Barnes Management Group are saddened by the events that have led up to the protests across the United States and the world. We wish to express our sympathy and support to people of colour and we want to acknowledge that racism exists.
Like many people across Canada, the United States and the world, Barnes Management Group is appalled at the systemic anti-Black racism, inequality and police brutality on display in 2020. We recognize that this issue has been going on for hundreds of years, and is only more visible today because of technology. It has been a long-standing issue raised by People of Colour around the world, often falling on deaf ears, or worse, people who listen, promise to make change and then become part of the problem by refusing to enact the change that was promised.
Many people who declare themselves Allies find their allegiance challenged when their own lives are impacted in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Right now is a time to be uncomfortable.
The sometimes-hidden nature of aversive racism can lead to situations where people who consider themselves strong moral people – opposed to racism – continue to allow pervasive racism because they cannot see it, so maybe it does not exist. Maybe it exists in other places, but not here, not in Canada. This is wrong. What is hidden to some, is the lived, and living experience for many others. There are groups, individuals and organizations across our country that lack insight about themselves and Canada. To read supposedly sympathetic voices describing how “we don’t have that problem here” shows how much of a problem we do have. There are members of all our communities, some of them your friends, who’s entire families have experienced generations of racism.
Barnes Management Group recognizes that issues of systemic racism and inequality, and specifically anti-Black racism, are prevalent in our society and will continue to remain so until we admit systemic anti-Black racism exists, and take strong irreversible action to address it. To achieve real sustainable change for racial equity, we must center race dialogue and analysis starting at the highest levels within our institutions and organizations. We must do this across all mainstream systems, in every community, for every service and every support in every province across our country, and in every country throughout our world. This is the only way that all of humanity, regardless of race, creed or culture will be given a fair chance to live, strive and thrive from the cradle to the grave. Simply redistributing resources evenly across communities is not a solution, because that does not address the issues at hand. Some communities will need more resources and more support than others. We believe they need to be distributed in whichever way brings us Equity. To pretend equal access is possible through equal distribution is to pretend the systemic barriers that prevent POC from participating in society with the same ease as a white person, do not exist. We know they exist – anti-Black racism is a barrier that leads to this systemic racism and the absence of justice. The time has long past to dismantle and eradicate these barriers.
We are ready to listen. To our colleagues. To our friends. To our families. To our communities. The kind of healing we need right now can start nowhere else but with those who hold power, dominance and privilege. Whether we recognize our identities to hold or be these things, is irrelevant to the inherent superiority that privilege, dominance and white power brings, which causes individual, societal and systemic racism to exist. We have a responsibility to be a part of the conversation.
Barnes Management Group stands with Black Lives Matter, the Black Canadian community, and Black Lives across the globe. We will continue our mission to improve quality of service and capacity for services in vulnerable and underserved communities across Canada. We will use our voice, not to speak for these communities, but to amplify their voices. We will continue to listen, and we will continue to learn. The assumption we are doing all the right things is hubris of the worst form. We vow to ensure our work is always focused on community growth and success, and improving lives for vulnerable/underserved communities. We will work hand in hand with these communities and groups to ensure their voices are heard, and not our interpretation of their needs. To do work for a community without extensive community engagement is the antithesis of the work we do at BMG.
We will continually work to build upon and strengthen the equity framework from which we conduct all our work. We commit to learn more about Black History with the context of slavery, segregation and exclusion in Canadian Society at all levels, and the impacts this continues to have on the social, economic and cultural lives of Black Men, Women, Youth, the LGBTQ+ community and the Black community as a whole. We will commit to speaking out about injustice and racial violence. Although we are proud of our work to integrate equity and anti-racism, it is not enough. We will deepen our listening, we will learn, and because of this, we will be better.
We will and we must be better, because Black Lives Matter, and are dependent on the final arrival of racial equity.
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