As millions of people around the world unite to speak out against the killing of George Floyd, many are grappling with grief, anger and anxiety. We are heartbroken and outraged at the senseless violence targeting the Black community and recognize that systemic racism is a problem not only in the United States but here in Canada and around the world. The belief that there is little to no racism in Canada is in itself a barrier to addressing it. We acknowledge that we can all do better and need to look inward to see how we can make long-term and sustainable change and on both individual and communal levels must engage in these important conversations.
To our Black friends, congregation members, neighbours, and valued community members, please know that we see you, we hear you, and we stand alongside you. Taking responsibility and striving to do better is fundamental to the mission, vision, and values of the Interfaith Council of Peel and what we stand for.
We call upon our leaders to address ongoing racism in all sectors and levels of society. We challenge our faith communities to act on local and national levels to support Black and Indigenous people both directly and on a systemic level. We must all do the hard work together advocating for policy change and for confronting racism within our own communities, including our congregations. Each of us must do the hard work of looking inwards and confronting our biases, fears, assumptions and privilege. We must take on the task of educating ourselves on how white privilege and systemic racism contribute to injustice and inequality in Canada. We need to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations as we do the deep listening work of learning from the lived experience of the Black community, whose voices and stories guide the rest of us in our fervent work to confront and put an end to racism.
Our faith traditions call upon us to work together towards making this world one of justice, wholeness, and compassion. We encourage each of you to connect with your own faith community to reflect on the challenging days that have passed, join together in prayers for justice and healing and commit to a process of learning and discernment together. We encourage faith communities to create ongoing opportunities for engagement efforts to confront systemic racism, shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people. The work of these critical conversations and active participation in standing up for racial justice is ongoing. While this is a challenging time, we draw strength knowing that as communities of faith we can continue to learn and push for change.
affirmed by Interfaith Council of Peel Steering Committee
June 10, 2020