Africa Institute Statement on Anti-Black Racism

The Africa Institute stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and against anti-Black racial violence around the world.

Anti-black violence, which is a global phenomenon, is at the heart of racial capitalism - the exploitation of Black people, the theft of their bodies and labour to build modern societies in North America and Europe. These countries are built on Black pain and suffering, but Black people do not enjoy the full protection of citizenship rights, basic safety, or material comforts. 

The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake that left him paralyzed, are intricately entangled in the legacies of slavery and colonialism that continue to brutalize African descendant people who face systemic racism in all facets of life: health care, policing, education, media, and many more institutions too numerous to mention.

Leading Black scholars have argued that we are living in the afterlife of slavery, that Black liberation has not been achieved despite the “legal” end of chattel slavery. From the Black Codes to Jim Crow, white supremacy continues to re-make itself and to protect its privileges and power at the expense of Black lives. The realities of racial inequalities that impact Black lives are laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic as Black people die from the disease in disproportionate numbers in Canada and the US.   

The Africa Institute is dedicated to contributing to the efforts against anti-Black racism and will do so through a commitment to:

  • standing with the Black Lives Matters movement and other social justice movements
  • learning from black leaders at the forefront of combating and theorizing racial injustice 
  • reviewing and identifying concrete action we will take to ensure the Africa Institute is informed and responsive to anti-racism aims
  • advocating for the removal of barriers to mobility for African scholars to come to Canada and other countries in the world
  • establishing designated scholarships at Western for African partner institutions to remove structural barriers based on different grading systems and scholarship criterion