ALECC stands in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) and the protests for racial justice in the United States, Canada, and beyond. We support their expressions of grief and outrage for the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, D’Andre Campbell, and Chantel Moore, along with so many others. We condemn the deeply entrenched, systemic racism that pervades American and Canadian institutions of law enforcement, and we denounce the police violence enacted upon the bodies of Black and Brown people as a result. We support the protesters in their demands for justice for the victims of this violence, both those whose names we know and those whose names we do not. Their lives matter.
In addition to expressing support for and solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, ALECC recognizes the need to eradicate the inequity that pervades virtually all aspects of academia, including the environmental humanities. Thus, we plan to work to identify and dismantle systemic racism and white privilege within our organization and our field, as well as affiliated communities and institutions. We deeply regret that BIPOC students, scholars, and artists have too often borne the burden of calling out and resisting the unexamined injustices embedded in our conferences, publications, and communications.
As a Canadian environmental humanities association, ALECC is particularly invested in recognizing and supporting the scholarship, writing, art, and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour and the pursuit of ecological justice in Canada and around the world. We commit to amplifying BIPOC voices in our cultural and scholarly communities. In order to do so, we have taken several concrete steps:
- The editorial team of our journal, The Goose, is actively working on building capacity to address systemic racism in the journal and the environmental humanities; to welcome and support more BIPOC contributors; and to continue to publish work at the intersection of nature, race, environmental justice, and decolonization. For the latest information, see the call for issue 19.1, e-Race-sures, on The Goose website. ALECC has committed funds to provide honoraria for emerging or precariously employed BIPOC contributors.
- We commit to establishing anti-racism funding to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour to participate fully in ALECC’s conferences and other activities. We have committed funds to support conference travel for under-employed BIPOC participants when in-person ALECC conferences resume, and are waiving ALECC membership fees for them. We are also waiving first-year annual membership fees for new or renewing BIPOC members.
- We have established an Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group (AREWG) to put these actions into practice, and to work towards anti-oppressive cultural and organizational change within ALECC. The Working Group is dedicated to promoting racial justice and equity building for historically oppressed groups, including disabled, neurodiverse, queer, trans, and gender diverse members of the association. We welcome expressions of interest from members or potential members of ALECC to assist this group. We have also established an honorarium fund to support contributions from BIPOC scholars.
Statements like these often underscore language’s power and limits. Accordingly, the AREWG hopes and expects that the terminology we use here to address race, gender, ability, academic employment, and identity will develop as our understanding of these categories does. Our larger aim with this statement is to help build respectful and mutually supportive community here at ALECC. As such, we welcome your insights as to how we might improve upon what we’ve written here.