AGSEM’s Executive Committee is unequivocally against police violence and racism, in all its forms.
We remember Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Tony McDade, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others murdered by police officers. We also remember Pierre Coriolan, Anthony Griffin, Fredy Villanueva, Nicholas Gibbs, and all those killed by police or subject to police violence in Montréal.
Racism is not just seen in acts of police violence. Being anti-racist means supporting BIPOC students in the classroom and staff who are Black, Indigenous, People of Colour staff in their workplaces. Being anti-racist involves advocating for Black counselors, psychiatrists, and other medical staff. Being anti-racist includes noticing—and acting in response to—how McGill has fewer ethnic minority staff on campus now than five years ago, across all categories of work. (Source: 2019 Report on Employment Equity) Being anti-racist means pointing out—and acting in response to—how McGill has few Black professors, with estimates at around 14 out of 1,707 professors at McGill. (Source: Black Students' Network/The McGill Daily)
The answer to this is not just hiring more BlPOC workers. Instead, we must shift culture on campus and beyond. While such efforts as the Black Students’ Network proposal of a Black Students Bill Of Rights are important, administrators—who are largely white—must also listen and act, instead of displacing this labour onto Black students and workers. We need to pay attention to the police violence in our own city. Recently, in August 2019, the Black Coalition of Québec was given approval by a Québec superior judge to move ahead with a class action lawsuit against the SPVM that focuses on racial profiling (Source: CBC). A month later, a report was released by Montréal-based researchers that found that the SPVM stops Black and Indigenous people four to five times the rate that they stop white people (Source: CBC, Report). Police violence is not just a problem in the US—it is a problem in Montréal as well.
We at AGSEM remain committed to fighting racism in all its forms, including but certainly not limited to police violence. In addition, while we do have an Equity and Diversity Committee, this is largely an internally-facing committee. If any AGSEM members want to form a working group to mobilize around (or just build a platform for) anti-racism, BIPOC support, campus equity, or another related issue, please let us know and we will support you in making this happen: firstname.lastname@example.org
The AGSEM Executive Committee