From the Department of Geography, Planning & Environment
We, the Department of Geography, Planning & Environment -- located on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka lands -- extend our solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggle against systemic racism that has not only led to physical violence, but also the slow violence that manifests in inequitable access to education, health, housing, work – the essential bases for livelihood. We also want to express our solidarity with the goals and rationale of the letter drafted by the Black Studies Collective at Concordia.
As the conference organized last year—Protest and Pedagogy—revealed for the university, Concordia’s founding was closely tied to the biggest student protest against anti-Black racism in Canadian History. Supporting the Concordia Statement on Black Lives as a department is a chance to contribute to the university's work of acknowledging our institutional history and living up to the sacrifices that students made back then-- and continue to make-- to fight racism and to stand up for social justice.
As a Department that centers on teaching and research, we must also listen and learn from the activists in the movement, those who are striving to tear down racist institutions and create new spaces, communities and relations. Fields such as Geography, Environmental Studies, and Planning have been implicated in instituting and sustaining white supremacy and violence against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities. Therefore, standing against racism involves acknowledging the role of our disciplines and our places within them, and reflecting on how they can be otherwise – i.e., rethinking the kinds of histories, people, places and policies we center in learning and those we have marginalized.
The Department of Geography, Planning & Environment commits to an ongoing process of reflection and engagement, to equip ourselves with greater knowledge about the insidious practices of systemic racism so that we may undo barriers within our department, address issues of under-representation and implement diverse perspectives in teaching, as well as commit to the ongoing fight against inequality and racial injustice in our everyday spheres of influence.