Breaking the grip of systemic racism

Dear Colleagues,

Like you, I have watched the events of the last week and a half unfold with anger and disappointment. Why do we always come back to this place, needing to be reminded of something that shouldn’t be in doubt – that Black lives matter?

But the global reaction to these events also gives me hope. Is this the moment that the fever of racism breaks, when we find ourselves finally able to work together to do the hard things required to create a just society?

Besides the message I sent to all of you earlier this week, I want to share thoughts from other voices. First, Dr. Adrienne Chan, co-chair of the Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the founding co-chair of the Race Anti-racism Network (RAN), has written a thought-provoking post on the President’s Blog.

Read Adrienne’s Guest Post

Our Vice President of Students, Dr. Alisa Webb, has also posted a message to our students that calls out racism and shares links to important resources.

Read Alisa’s Message to Students

In a year that has seen profound disruption to the regular order of things, I appreciated the opportunity this week to celebrate two of UFV’s time-honoured milestones. First, I was able to welcome our new students in a video introduction to our virtual Discover Your UFV event. And at the end of this week, I recorded a message to the UFV class of 2020 that will be released Tuesday on what would have been the first day of convocation (subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notification when it goes live).

This has been a difficult time. But I believe with all my heart in UFV’s potential to be a leader on this front. UFV needs to be a gathering place, a space for dialogue. It is only with these conversations that we can confront and address the issues of systemic racism that hold our society back.

We all have work to do to close the gaps of inequity. But if there’s one thing I know about the UFV community, it is that we are strong – and together we can accomplish anything.

Be well, stay safe and take good care of each other,

Joanne MacLean, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor