One of the impetuses driving the creation of the CDSN was the need to foster a more diverse and inclusive defence and security community. The murder of George Floyd as well as of other Black Americans, the repeated demonstrations of police brutality aimed at the protesters, and events closer to home remind us that we can and should do better. First, we endorse the statement made by Women In International Security-Canada, a founding partner of the CDSN:
We stand in solidarity with the fight against anti-black systemic racism and white supremacy. We condemn all forms of inequality, xenophobia, and discrimination against Black people. Black lives matter.
Across the world, we are witnessing the collective pain of a community who has survived intergenerational discrimination and dehumanization. We are seeing the grief of a community that cannot trust the police who swore an oath to protect them. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. Regis Korchinski-Paquet. It is painful to say the names of people who have died far too early at the hands of white supremacy, knowing this list extends for centuries and includes hundreds of thousands of lives. It is more painful, but necessary, to say without massive change this list will expand.
We know this problem permeates all borders. This includes Canada. Canada was built on the genocide of Indigenous peoples; our state is maintained through systemic oppression against Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour. To this day, Black and Indigenous peoples are disproportionately reflected in fatal interactions with police.
From the disproportionate effects of COVID-19, to fighting against police violence, Black people continue to be on the front lines of a war against racism and systemic injustice. We cannot conceptualize security without considering the peace and security of Black people. It is a security problem when access to education, housing, and healthcare are dependent on the colour of one’s skin. It is a security problem when political, social, and economic participation is conditional on the colour of one’s skin. It is a security crisis when people are more likely to be jailed because of the colour of their skin. It is a security crisis when innocent people are killed because of the colour of one’s skin.
WIIS-Canada is dedicated to advancing women’s voices in international security. This project of inclusion must be anti-racist. Racism is a feminist issue. Complacency and silence are complicity.
We the board of Directors and Executive of WIIS-Canada stand in solidarity with those seeking justice.
Second, we are working out the details for a new CDSN scholarship for undergraduate students who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour. Third, we will work to develop partnerships with organizations seeking to foster greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in the defence and security community.