Statement on the Dehumanizing Practices of Racism and Hate towards Indigenous Persons

24th of June 2021

Dear OAMFT Members,

Racism continues to take place in Canada, and it is completely unacceptable. As an example, in 2017, Pierre Coriolan, a black man struggling with mental health issues, was shot dead by police in Montreal, Quebec. In 2020, George Floyd’s death in the neighbouring US, shed further international light on anti-black racism and the need for systemic change. During this pandemic, the Asian community has endured unwarranted racism and blame. Conflict in the middle east has related to a recent increase in anti-Semitic actions here in Canada. The narrative of racism in our country has continued with the remains of 215 children found on the grounds of a Residential School in Kamloops, BC. Recently an innocent Muslim family taking an evening stroll was targeted and killed in London, Ontario as an act of terrorism. This must stop. We must stop this negative narrative in our country and in our world.

The Board of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT) takes a strong stand with all marginalized persons as we mourn together. We strongly condemn racism and any form of violence. We encourage acceptance, reconciliation, and unity. No one is lesser than anyone else. No life is worth less than someone else’s. No one should be pre-judged, executed, or killed based on their family of origin, ethnicity, culture, religion, ability, age, gender, class, or sexual orientation. We are all humans. We are meant to support and love one another.

We share in heartache and grief with those who are suffering from these dehumanizing practices. Our thoughts are with you. We stand with you against these practices. We stand united to challenge the discourse of hatred and build a discourse of inclusivity and respect of differences.

The OAMFT strongly encourages our members to become actively engaged and advocate for the rights, dignity and respect of every person. As Couple and Family Therapists, we work within systems, and we have a duty to recognize challenges within society and to increase awareness. The work we do makes a difference in our communities. Let’s continue to work together and do better.

We were grateful that our January 2021 Conference was on anti-black racism. As we look towards our January 2022 Conference, we are planning to discuss how to best support and work with our fellow Canadians in Indigenous communities.

Further, we are forming a committee to continue the conversation of anti-racism. If you are interested in joining our Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) Committee, please contact our admin team at admin@oamft.com.

Below we have linked some helpful and credible resources to start these conversations. If you have any suggestions or further comments, please contact us at admin@oamft.com.

Resources and Links:

Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (Available 24 Hours Per Day). For anyone experiencing pain or distress resulting from his, her or their Residential School Experience.
Call: 1-866-925-4419 or visit www.irsss.ca for more details.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action PDF
http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

Visit The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund to learn more and take action
https://downiewenjack.ca/

Sign the #215Pledge in this growing movement to call leaders and decision-makers to take action against the abuse and harm caused by Residential Schools and systemic abuse https://www.215pledge.ca/

Reconciliation Canada: A resource of programs, workshops, and shareable handouts for taking action. www.reconciliationcanada.ca/