The School of Nursing (SON) at York University takes very seriously all issues related to systemic racism and other forms of discrimination. We understand that systemic racism is expressed in multiple ways and at various levels. It is our belief that racism is a public health crisis requiring urgent collaborative political action, tangible investment, and system-wide change.
The SoN is committed to instituting a philosophy and curriculum centered around York University’s goal of promoting “a culture of respect, equity, diversity and inclusivity, where we value each other’s differences and exercise our strengths.” Aligned with the positions on racism of the Canadian Nurses Association (2020) and Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (2020), faculty and staff have also committed to critical reflection on the history and legacy of racism in and through nursing. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, we further initiated a series of internal discussions and an educational Town Hall with the aim of arriving at a clear understanding of the work required to address systemic racism and discrimination in our own institution, and commit to a collective stance to take action.
As a School, we recognize that “words are not enough.” We must ensure the burden is not on people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Racialized, LGBTQ2+, with or without a religion, dis-abled and/or neuro-diverse, and those who are undocumented to report and be responsible for managing discrimination. We also recognize that people can have more than one identity across place and time. Addressing racism and discrimination is a shared responsibility that necessitates opening channels of communication and implementing strategies that encourage the expression of different worldviews, deep listening, lifelong learning, advocacy, activism, strengths-based approaches, and relational care.
With this Commitment to Action to Address Systemic Racism, the faculty and staff of the SoN acknowledge that dismantling racism is more than just a statement or declaration of promises—it is an act of public and private integrity that requires each of us to learn and be transparent about what we are doing to educate ourselves on racism. This includes decentralizing heteronormative, able-bodied whiteness and educating ourselves about the many forms of discrimination, their intersecting impacts and confronting systems that marginalize racialized leaders in power structures (i.e. hiring practices that reproduce the same inequities they claim to fight). Specifically, the SoN at York University commits to developing an action plan grounded in anti-oppressive policies and practices, and to engage in ongoing efforts to identify and mitigate the impacts of racism and other forms of discrimination on the abilities of our faculty, staff and students to succeed.
We will continue to advocate for dedicated resources to monitor and evaluate our progress in addressing systemic racism and everyday micro-aggressions within the SoN to fully embrace equity, inclusivity and diversity across all of the School’s activities--administration, research, education and practice.