Dear Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives community,
We are filled with anger, pain, outrage and frustration by the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other members of the Black community in the United States. Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives cannot continue to be viewed as expendable. Unprovoked police interference with peaceful protest is unacceptable.
In recent months, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and other marginalized groups has served as a further reminder of the undue burden of systemic inequities and racism.
The recent deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, D’Andre Campbell, as well as all the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, remind us that the issues of racialized violence and police brutality are not foreign to Montréal, Québec or Canada. We acknowledge the pain and fear that Black members of our community here at McGill are experiencing. Black lives matter. Your lives matter. We want to ensure that the institutionalized and structural violence that impacts you is not ignored, dismissed or explained away. At the same time, while we must address injustices against the Black community, we must also address our past silence and inaction on injustices facing other communities.
We recognize that these acknowledgments are a beginning and not an end—they must be supported by meaningful action. We have begun to reform some of our actions to address discrimination and systemic inequities and we will continue to do so. As leaders of the Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives research program, we are committed to fostering an HBHL community that actively rejects racism and supports everyone in our community in their studies, work, research and outreach.
We will make sustained efforts to address discrimination and systemic inequities in science and academia. krystle.vanhoof [at] mcgill.ca (We encourage you to reach out) over the coming days, weeks and months to help us determine how, together, we can ensure our community is a positive and inclusive force both at McGill and beyond.
Martha Crago, VPRI, Chair, HBHL Board of Directors
Alan Evans, HBHL Scientific Director
Krystle van Hoof, HBHL Managing Director and CEO
HBHL Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee