we understand, what we value, and what we’re willing to do to make a change both at McGill and beyond.
So, while our instinct is often to seek answers, advancing equity most often lies in asking the right questions. It is critical to take the time to reflect on these questions throughout the process of engaging with learning and action tied to equity. Learning and change require us to return to these questions iteratively so that our perspectives and understanding can shift and deepen over time. Here are some such questions with which we can engage in varied aspects of campus life at McGill:
Teaching and Learning
- What sources do we draw on and engage with in our courses?
- Which scholars and authors are we reading for class?
- How can we facilitate the exchange of views, experiences, questions, and insights among all of us who share classroom spaces?
- How can course assignments, projects, and activities enhance learning about racism and other forms of social and systemic oppression?
- What research questions do we pursue and how do these advance certain types of knowledges, disciplinary perspectives, and theoretical frameworks?
- How does research and knowledge production reflect the underrepresentation of minority groups within the University?
- Who benefits from our research outputs and knowledge production?
- How can our research teams and spaces become more welcoming and inclusive?
Community and Campus Life
- How can we ensure that our campus activities reflect a multitude of voices and experiences?
- How do we work to build inclusive social spaces on campus?
- What resources are allocated so that underrepresented groups can access support and continue to build community?
- How are Black and other racialized students supported both within and outside of the classroom by instructors and peers?
- How can engagement and relationship building with communities beyond our campus increase access to and success at McGill for students from underrepresented groups?
- What steps can help us become more proactive in our recruitment, hiring, recognition, retention, and promotion?
- What steps can we take to help ensure that institutional decisions reflect the experiences of racialized persons?
- How can we achieve greater diversity within our leadership ranks at the University?
- What opportunities are in place for colleagues to learn about equity and deepen their action?
- How and who do we mentor, and why is this important?
- How effectively are University policies related to employment equity, discrimination and harassment, and sexual violence understood, communicated, and applied within local workplace settings? How effectively are these policies impacting change at the University
As a team, we are also asking questions, individually and together. We understand the importance of thinking critically about the need to identify, interrogate, and shift racism within ourselves, our team, and our campus.
While we know that change takes time, is non-linear, and can be very challenging, we are committed to this work. We look forward to learning and working with you.
We are always welcome to hear from members of our community. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions at: equity.provost [at] mcgill.ca