OLIP Statement on Anti-RacismJune 16, 2020
The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) condemns anti-Black racism and all forms of individual, institutional and systemic racism. We mourn George Floyd, Regis Korchiniski-Paquet, Abdirahman Abdi and others in the U.S. and Canada whose lives have been cut short. We stand in solidarity with all who are affected. We call for and commit to change.
Black residents of Ottawa experience systemic anti-Black racism. It is manifested in forms ranging from daily micro-aggressions to discrimination in access to employment, education, health and other services, to racial profiling, over-policing, over-incarceration and death. These experiences result from powerful and persistent inequities historically rooted in colonialism and embedded in laws, policies and institutional practices.
Transforming these entrenched structures and practices is a long, difficult road that Ottawa’s institutions and communities must travel urgently.
We have been working with partners and community members to implement the recommendations in the 2017 report on Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Ottawa, compiled by Black community members, OLIP and City for All Women Initiative, but much remains to be done. Family and friends of Abdirahman Abdi are still awaiting justice for his death during a violent altercation with Ottawa Police officers in 2016. In recent years, there have been both gains and setbacks with regard to enabling structures, policies and legislation at all levels.
OLIP’s Equity Ottawa partners, in collaboration with immigrant, Black and racialized community members, have undertaken several years of collective work to develop a path forward. The partnership has recently created a road map—a collective action plan—to eliminate and monitor progress towards ending institutional and systemic racism in Ottawa. It requires critical reflection on systemic racism, power and privilege; organizational transformation; and greater accountability. OLIP is committed to advancing this important collective effort.
We draw strength and hope from the significant community capital that exists in our city. Ottawa’s Black communities have organized to raise awareness and catalyze action against injustices in policing, legal, education and health systems. Ottawa City Council has taken the important step of introducing an anti-racism secretariat to monitor and guide municipal policies and practices.
Recently, thousands of Ottawa residents came together, in the streets and online, in a collective protest against anti-Black racism. We join them in expressing our grief, solidarity and unwavering commitment to end systemic anti-Black racism and violence and to create a more just and equitable city.
Alex Munter, OLIP Council Chair
Deborah Tunis, OLIP Council Vice-Chair
Hindia Mohamoud, OLIP Director