Over the past several weeks, as the world works together to contain a pandemic that respects no borders and the Black Lives Matter movement shone an unwelcome light on anti-black racism in the United States with protests around the world – the staff and Board of the PRC looked inward to see what we, as an organization, could do to help and make a difference in our community and the world around us. Consequently, the PRC is pleased to be able to present the following Commitment to Anti-Racism:
The Parent Resource Centre (PRC) is a social service organization with learning, best practices and advocacy woven into our operations and culture. Our fundamental objective is to collaborate with parents to help their children discover and develop physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills that will enable them to live the best life possible. Our programs are tailored to support parents to mitigate the barriers they may face in attaining the lofty goals of raising their children, which include social and racial barriers.
The PRC Board and staff have been closely monitoring with great sadness, the violent, heartbreaking yet transformational events that centered on Anti-Black racism in the US. This has led to protests across Canada and the world. We believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure that Black lives matter in our community. We acknowledge that the white population, in particular, needs to step up and actively disrupt and dismantle systems that perpetuate Anti-Black racism and oppression. PRC is committed to the fight against racism, racial discrimination and every form of intolerance, and we want to be identified as an ally that will provide a safe space for everyone to speak out against racism and other forms of discrimination. As an organization that caters to our future generation, our goal is to help parents raise children that live and promote our Canadian values. We strongly believe that it is no longer enough to be “not racist”. We must all commit to anti-racism, the practice of actively opposing Racism and advocating for equality.
As indicated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, everyone must redouble their efforts and do more to fight any form of racism. While the PRC has always kept faith with its commitment to protect the human rights and dignity of every child and family we come in contact with, we will redouble our effort to align our operations with Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022. As you might know, the aim of this strategy is to advance the Government of Canada’s vision of fostering and promoting a more inclusive and equitable country for all Canadians. Racism is a monster that can be direct, indirect or subtle. It can therefore easily go unnoticed, if subtle. We believe that this strategy is critical to realizing the rights and well-being of all children, their families, and communities. No one is more vulnerable than our children when it comes to the monstrous effects of racism, discrimination and intolerance.
For our staff, clients, friends and family members who have lived any form of racism, we are horrified by your experience and deeply saddened that we may have unknowingly or unintentionally contributed to the injustice of Anti-Black racism. The lessons we have learned and the stories we have heard have taught us to listen, be curious, reflect, and, most importantly, TAKE ACTION, and become an ally against racism in any form. We will continue to encourage everyone associated with PRC benefitting from white privilege, and other privileges, to continue to scan themselves for unconscious bias. It is our collective responsibility as Canadians to be committed to dismantle any system of oppression that continues to violate the principles of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Our Mission statement states that the PRC helps to build confident, resilient families in Ottawa. We need to look at this statement through a different lens and explore what “building confident, resilient families” means from an anti-racist perspective. Further, one of our five values indicates, “we are inclusive”. We will revisit what this means and through honest discussions, define how “we recognize and uphold the principle of equity” to the latter.
Finally, it is worth restating that the PRC will continue to collaborate with like-minded community partners to fight against racism, as well as promote a workplace culture that is free of prejudice and discrimination. We will ensure that all staff receive Anti-Black Racism and Anti-Oppression training as well as offer workshops for parents who are committed to standing as allies against racism. Additionally, we will ensure that some pedagogy resources in our library focus on the experience of being Black in Canada. We will continue to use our social media to promote tools and techniques for families who wish to engage their children, with age appropriate language, in discussions about race and anti-racism.
We are meant to keep doing better. We are meant to keep reading, listening, discussing and learning and when we do, change will come.