“Being silent is not helping. We need your voice.”
“This needs to stop, now. Racial inequality impacts us all. We continue to recognize the need to have safe cities, spaces, and systems for members of the community of people of African descent in Canada, in the USA, and around the world. We have provided the education, resources, and knowledge – it is out there – it is now time for those outside the community to take action against the violence we are seeing and to choose change.”
This message was shared by organizers at a digital press conference on Thursday afternoon hosted by African Communities of Manitoba Inc. (ACOMI) in partnership with Black History Month Celebration Committee (BHMCC), Black Space Winnipeg, Congress of Black Women of Manitoba (COBW), and the Caribbean Council Organization of Manitoba (CCOM) to respond to violence against black people. We encourage our members and partners to read the full press release or view a recording of the full press conference if they were unable to attend.
The organizers called on members of their communities to step up into leadership positions in black community organizations and help them build safe and responsive community spaces. They called on allies to reach out and let these communities know they are there to help and support. They also encouraged everyone to attend or promote the June 5th rally taking place at 6pm at the Manitoba Legislative Building, which is being organized by #JUSTICE4BLACKLIVESWINNIPEG.
MANSO recognizes that black clients, leaders, staff and volunteers of newcomer serving organizations have been impacted by the recent police violence in Minneapolis and the state response to protests. We know that black people and other racialized people frequently experience both overt and subtle racism. We understand that these recent events are part of a long history of systemic racism that impacts black communities across North America, including in Manitoba.
As ACOMI, who is a MANSO member, and their partners highlighted in the press conference, it is not only immigrants and newcomers who need increased access to resources, there are black communities with longer histories in Manitoba still relying on unpaid community members to support them to overcome barriers caused by systemic racism. MANSO seeks to follow the lead of these communities to help tear down barriers, provide justice and opportunity, and build equity for all Manitobans.
MANSO’s staff commits to continue to educate ourselves on how to be an effective ally to communities impacted by racism and intersecting issues of oppression. We are not anti-racism experts, but we are learning from our members and partners. As the COVID-19 crisis has shown, we do have a strong platform to share resources, facilitate conversations and use our voice with all three levels of government to highlight the barriers so many people in our communities are facing. We want to use this platform to combat racism.
As our members and partners, please let us know how you are responding and how you think MANSO can best use our networks to combat racism. We will also look at how our own structures and practices as an umbrella can be improved to ensure an anti-oppression approach and support members in their work towards this goal. We know this is an ongoing conversation and we commit to engage even when media and public attention shifts.
Que des vies de personnes noires soient ôtées de la sorte au vu et au su de tout le monde, sans en craindre les répercussions, en dit long sur la société et nous rappelle que nous sommes toujours à l’ère où une personne est jugée par le degré de pigmentation de sa peau! – Salwa Meddri – MANSO Board Member
With the violence of many brothers and sisters and more recently we witnessed the death of an innocent man pleading for mercy that he couldn’t breathe ….. time and time again black folks have been told that they were insignificant.
Society has demonized Black people and created these implicit biases which are some of the reasons our brothers and sisters are losing their lives
It’s encouraging to see the world outpouring support for Black Lives and this is a positive step forward. As a community we would like to see less violence against innocent people just because they have different skin color or are less privileged….Each of us have the moral & civil obligation in taking a stand to end the undermining role that racism, oppression and injustice plays in our society. – Nina Condo – MANSO Board Member
A list of mental health resources for black communities was shared during the press conference. We encourage you to share these in addition to the resources we have within the sector.
- Mental Health Promotion for Black Canadians in Manitoba Project https://www.blackmentalhealthpromotion.ca/resources-black-mental-health/
- Project Heal: https://www.blackspacewpg.ca/project-heal
- BIPOC Mental Health Workers List https://cnwpg.org/bipoc-mental-health-workers-resource-list/
Many of our members and friends have compiled resource lists for learning about anti-racism, which we encourage you to explore. The first three have been compiled in response to recent events. We welcome suggestions of additional resources or resource lists.
- West Central Women’s Resource Centre – Anti-Racism Resources for Manitobans
- Elmwood Community Resource Centre – Anti-Black Racism Resources
- Social Planning Council of Winnipeg – Anti-Racism Resources
- Immigration Partnership Winnipeg – see anti-racism tools (note that these tools were developed in response to incidents of racism linked COVID-19)
- Other Anti-Racism Resources on MANSO’s website https://mansomanitoba.ca/resource-tags/anti-racism/