On June 2, 2020, the University of Winnipeg released a statement rejecting racism and its effects. It read:
“The images we have seen the past few days are undeniable reminders of social injustice and racial inequalities. We reject racism in all its forms and proudly stand with those who are rising up to have their voices heard. Our students, faculty and staff at UWinnipeg come from all walks of life and we recognize the importance of saying to the Black community—and all racialized communities—right now at this crucial moment in history, that we stand beside you and support you. We are organizing a panel discussion with leading UWinnipeg scholars who will share their expertise and perspectives. Details will be communicated shortly.”
Although this video comes to you later than anticipated, this is because panelists opted to think critically and carefully about its conception, participants, content, and presentation. From the start, one of the central questions, importantly cynical, was “why now?” Anti-racist work should be ongoing and active, not solely because Black and Indigenous activists have made it uncomfortable to remain indifferent or because we are incited as a reaction to devastating events.
This panel brings together Dr. Paul Lawrie (History, Associate Dean of Arts), Thiané Diop (Cultural Studies MA Alum), Dr. Chigbo Anyaduba (English), and Dr. Eliakim Sibanda (History), and is moderated by Dr. Delia Douglas (Health Sciences, University of Manitoba). Each one of these Black scholars teaches and researches issues related to race and identity. Each one of these Black scholars has important things to say about race and identity in institutions of higher education, including The University of Winnipeg.
Panelists would like to thank Drs. Jenny Heijun Wills and Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land for their leadership and tireless work with organizing the panel, the UWinnipeg Recording studio, National Captioning Canada Inc., and the Office of the Dean of Arts for providing funds for closed captioning. They would like to thank the University of Winnipeg for allocating funds to the University Library for the purchase of Black-authored books in their respective disciplines/fields.