How do we turn something heinous into some form of good? Is it possible?
One year ago, the George Floyd murder had me asking myself the same question. The rage that tragedy ignited has continued to burn fiercely inside me.
Will the discovery of the remains of two hundred and fifteen children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School be the George Floyd moment for Indigenous people in Canada? I ask this question not to sensationalize this tragedy. I ask it from a place of hope.
The discovery of these dead children, long suspected by the Indigenous community, is a black mark on our country. This is proof that we have committed genocide. We all need to be outraged.
The Catholic Church, the governments of British Columbia, the educators involved, and our federal government all need to be held accountable. The specific individuals involved, living or otherwise, need to be held responsible by a court of law.
These two tragedies amidst this pandemic are hard to swallow. In fact, swallowing them is the last thing to do. We need to clear our throats and scream about them.
After the Geroge Floyd murder, many people in the Black community and thousands of allies galvanized in a new resolve to end racism in all aspects of their lives. But we cannot do it alone, and without the support of our allies, our governments, our employers, and our media, we will not succeed.
I am personally grateful for the support I have received in founding the Black Talent Initiative.
It is time we do the same for our original citizens. The manner we have treated our Indigenous is so appalling. Police violence. Hospital maltreatment. Ongoing land disputes. Boardroom exclusion. Daily bigotry.
This is not a subject where I have even marginal knowledge. My brain has not studied this topic. My personal advocacy has been only recently through my work with the Black, Biracial, and Indigenous Task Force for Ontario University Athletics.
BUT. BUT. BUT.
My mind, my heart, and my soul know there needs to be something done. That something must be done by us. By you.
You are the people who came to my side when I ranted about the George Floyd murder. You are the people that are supporting the Black Opportunity Fund, Onyx, and the Reading Partnership. You are the people making the change in your boardrooms, reviewing your hiring practices, and investing in community partnerships. You are the people volunteering, mentoring, sponsoring. You are the people asking our governments for more.
There is more to do for the Black community, but potentially none higher than expressing your solidarity for our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers of our Indigenous people.
It is possible if you want it to be, to right hundreds of years of wrongs.