Recent incidents of anti-Black violence and discrimination in Canada and the United States provide a disturbing reminder of the prevalence of racism within our societies. Despite our commitments to human rights, universities like SFU are not immune to anti-Black and anti-Asian racism, nor to discrimination directed against Indigenous peoples.

ACT supports the statements condemning racism and discrimination released this week by the President of SFU, Andrew Petter, and the Dean of SFU’s Faculty of Environment, Naomi Krogman.

As Andrew Petter put it:

“Racism has no place in our society, and we have a responsibility not only to condemn discriminatory behaviour, but also to take action to support inclusion for all. At SFU, this starts with acknowledging the role we play in perpetuating systemic discrimination, and accepting that we have work to do to ensure that our ideals for a just society are reflected in our own practices, policies and procedures. To this end, last year we appointed an executive team led by Dr. Joy Johnson to develop an action plan to advance equity, diversity and inclusion across the university. Supported by a pan-university advisory council, the group’s mandate is to eliminate systemic barriers and inequities in access, admissions, recruitment, career development, pay, working and learning conditions, resources, retention and progression. While that work, including data gathering, is underway, we have much more to learn and much more to do. SFU leadership is committed to growth and change, and I am grateful to many for the part they are playing in building a university community where all feel included.”

In her statement, Dean Krogman shared a list of books and film recommendations to learn more about this history and struggle to address racism and discrimination:

Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cold

The ‘Shadow Pandemic’ of Anti-Asian Racism, Fiona Tinwei Lam, The Tyee

Novels by local authors:

Obasan, Joy Kogawa

The Jade Peony, Wayson Choy

All That Matters, Wayson Choy

Films and TV Shows that address discrimination and racism:

13th, Ava DuVernay (Netflix)

Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler (on demand)

The Hate U Give, George Tillman Jr. (Crave)

Ninth Floor, Mina Shum (National Film Board of Canada)

Selma, Ava DuVernay (on demand)

I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck (Amazon Prime Video)

If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins (Amazon Prime Video)

Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee (on demand)

Just Mercy, Destin Daniel Cretton (on demand)

Clemency, Chinonye Chukwu (on demand)

-Watchmen, Damon Lindelof (Crave)

Journey to Justice, Roger McTair (National Film Board of Canada)

-Les Misérables, Ladj Ly (on demand)

When They See Us, Ava DuVernay (Netflix)

BlackKklansmen, Spike Lee (Crave)

The Good Fight, Robert King, Michelle King and Phil Alden Robinson (on demand)

Beyond Moving, Vikram Dasgupta (Hot Docs Canada)

The Colour of Beauty, Elizabeth St. Philip (National Film Board of Canada)

Atlanta, Donald Glover (on demand)