As an agency, we share the world’s outrage and grief over the killings that are a direct result of systemic racism and our society’s reluctance to address it. We understand that Black, Indigenous and People of Colour are disproportionately represented within our service system and are more likely to be marginalized; including experiencing the negative impact that marginalization has on people’s well-being, hope, and resilience. We recognize the need to pause, step back, listen to, and learn from the people we serve. We are deeply motivated to make meaningful change and work with young people and their families who use our services, our staff, and our communities to challenge systemic racism that exists within our systems, with the goal of creating a more equitable and inclusive community. We recognize that our staffing does not reflect the racial, ethnic, cultural and gender diversity of those we serve. We know that it is essential that we foster a broad and inclusive culture that encourages a diversity of perspectives and range of voices within our committee and service system. We will be especially mindful of those members of our community who have historically been disenfranchised.
We realize that we simply have not done enough.
We will hold ourselves, and each other, accountable to the following steps. We recognize that while it will take time to get it right, we share a common commitment to begin the process.
We will learn. We will make a commitment to education and awareness to increase our understanding of the challenges and issues faced by people who are impacted by systemic racism. We will create safe spaces for these courageous conversations.
We will listen. We will listen to understand how issues of race, power and privilege affect our membership and those we service. We are teachable and open to “unlearning.” We will be vigilant in monitoring ourselves for defensiveness. We will commit to allyship, realizing that it is not a static role but one requiring ongoing work and practice.
We will be accountable. We will listen to the perspectives of people with lived experience of systemic racism in order to develop our actions going forward. We will foster a commitment to better reflect our communities and to formalize incorporating awareness of race and privilege into all facets our work. These plans will be specific, actionable, and measurable. It will take all of us, together, to recognize, understand, and acknowledge systemic racism and to address the harm it causes to the people subjected to it. We commit to working to address these barriers to racial justice.
ASCY is committed to additional learning (which we realize may involve some “unlearning”), listening and being accountable. We will do this with the assistance of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
We acknowledge and thank the Child & Youth System Sector Committee (CYSSC) and the work of the Equity Working Group (Subcommittee of CYSSC) for their conscientious effort into the initial development of this statement in which we have adapted.