The following statement was put together with the input of many in our community — staff, board members, current and former residents, current and former workers and neighbours and was approved by our Board on June 22, 2020:
The recent killing of George Floyd in the United States and the death of Regis Korchiniski-Paquet a few blocks away from Romero House has sparked a heightened attention to the ever-present reality of racism. As a community, we add our voices to the growing movement of peoples denouncing anti-Black racism in Canada, the USA and around the world.
Romero House has a long tradition of welcoming newcomers who have become family, friends and neighbours. Many refugees face racism. Racism and xenophobia negatively impact the safety and well-being of refugees and so many other people. Systemic racism is reflected in a myriad of forms, including social stereotyping; discrimination in employment, education, housing, health and social services; and unfair treatment by police and the criminal justice system, including disproportionate harassment, arrests and incarceration.
We recognize that many in our community are feeling the pain of recent events in a more deeply and personal way than others. As a multiracial community, we need to come together and unite against racism in our organization and in the world. This includes naming racism when it is present and holding ourselves accountable to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community. We see this moment as a call to action to evaluate, reflect and reset our organizational structures, policies, procedures, and interactions with one another to ensure that a diversity of voices and experiences are represented at all levels.
This statement will be followed up with: the development of an anti-racism action plan, ongoing anti-racism training, and a platform for wider community conversations about racism. These efforts will provide further opportunities to make known the commitment, practices and mechanisms detailed in our Romero House Harassment policy (2018). We commit to do all of this with integrity, empathy and love.
Some resources to support BIPOC communities and Anti-Racism work locally and nationally: