Get Informed and Get Involved: End Systemic Racism in Canada

I am sure that we are all horrified by the acts of racism we see happening in both Canada and the US these days. A first step in starting to address this systemic racism is to try to understand this inequity on a deeper level. We have created an anti-racism resource list of article, books, films, and actions, to help get us all started learning over the summer. This list is just a place to begin and we look forward to the discussions ahead of us.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet read White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, this is a highly recommended book -considered a necessary book for all people invested in societal change. My listening circle is going to be discussing this in August and the board will discuss this book at their September retreat. Why not form another White Fragility discussion group? I would be glad to help here and can provide an excellent discussion guide provided by the UUA.

White Fragility is currently on backorder with Pages Books in Kensington but is expected to arrive by end June. Please consider and place your order with them (support local independent bookstore) and mention that you are with the Unitarians to receive a 10% discount. White Fragility is also available electronically in the Calgary Library.

Jane Ebbern

A resource list for those who wish to become allies to people of colour

Articles and blog posts

February 4, 2020.Desmond Cole: Canada insists on being surprised by its own racism. Maclean’s.

April 17, 2020.Remembering 27 Black, Indigenous and racialized people killed by Canadian police. From the blog “Cole’s Notes”, written by Desmond Cole.

June 1, 2020.“Have non-profit and philanthropy become the ‘white moderate’ that Dr. King warned us about?” From the website

June 1, 2020.“Black Organizations and Anti-Racist Groups Canadians Can Support Now.” Huffington Post.

Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Round-up”. From the blog

Many resources from Black Lives Matter –including, petitions, learning materials and more

75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice – worth reading at least the first part – all good civic action questions that we should be asking here in Canada

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh-suggest you read her list of what constitutes White Privilege.

Anti-Racism Resource List for children, youth, and adults from the Hollyhock group near Vancouver.

From the Canadian Unitarian Council website, a few links:

The Guardian:“Not About the Needs and Feelings of White People

The Globe and Mail: “Racial Disparities in Toronto Police Force

CBC Curio: “Report on Racial Profiling by Toronto Police

Five Ways to Support Black Lives Matter, from our UU colleagues in the US

CBC -Canada’s Slavery Secret

Books and other publications

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.By Robin DiAngelo.Beacon Press. 2018.

How to Be an Antiracist.By Ibram X. Kendi.One World (Penguin Random House).2019.

The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power.By Desmond Cole.Penguin Random House.Doubleday Canada.2020.

25 Books about being Black in Canada. A list generated by CBC in June 2020.

14 Books to Read for Indigenous History Month. A list generated by CBC in June 2019.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. 2015.

Documentary films

10 documentaries to watch about race instead of asking a person of colour to explain things for you” From the website of DocPlay.

An Essential Black Lives Matter Film List on Kanopy (Calgary Public Library these powerful and timely documentaries from Kanopy. (White Like Me by Tim Wise recommended)

Check out Cineplex for free offerings of Understanding Black Stories

Northern Alberta film “We are the Roots” : Once on this site, you can click on a link to see the whole film -moving story about Black Alberta and past discrimination

13th-Documentary on Netflix -Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African Americans.

Rolling Stone offering free viewing of “Just Mercy” during June

Suggested Actions

From the Facebook page of Beakerhead

  • Existing anti-racism work that you can support and engage with here in Calgary
  • Watch the documentary “YYC Colours”, an exploration of racism in Calgary.You can find it easily on YouTube
  • Follow locally produced @theunlearningchannel on Instagram and listen through their podcast series
  • Follow @communitywise on Instagram and visit their website to learn more about AROC (anti-racist organizational change), an award-winning framework addressing racial inequity in organizations
  • Follow @actiondignity, a local non-profit that is working on an Alberta-wide project to address inequality and racism in this province.(They have also been at the frontlines of the Cargill crisis.)

Get in touch with your local MLA and express your anger at the fact that the current UCP government de-funded all anti-racism grants and initiatives in the province that furthered this important work

From –

Call on mayors to commit to the following actions:

  1. REVIEW your police use of force policies.
  2. ENGAGE your communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review.
  3. REPORT the findings of your review to your community and seek feedback.
  4. REFORM your community’s police use of force policies. Everyone can support this effort—and we hope that individuals across the country will take action to urge their mayors to take these steps for change.

Where to Donate? Here are Two Suggestions among Many Options

Black Lives Matter Canada is a place to send donations. They’re posting bail for arrested protestors and providing a ‘Freedom School’ Black history program for children.

Also Indspire, with scholarships for Canadian Indigenous students.

“I see no colour” is not the goal. “I see your colour and I honour you. I value your input. I will be educated about your lived experiences. I will work against the racism that harms you. You are beautiful. Tell me how to do better. ”That’s the goal. (Carlos A. Rodriguez)