Words have escaped us over the past few weeks. We have watched in anger and confusion, and witnessed the anguish of people in communities all over America, Canada and the world. The past few weeks have felt surreal, sad and scary.
We have read articles, columns, posts. We’ve met, discussed, shared, and reflected.
And yet, our words have not come easily. We recognize that our response has not come quickly, but we know that silence is not acceptable. We have been grappling with how to respond well, and we know it is important that our community hears from us.
We recognize that racism is a critically important issue.
We know that racism is a root cause of poverty.
We know that people living on low-incomes are more likely to be black, Indigenous or people of colour.
As a partner in the Enough for All poverty reduction strategy, we have a responsibility to eradicate racism and discrimination. Given Momentum’s vision to reduce poverty and our values of compassion and social justice, we must become an anti-racist organization. To do this, we will work to recognize the deep pain of those experiencing racism. We know from our work with members of Indigenous communities and people of other colours in our programs that the struggle with racism is real and hurtful.
Being hopeful is a starting point but is not a strategy for change, and we are changemakers. As a changemaking organization, we will take action.
- Working together with our partners in the Enough for All poverty reduction strategy, we can hold ourselves accountable to creating real, lasting change.
- We will continue to invest resources and energy into our Indigenous Strategy: Iitsihtaana. This strategy calls on us to educate ourselves on Indigenous culture and history, build meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities, and change our own internal systems that prohibit participation of Indigenous learners or staff. We have a long way to go, but the journey is underway.
- We will learn from people who experience racism. In fact, this learning has already started with our staff as they share and learn from one another. The learning is a critical first step to reduce racism and it is a constant commitment. It is especially important that we learn to understand how the hidden, pervasive and systemic nature of racism creates barriers for people in our community. Prejudice and discrimination are learned and so we need to educate ourselves and share our learning with others in our community. There are many great learning resources out there, and our friends at Vibrant Communities Calgary highlight many in their blog post on racism and our shared responsibility.
- We will work to change the systems of racism both at Momentum and in our community. As one example, we are moving forward with plans to deliver a second round of anti-racist training to our entire staff and board team, after the training from last year was so well received.
We haven’t worked out all the answers and next steps but this is a start. At Momentum, we want everyone in our community to be included, and to belong – especially when they are involved with Momentum.
Send us your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org