Over the past two months our world has awakened to the injustices that specifically the black and indigenous community face. Additionally, we have taken the time to further understand the issues the LGBTQ2+ community faces throughout pride month in June, and during this time we have reflected on how we can ensure that any biases are eliminated in our Sprott community and how we can be better allies to our fellow students.
Last week we announced the new director position in the SBSS titled the Director of Equity and Inclusion. This position will work alongside the new Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusive Communities, also put in place last week. The two positions are here to represent you ,as students of Sprott, to ensure that everyone can achieve their full potential at Sprott and will review any obstacles that may prevent anyone from doing so. The positions will review student admissions, faculty recruitment practices, and much more to ensure we are developing inclusive practices that support diversity and inclusion in our community. We are excited to see the changes that will come about in this process as we continue to learn and grow as an organization during this time.
In addition to these new positions, much has changed or happened in our world that we want to talk about. To start with the Black Live Matter movement, there has been enormous progress over the past two months. One of the largest events to occur during this time is the officers who murdered George Floyd have been arrested. Derek Chauvin had been charges with second degree murder and manslaughter, the other three officers have been charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter. Currently Chauvin’s trial is set for March 2021 but the judge has not decided yet if all men are to be tried together or separately. Although this is a positive change since the end of May, there are still other similar cases like Beronna Taylor where the police officers are still walking freely. Issues like Breonna’s still need voices to speak out and demand justice.
In addition, some major cities in the United States including, but not limited to, Minneapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Portland, Chicago, and Washington D.C. are all looking at options to defund the police departments. It is important to understand what this statement means as there is much misconception around the term “defund the police”. Although each city will have different plans based on the needs of their city and the other resources they have, it is important to note that the departments will not be eliminated. The objective is to move matters to which individuals would usually contact the police for to other groups who are better suited to deal with these issues. Issues to do with mental illness is an area many cities are looking at changing how they are dealt with. The funds cut from the department will go back into the community to support those who have been affected by the mistreatment of power by the police and to aiding areas that will now be called on in lure of the police. Each province is looking at different ways to allocate funds given to the police to different social services but it varies greatly between each province and are looking at reviewing police acts. Currently, mayor Jim Watson remains not in favour of the motion of defunding the police.
There has also been a rise in awareness with issues occurring in our indigenous community in Canada. One major issue has been that there are systemic inequalities of the quality of living on reserves leading to a higher risk of infection of COVID-19 amongst the indigenous community. We are encouraged to wash our hands, and keep distanced, all which may seem simple to some but there are many indigenous communities that lack access to clean water to wash their hands with, proper housing that allows them to social distance. On top of this, during normal times the indigenous community is at heightened risk of having underlying health issues placing them in one of the higher risk categories of contracting the virus. It is important during this time to stand together and support those who are dealing with these systemic injustices.
The SBSS will continue to learn and grow with our community in the direction of equality and inclusion. We are proud to be a part of a community who wishes to learn and support each other. The Sprott School of Business and the SBSS is working to pave a better, more inclusive future for all students. We hope that everyone is staying safe during these times.
Stay Safe and Sprott Love.