I was working on a blog post about re-usable makeup pads (still to come) but couldn't bring myself to post it. During a time like this, it just didn't feel right. While I was sewing however, I was listening to the podcast 1619, "an audio series on how slavery has transformed America..." from the NY Times and found myself wondering if there might be an equivalent that focuses on the systemic racism specifically seen in Canada. As Canadians we are just as guilty of systemic racism and discrimination as any other nation, but sadly, it was slim pickings. In my quick research I did come across some other helpful resources including books to read and organizations to learn about and donate to here in Canada. I know this list is just a small sampling of resources available, so if you have any to add please leave a comment! (Comments will be moderated!) Unfortunately the Shopify Blog platform does not allow for me to respond to comments (seriously Shopify, get it together...) but I will make sure to read them all. Also, because I have been listening to podcasts while I work (and sew) I would love your suggestions for Canadian podcasts about race and racism, or even specific episodes or interviews that tackle the subject. I will try to update this list as suggestions come in!
Missing and Murdered - This CBC podcast specifically tackles the National crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and the mistreatment and murders of thousands of Indigenous people in Residential Schools. Hosted by Connie Walker.
Colour Code - Denise Balkissoon and Hannah Sung host this Globe and Mail podcast about race in Canada.
The Secret Life of Canada - A bi-weekly CBC podcast that looks at all the people, places and events regularly left out of Canadian history. Hosted by Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson
Elle Canada has put together a great list of 19 Organizations Supporting Black Canadians to Donate to - I recommend going through and reading about each one. If you are able to, please donate to one or more.
Edmonton Centre for Race and Culture - (from their site) The Centre for Race and Culture works within the community to promote and support individual, collective, and systemic change to address racism and encourage intercultural understanding. Our expertise spans workplace development, community building, research, and education.
Canadian Race Relations Foundations - (from their site) The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is committed to building a national framework for the fight against racism in Canadian society. We will do this through knowledge-sharing and community support in the pursuit of equity, fairness, social justice and systemic change.
Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion - (from their site) The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) was formed in 2006 as a result of the work undertaken through the Strengthening Hamilton Community’s Initiative (SHCI), an initiative formed as a response to the burning of a local Hindu Temple in 2001, the same year the terrorist attacks occurred in the United States on September 11th.
HCCI’s short-term goal was to deal with the distress in the community caused by the burning of the Hindu Temple, but it was anticipated that to address issues of racism in the longer term, a more profound systemic change would be required. To this end, HCCI was established to develop a civic resource centre to create an inclusive and welcoming city through respecting diversity, practicing equity, and speaking out against discrimination.
Hoodstock MTL - (translated from their website) Generate spaces for dialogue and mobilizing initiatives to eliminate systemic inequalities and develop supportive, inclusive, secure and dynamic communities.
Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP) (from their site) The Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP) is an initiative dedicated to supporting the success of African, Caribbean, Black (ACB) and other racialized undergraduate and graduate students on campus, while encouraging them to be confident members in our Ottawa community.
We recognize that the experiences of ACB and other racialized minorities encounter racism, such as anti-black racism, and other forms of discrimination, that impede upon their social development as students. Advocating for an inclusive campus is ACMP’s mission while supporting the success of racialized students.
Woodland Cultural Centre - Woodland Cultural Centre serves to preserve and promote Indigenous history, art, language and culture. Their campaign - Save the Evidence - is to raise awareness and support for the restoration of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, and to develop the building into an Interpreted Historic Site and Educational Resource. As a site of conscience, the final goal is to create a fully-realized Interpretive Centre that will be the definitive destination for information about the history of Residential Schools in Canada, the experiences of Survivors of the schools, and the impact that the Residential School system has had on our communities.
Afrobiz - **link has been fixed** Canada's most comprehensive directory of black owned businesses & black entrepreneurs, searchable by city and by category.
Descriptions are adapted from Goodreads and wherever possible, please try to buy these books from local independent shops, I bought mine from Octopus Books here in Ottawa - or try your local library!
BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom
by Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi
BlackLife discloses the ongoing destruction of Black people as enacted not simply by state structures, but beneath them in the foundational modernist ideology that underlies thinking around migration and movement, as Black erasure and death are unveiled as horrifically acceptable throughout western culture. With exactitude and celerity, Idil Abdillahi and Rinaldo Walcott pull from local history, literature, theory, music, and public policy around everything from arts funding, to crime and mental health––presenting a convincing call to challenge pervasive thought on dominant culture's conception of Black personhood. They argue that artists, theorists, activists, and scholars offer us the opportunity to rethink and expose flawed thought, providing us new avenues into potential new lives and a more livable reality of BlackLife.
Delving behind Canada's veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.
The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power
by Desmond Cole
In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core and catapulting its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis.
They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up
by Eternity Martis (Memoir)
A booksmart kid from Toronto, Eternity Martis was excited to move away to Western University for her undergraduate degree. But as one of the few Black students there, she soon discovered that the campus experiences she'd seen in movies were far more complex in reality. Over the next four years, Eternity learned more about what someone like her brought out in other people than she did about herself. She was confronted by white students in blackface at parties, dealt with being the only person of colour in class and was tokenized by her romantic partners. She heard racial slurs in bars, on the street, and during lectures. And she gathered labels she never asked for: Abuse survivor. Token. Bad feminist. But, by graduation, she found an unshakeable sense of self—and a support network of other women of colour.
Until We Are Free: Refelections on Black Lives Matter in Canada
by various contributors, edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson and Syrus Marcus Ware
The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 by a white assailant inspired the Black Lives Matter movement, which quickly spread outside the borders of the United States. The movement’s message found fertile ground in Canada, where Black activists speak of generations of injustice and continue the work of the Black liberators who have come before them.
Until We Are Free contains some of the very best writing on the hottest issues facing the Black community in Canada. It describes the latest developments in Canadian Black activism, organizing efforts through the use of social media, Black-Indigenous alliances, and more.
Drawing on group position theory, settler colonial studies, critical race theory, and Indigenous theorizing, Canada at a Crossroads emphasizes the social psychological barriers to transforming white settler ideologies and practices and working towards decolonization.
Historically Canadians have considered themselves to be more or less free of racial prejudice. Although this conception has been challenged in recent years, it has not been completely dispelled. In Colour-Coded, Constance Backhouse illustrates the tenacious hold that white supremacy had on our legal system in the first half of this century, and underscores the damaging legacy of inequality that continues today.
This timely and important scholarship advances an empirical understanding of Canada's contemporary "Indian" problem. Where the Waters Divide is one of the few book monographs that analyze how contemporary neoliberal reforms (in the manner of de-regulation, austerity measures, common sense policies, privatization, etc.) are woven through and shape contemporary racial inequality in Canadian society. Using recent controversies in drinking water contamination and solid waste and sewage pollution, Where the Waters Divide illustrates in concrete ways how cherished notions of liberalism and common sense reform -- neoliberalism -- also constitute a particular form of racial oppression and white privilege.
Titles by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson:
Islands of Decolonial Love: Stories & Songs
This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories
As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance
Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence, and Protection of Indigenous Nations
And many more From Leanne Betasamosake Simpson here.
Brother by David Chariandy (Fiction)
An intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, tightly constructed novel, Brother explores questions of masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.
I know this is a different type of blog post for us but if you are here, I want to say in the most sincere way, thanks for stopping by xo M