Beginning a Conversation on Anti-Racism
SCWIST’s vision is an environment without barriers for girls and women in STEM which includes the additional barriers that Black girls and women face due to systemic racism. This is our vision, and we know we can do better. We stand in solidarity with Black people and in the fight towards equality, and will continue to address these issues within our own context.
In last month’s newsletter, the President’s Message focused on the systemic issues with racism brought to the forefront with George Floyd’s murder and the ongoing protests in the USA and internationally about anti-Black racism and police brutality against Black and Indigenous people. We shared actions you could take such as contacting media and politicians, running for office and donating time and money to outreach, direct action, and advocacy organizations.
Canada’s current and historic systemic racism toward Indigenous communities, Black people, the casual racism against immigrants, the legacy of Japanese internment camps, and anti-Asian sentiments stemming from COVID-19, all contribute to the continued barriers women and girls face throughout their education and careers.
What actions is SCWIST taking as an organization?
- Yesterday, as part of #shutdownSTEM, many of us within SCWIST took time to reflect, educate and listen.
- Expanding investment in SCWIST’s IWIS (Immigrating Women in STEM) program which connects with immigrant women who face multiple barriers in Canada.
- When we are considering using external contractors (including catering), we will be purposefully looking for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC), women, LGBTQIA2+, people with disabilities, veteran owned companies, and / or social enterprises to do the work.
- We will be looking to create more scholarships for Black women, Indigenous women and WOC in STEM with our newly increased scholarship budget.
- Ensuring we engage women of colour, especially Black and Indigenous women leaders, when putting on events using speakers and panelists and continuing to feature diverse voices and stories in our communications content.
- SCWIST commits to connecting with BIPOC organizations so we can amplify the work they are doing. This includes enhanced recruitment for our board directors and steering committee members to seek out underrepresented groups.
- We will have a status report to our members at next year’s AGM on the actions we have committed to.
We all, particularly white and other non-Black women in STEM, can use whatever power and privilege we do have for good to create the positive change that is needed now. Remember, inherent bias runs deep and we are each personally responsible and accountable for unlearning racism.
We actively condemn anti-Black racism and police brutality, and affirm that Black Lives Matter. Our minds and hearts are open. We welcome feedback from our members and our wider community. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions and comments.
Kelly Marciniw, SCWIST President