The Lambda Scholarship Foundation is immeasurably saddened and disheartened at the injustice and racism faced by Black, Indigenous and people of colour in Canada. Police brutality, structural racism, dehumanization, state violence and colonial violence are material processes (past and present) that work against a future that recognizes the worth, dignity, and beauty of every life. The latest deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, D’Andre Campbell, and Jason Collins – and countless other people – are not just a “wake up call” that anti-Black racism is real.
These deaths are a reminder of the realities that Black people in the US and Canada experience every single day. Canada’s racism against Black and Indigenous peoples is deep-rooted. Every day, the terrible pain from the loss of murdered and missing Two-Spirit people, Indigenous women, and girls; the horrors of the residential school system (1870s-1970s); the tragedy of the High Arctic relocation program (early 1950s); and the destructive legacy on Indigenous families left behind by the Sixties Scoop (1960s adoption program) stand as monuments of the physical, emotional, psychological, and intergenerational trauma. They are proof of Canadian racism with roots that run deep. These roots are embedded in our culture, our institutions, our laws and attitudes which perpetuate the social and economic disparities that exist in everything from access to education, healthcare, housing, and employment.
This is not just “someone else’s problem.” It is a shameful, terrible truth that deserves more action than bearing witness – as is often the case in a moment of crisis – before we turn our attention back to “normal” or “business as usual.” For too long, Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+ people of colour in Canada have experienced over-criminalization, over-incarceration, and under protection. As a society, we need to develop multiple, nuanced and responsive forms of justice and accountability that centre the lived experience, knowledge, and expertise of marginalized communities to continually address multiple forms of violence, discrimination and oppression in ways that meet the needs of those most affected.
As an organization, it is our responsibility to create space for understanding and addressing the ways in which homophobia, transphobia, sexism, anti-black racism, colonial and state acts of violence are inextricably intertwined. These issues do not come with easy solutions, and will require continuous learning, unlearning, and accountability. We must be prepared to look inwards and have uncomfortable, yet necessary conversations followed by concrete actions. We must do so by recognizing and centering the leadership and voices of Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+ people of colour.
The Lambda Scholarship Foundation is committed to fostering and advocating for research and community projects aimed at anti-racist strategies, to educate and create possibilities in the lives of Two-Spirit, queer, and/or trans Black and Indigenous people and other people of colour. We will continue to take steps to learn and grow and show unwavering support for 2SLGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities while also calling for justice and accountability.
The Lambda Scholarship Foundation Board