Open Letter From Anti-Racism Committee
Dear fellow Niagara citizens,
We are the Anti-Racism Committee, acting with PACHRED (the President’s Advisory Committee for Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization) at Brock University. We write here to condemn all threats of violence and death always, and specifically, at the present time, the recent threats against Dr. Hirji, which were triggered by Niagara Public Health’s recommendation, in consultation with the Regional Chair & CAO of Niagara Region, to the Province of Ontario to keep Niagara in the Grey stage in order to continue protecting the lives of the residents of Niagara.
We add our voices to the many expressions of support and official statements from other local organizations in Niagara decrying this type of harassment. We also appreciate the fact that at the provincial and national level, the Premier of Ontario, the Prime Minister, the Ontario Medical Association as well as several Mayors have come out in support of Dr. Hirji as well. On this issue, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even Tweeted: “I am outraged to hear threats have been made against Dr. Mustafa Hirji, the Medical Officer of Health for Niagara Region. This rhetoric is unacceptable, and I strongly condemn it. He, and all public health officials working to keep us safe, deserve nothing but our sincere thanks.”
We wholeheartedly agree with the statement because we see these threats as unlawful and repugnant intimidation of a public health official. We support Dr. Hirji and other Niagara citizens who feel the burden of racism inherent in this harassment and intimidation. This is unlawful and wrong and as citizens of Niagara we want to express in the clearest possible terms that we deplore these acts.
The global pandemic has produced anxiety and frustration for all publics. We understand the feelings of frustration around the lockdown. Nevertheless, under no circumstances, ever, are threats of violence and death an acceptable expression of sentiments. Instead, these threats contribute to the damaging mental health impact of the pandemic, which disproportionately affects people working in high-risk professions, such as front-line workers in the medical professions. We can disagree about COVID-19. We can dissent about the procedures implemented. We must not let differences of opinion devolve into threats. We cannot improve a deadly situation with more violence. We call for peaceful expressions of legitimate concerns and an immediate end to the harassment and threats against Dr. Hirji, his team and his family.
The President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity, and Decolonization (PACHRED) was formed in 2018 in response to the recommendations of the Human Rights Task Force. PACHRED is tasked with advising the President on the recommendations of the Task Force’s final report and issues relating to human rights, equity, and decolonization.
2020-2021 Meeting dates
**Due to COVID-19 PACHRED meetings will be virtual until further notice.
|Monday, September 28, 2020 (Orientation)||1:00 pm to 3:00 pm|
|Tuesday, October 6, 2020||11:00 am to 1:00 pm|
|Friday, December 4, 2020||11:00 am to 1:00 pm|
|Wednesday, February 10, 2021||11:00 am to 1:00 pm|
|Friday, April 9, 2021||11:00 am to 1:00 pm|
Combatting Anti-Black Racism and Violence
Against Black, Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC)
PACHRED recognizes the important role that education has in supporting communities toward better understanding about historical racial injustice that are prevalent in society today. We take a stand against the mechanisms that perpetuate racism, like the surveillance and the over policing of racialized, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) that have led to the loss of people’s lives.
PACHRED holds events to raise awareness about forms of oppression that undermine human rights, as such we stand, just as universities throughout Canada and the United States have, in speaking out against police violence, and in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We recognize the importance of forming alliances with universities in their actions taken to combat systemic racism and discrimination.
We provide a set of resources that will aid the university staff, faculty and students in developing an appreciation for what they can do to support human rights and racial justice. The resources from PACHRED add to and extend other support materials and initiatives that have been implemented across the university, such as those developed by the Human Rights office and are located through Gibson Library.
Our efforts are united in raising awareness about the problem of anti-Black racism in Canadian society and internationally as the many protests world-wide have demonstrated, there is significant work we must do to circumvent the pandemic on racism as we fight a parallel battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.