SFU builds on anti-racism work with new partnership

August 16, 2021

Simon Fraser University’s new partnership with the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, a program funded by the Province of B.C., will support the network’s province-wide approach to identifying and challenging racism.

“SFU is continuing on its journey to become a more inclusive and equitable university, but this is not a journey we can—or should—make alone,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “This partnership will help us build momentum towards our own anti-racism efforts while giving us the opportunity to collaborate with others to create change beyond SFU’s campuses.”

The Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, which emerged from a series of province-wide dialogues held in 2019, operates in communities across the province, delivering accessible resources for education, community building, dialogue, issues identification and mobilization. The Resilience BC Hub, run by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, connects communities with information, supports and training and with a broader network of anti-racism experts and activists throughout the province.

“This partnership creates an important opportunity for an exchange of knowledge and ideas between SFU faculty and staff and network members who are working on the ground,” says Jane Hurtig, director of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. “SFU brings to the partnership valuable academic and research expertise, while network members bring a deep understanding of the prevalence and impact of racism in their communities. We see great potential for tackling some of the persistent barriers to addressing this systemic problem.”

As part of the partnership, SFU Public Square will host a new lecture series designed to stimulate discussion about successful, adaptable strategies to ending racism and hate. The “Taking Action!” lecture series will feature speakers from across Canada and the globe who will share their experiences and lessons B.C. communities can adopt.

Eva Jewell will speak at a virtual event hosted by SFU Public Square on October 6th.

The inaugural event will be held on October 6, 2021 and will feature speaker Eva Jewell, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Sociology at X University and Research Director at the Yellowhead Institute, who will discuss her extensive research on existing recommendations for addressing structural racism.

“We are working to further our commitment to tackling racism through education, policy and action,” says Rachna Singh, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives.

“This partnership with SFU will help us to reach even more British Columbians, to challenge them to examine their biases and delve deeper into those important conversations we need to have around race and discrimination. I encourage other organizations to join us to stand against hatred and build a more inclusive, welcoming province for all British Columbians.”

"During COVID-19, we have seen a need for increased urgency in addressing racism in B.C.,” says Johnson. “We need to take province-wide action towards combating anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, hate and discrimination in all forms.”

“As an educational institution with deep ties to our community, SFU has a responsibility to support this important work. I say this all the time—this work is not quick or easy. But I think it gets a little easier when we’re connected with others who share a common goal, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.”

Want to learn more about equity, diversity and inclusion work happening across SFU? Visit the EDI website for the latest news and updates.

Visit the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network at ResilienceBC.ca.