The systemic racism against Black and Indigenous communities and people of colour (BIPOC) has taken on renewed significance for everyone working at the Foundation since the senseless deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Chantel Moore in New Brunswick, and so many others. These tragic incidents are representative of a brutal history and centuries of injustice that continue up to the current day.

It is clear that for far too many people in Canada, systemic racism has resulted in limited educational and economic opportunities. For too many, there is no level playing field. Moreover, microaggression and blatant violence make day-to-day living stressful, dangerous and even fatal. Now, COVID-19’s impact on racialized populations has shone a light on the heightened vulnerabilities caused by injustice and inequality, including hazardous employment, inadequate safety measures, and reduced life expectancy.

The Foundation is committed to using its resources and the privileged position it occupies to help build a more inclusive and equitable society. There is much work to be done. We are committing to five concrete actions:

  1. Forming a joint Board/staff working group, with external advisors, to shape Foundation strategy on racial justice
  2. Accelerating Board and staff training on diversity and inclusion, building on prior Reconciliation Canada workshops and other experiential learning
  3. Creating an organizational inventory of the Foundation’s record on diversity, equity and inclusion with the intent to deepen racially just approaches in our hiring, granting and investing
  4. Obtaining Progressive Aboriginal Relations Certification through the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
  5. Exploring additional means of advancing racial justice in Canada with advice and leadership from those with lived experience and expertise

The road to an inclusive, sustainable and resilient society is blocked unless and until racial injustice and inequality are being intentionally and openly eliminated everywhere.

While it’s impossible to say where exactly this journey of unlearning and relearning will take the Foundation, every effort will be made to follow this path diligently, with care and sensitivity, and to report back on progress made and shortcomings still to be overcome. If you would like to contact the Foundation about these issues, please reach out to us at communications@mcconnellfoundation.ca.