Ongoing Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion remains available to all faculty, staff, and students at York University.
Although our offices are not currently physically staffed, we are working remotely.
You can reach out to us if you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance relating to matters impacting your human rights.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (replies within 24 hours)
Telephone: (416) 736-5682 between 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (replies within 2 hours during office hours)
Visit out our Facebook and Twitter feeds for information about COVID-19 and its impacts on Human Rights.
Facebook: York U Rights
These are heavy times.
We at REI take heart in the global movement of resistance and solidarity in response to racial and colonial oppression. As an organization within a large university, we are aware of the profound privilege it is to do this work, especially in an institution built on territory traditionally care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat; especially in a neighborhood often vilified for its crime, victimized by over-policing, and overlooked for its vibrancy, resilience and responsiveness to injustice; especially within an institution that is a member of the “ivory tower”, with its long-held traditions of exclusion, racism, and discrimination. We are, and will continue to be, committed to addressing systemic racism in its many insidious forms, in our work, in our teams, in our hearts. We too continue to learn how to do this. This is hard work, and we are here for it.
We offer the following in the spirit of creating greater space for belonging, healing, and accountability. Choose what you can handle, and come back for more if you feel to.
Coming to this page is a good step. As you continue in the quest for greater equity, we recommend you:
- Search for sources of information that come from lived experience – Black and Indigenous writers, thinkers, artists, leaders;
- Believe Black and Indigenous people when they tell you they have experienced racism;
- If you are white in an all-white space, consider what might be making that space unwelcoming for non-white people;
- Turn inwards: what are you doing that supports racist culture and racist systems? What can you do to change that?
To this last question, we offer the following: you can support, advocate, change, and restore.
This week, we will focus on change, both internal and the world around you. Remember, this is only a tiny snapshot of how to engage in change work, there are so many ways you can use your voice and power to make change and shift culture. If you are still looking for ideas, follow us on social media for daily posts on what you can do and how you can learn more!
Ways to Change
Change your own habits and responses that are a part of the problem. Read, listen, watch, seek out truth, make space to learn.
This could look like:
- Having courageous conversations in your classroom about race, even if you don’t have all the answers;
- Noticing every time you interrupt a Person of Colour in a meeting or conversation;
- Exposing the children in your life to stories and media that portray Black people not only as slaves, bad guys, or victims;
- Making a list of anti-racism articles, media or training (like our anti-racism series), put it somewhere you check regularly, and go through it over time. We often post resources on how to learn about being a better anti-racist on our social media if you need ideas!
Discuss what you are reading both with people who “would never” read “something like that” AND people who do all the time. Change is only sustainable if you build community while you challenge the norm, otherwise it is close to impossible to not burn out.
For some ideas on how to start the change journey:
How to be actively anti-racist and not just on a surface level.
Some resources about how to talk to kids about racism.
If you are white:
- Consider how your actions and words affect People of Colour;
- Stop trying to make sure people know you aren’t a racist.
- Stop bringing up issues in ways that make your Black or Indigenous colleagues uncomfortable.They already have tobe uncomfortable at work all the time because of prevailing norms of whiteness demanding they “behave” white.
- Try to change white culture, but not on the backs of Black or Indigenous people. Call out your white colleagues or classmates, don’t single out your Black or Indigenous people to speak for their entire groups.
Keep in mind that change, both within and without, is slow, hard, and often painful. Many of us resist it. It may hurt, a lot.
And it is necessary.
This is York University. This is Belonging. #YUBelong.
To ask questions and provide a comment, please visit:
The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (REI) promotes and builds a respectful, equitable, diverse and inclusive university community*. It strives to be a leader in providing accessible, impartial, non-adversarial, and confidential programs and services that uphold human rights, facilitate equitable access to opportunities, and champion diversity and inclusion.
REI offers current students, faculty, and staff:
on York’s inclusion and human rights-related policies, procedures, and services.
related to human rights matters.
on human rights, equity, and inclusion.
York University recognizes that many Indigenous Nations have longstanding relationships with the territories upon which York University campuses are located that precede the establishment of York University. York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.
*REDI© (Respect Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) is a copyrighted term of REI.