Department of Sociology Solidarity Statement

As members of Western’s Sociology Department, we strongly condemn structural racism and the recent violence against Black Americans, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

We share in the collective grief, anger, and pain over these murders, and we stand in solidarity with the protests that have followed them.

While these victims of racial violence were American, racism does not stop at the Canadian border. The recent death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the ongoing racial profiling by police in the Greater Toronto Area, and the persistent and deliberate violations of Indigenous rights as described by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as well as the Report of the National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, all point to endemic racism and discrimination in our society.

As sociologists, scholars, teachers, and people, we cannot stay silent. We are responsible for speaking out against racism and all other forms of oppression. We are saddened, horrified, and angered by the recent violence and murder, both for the young people who lost their lives and their families, and in the knowledge that racism fuels these tragedies.

It is incumbent upon us, as members of a discipline that focuses on the study of structural inequalities, to do more than identify, analyze, and explain systemic racism. We must also ensure that those insights be put to use within the Department, the University, London, Canada, and the world. At a minimum, we are committed to:

  • Active listening to those in and beyond our community whose lives have been impacted by systemic racism.
  • Critically reflecting on our own positions of privilege.
  • Creating and fostering a culture of inclusion and affirmation within our department, and contributing to University-wide efforts to do the same. This includes paying closer attention to issues of diversity and inclusion in our department colloquia and course offerings and readings, thinking seriously about the implications of our research for social change, and acknowledging when we fall short of these goals.
  • Ensuring that we as individual members of this community work together to address these issues in an ongoing way.

Finally, we wish to reiterate our support for our students, staff, and faculty during this tumultuous time. We know that the pain, anger, and despair are not shared equally by all. Some members of our community have been affected especially acutely. While we may not all experience these events in the same way, we stand together as a community.

Department of Sociology
Western University