Gerstein Crisis Centre (GCC) Statement* on Anti-Indigenous, Anti-Black racism, and all Forms of Systemic racism and Oppression
The Gerstein Crisis Centre (GCC) is committed to rupturing anti-Indigenous, anti-Black racism, and all forms of systemic racism and oppression. We recognize that Health Equity can only be achieved by addressing the systemic injustices and human rights violations that directly impact
the inequitable access to healthcare and other social determinants that many in our community continue to face. We recognize the need for critical analysis of our own role in upholding these structures and practices both as an organization within the wider system and as individuals who share space within the community. This statement is a living document that affirms, recognizes, and acknowledges that the intergenerational legacy of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples and slavery on Black peoples in Canada and globally continues to have impacts. Anti-Indigenous racism, Anti-Black racism, and hate targeting 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and their communities, are built on a foundation of continued colonial violence, slavery, systemic racism, and white supremacy. Structural oppression leads to poorer health outcomes and increased risk of violence including police violence that disproportionately impacts Indigenous and Black people.
This statement is a reflective acknowledgement and commitment to recognizing that intersectional identities (race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and language, for example) impact the way in which Indigenous, Black, and racialized people access mental health and crisis services. We are committed to supporting our staff, community members, and colleagues who identify as Indigenous, Black, racialized, and are members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, and our contributions to engagement means that we are committed to speaking out and actively challenging racism, acknowledge race-based trauma, and injustice.
We are committed to divesting from whiteness and all iterations of white supremacy, and we acknowledge that forms of systemic racism and oppression continue to create barriers to services in our communities.
We commit to engaging in recognizing, challenging, and rupturing systemic racism and oppression alongside other community agencies, and welcome cross-sectoral collaboration with other mental health agencies.
* Parts of this statement have been adapted from Guelph-Wellington Committee on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (GWAC)
- We ACKNOWLEDGE that Canada is a country founded on white supremacy, and that racism exists and continues to harm Indigenous, Black, racialize, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities.
- We ACKNOWLEDGE that the legacy of colonialism and slavery have long-lasting detrimental impacts on Indigenous, Black, and racialized communities.
- We are COMMITTED to PRIORITIZING EQUITY in our Hiring practices and Board recruitment.
- We are COMMITTED to providing mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression education that specifically focuses on anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism for all staff and Board members.
- We are COMMITTED to providing mandatory education focusing on systemic racism, white privilege, and white supremacy for all staff and Board members who identify as white.
- We are COMMITTED to strengthening our collaborations with Indigenous, Black, and racialized community organizations, and we will NOT rely on the intellectual and emotional labour of Indigenous, Black, racialized, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people to do this work.
- We are COMMITTED to consistently working on meeting the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation commitment for non-profit agencies.
- We AFFIRM and VALIDATE Indigenous, Black, racialized, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ members of our communities who have intersectional experiences of racism oppression, and who continue to experience these overlapping oppressions in various ways when accessing services and in their daily lives.
- We COMMIT to AMPLIFYING the work, voices, and perspectives of Indigenous, Black, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and to developing policies and practices that foster a culture of anti-racism in our work environment.
- We COMMIT to mindfully and ACTIVELY promoting and celebrating the work of Indigenous, Black, racialized, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in our organization.
- We COMMIT to ongoing EVALUATION of our policies and practices to be accountable for our hiring practices, service provisions, and client-care.
Our work in eradicating anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, and all forms of systemic racism and structural oppression will not happen overnight. There is tremendous grief in our communities, and we recognize the need to make space for this pain and grief and act with commitment toward healing and social transformation. We are committed to this journey of equity, recognizing that this work is a marathon, rather than a sprint. We recognize that we will make mistakes along the way, and we are accountable for our actions and words. We acknowledge the ways in which we have been complicit in forms of oppression, and we choose
to be accountable to Indigenous, Black, racialized, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. We choose to take an active role in the fight against systemic racism and white supremacy.
Educating ourselves about white privilege, white supremacy, and dismantling systems of oppression requires ongoing reflection, learning, accountability, and action. Gerstein Crisis Centre is committed to working toward achieving racial and social justice by centering and actively listening to Indigenous, Black, racialized, disabled, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ voices and speaking out against racism and all forms of oppressions and structural violence. We invite you to join us in in this commitment to demolish systemic racism and move toward justice, equity, healing, and hope.