Statement on the Murder of George Floyd and Social Injustice

By Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS)

The CAAS executive would like to express its anger, frustration, and sorrow at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and many others. Their deaths — and valued lives appallingly cut short — serve as an ongoing and stark reminder of the realities of anti-Black racism, discrimination, and violence in the United States, Canada, Brazil and many different contexts around the globe. We denounce in the strongest terms the inhumanity and injustice of these killings.

In light of these recent events CAAS would like to express its solidarity with Black communities in the United States, Canada, and other countries facing, now as ever and in particularly stark form, the realities of systematic racism and racist policing. CAAS unreservedly supports the Black Lives Matter campaign in the US and Canada and applauds the courage exhibited by protesters on both sides of the border as well as elsewhere in the world despite violent repression. This movement and the many local community support initiatives and leaders that have sprung out of it represent meaningful hope for a better future.

CAAS acknowledges that many of our African members living in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere are uneasily positioned, experiencing discrimination and racism both as Africans and as Black Canadians or Black people living in North America and Europe. CAAS also acknowledges the ongoing struggle of Indigenous people across the country against racism and discrimination, as demonstrated by Thursday’s killing of Chantel Moore in New Brunswick, and the oppression faced by other communities including people of colour and LGBTQIA+, especially those living with disability or mental health issues. CAAS recognizes that while these are not the same struggle, they are all reinforcing and challenge our collective humanity. We acknowledge their similar roots stemming from systemic issues that include white supremacy, settler colonialism, gender discrimination and sexism.

Consequently, CAAS recognises that Canada has a long way to go when it comes to meaningfully addressing systemic racism and associated repression and violence against Black and other racialized communities, and joins other associations’ call for shared solidarity and action.

CAAS and its associated journal, the Canadian Journal of African Studies, have taken steps in the past several years, specifically at the urging of Black African members of the community, to diversify its administrative structures and publishing. CAAS recognizes that as an academic association based in the “Global North”, we still have a great deal of work to do to contribute to dismantling structures of exploitation and oppression that feed into anti-Black discrimination and racism.

In solidarity,

Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS)

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