Munk School Statement on Anti-Black Racism and Systemic Discrimination

To members of the Munk School community,

In recent weeks, the murder of George Floyd has ignited protests around the world. Systemic racism is a lived reality for Black Canadians with devastating consequences for individuals, families and communities. Systemic racism is also a lived reality for Indigenous peoples and people of colour in Canada and other countries. In all its forms, racism is unjust and it is wrong. We all have a role to play in confronting these inequities and in working to build more just societies.

Last week, I echoed support for President Gertler’s statement and spoke to our graduating classes about the need to take this moment to change things for the better. I am heartened by the work being done by our student associations and by so many students, alumni, faculty and staff in our community to work towards racial justice and to build more inclusive societies. We all need to lift our voices against racism and inequity.

A commitment to positive change also requires us to look inward. We recognize the complexity and deep-seated nature of this problem, which itself requires multiple voices and perspectives. In recent days, I have been in discussion with some of you about how the Munk School community can work to address these issues within our own sphere. We need to collaborate together. And we need to act in concrete ways.

As an academic community, we need to create spaces to encourage discussion. We need to listen and learn. Because that is the best and only basis for action. To begin this, I am outlining some specific steps I want us to take as a community:

And most importantly: accountability. I will return to you and report back early in the fall term on the mandate and membership of the action table and other steps we are taking and will report back to you again at the outset of the winter term on the progress of these initiatives.

Learning is central. For those of you who want to learn more and to read more deeply on the subject now, the University of Toronto libraries have compiled an anti-Black racism reading list. I have attached this as a link here.

We recognize the urgency and complexity of the challenges before us. I am committed to working together with you to listen, to collaborate, and to act on them.

Michael Sabia

Originally published on June 15, 2020.