Re: 11 February 9, 2021 - Calgary Police Service Anti-Racism Action Committee Selected
Statement from Defund2Fund
The Calgary Police Service commitment to anti-racism has so far culminated in the creation of the CPS Anti-Racism Action Committee. Defund2Fund would like to congratulate the members selected to this committee: Dr. Fouzia Usman, Shuana Porter, Holly Wong, Rishi Nager, Kim Kakakaway, Giftii Girma, Adam Massiah, Eddie Richardson III, Dr. Darren Lund, Tyson Bankert, Adanech Sahilie, Walter MacDonald White Bear, Inez Ashworth, Lissy Snowden, and Stephen Shirt.
Doing this work well means we must engage in it with the spirit of partnership. The many members of Defund2Fund remain hopeful that this committee will work to amplify and serve those most affected by systemic racism.
While the present composition of this group is promising, the lack of transparency that surrounded the selection process continues to stoke fears from Calgarians who are reticent to trust the bureaucratic processes that exist within systemically racist institutions. This is notably seen in the silence from the CPS for 7 days following the initial statements sent out to applicants alerting them to the status of their application. Compounding on this, calls from the community went unanswered. While Defund2Fund was able to reach CPS and have a small dialogue in the days preceding the release of the committee’s composition, this dialogue came without concrete answers. This demonstrated a lack of preparation to be proactively transparent.
To rebuild trust, the Calgary Police Service must dismantle traditional barriers that have been normalized through years of institutionalized discrimination. This would entail, but is not limited to:
- Releasing the makeup of the selection committee to the public before commencement of selection process.
- Provide selection criteria to the public for comment and feedback, thereby increasing involvement in the creation of a committee meant to serve marginalized communities.
- Reduce the value placed on traditionally credentialed applicants vs. those with lived experience and grassroots connections. Systemic discrimination often manifests itself in reduced access to post-secondary education, therefore valuing traditionally credentialed applicants eliminates the voices of those most likely to experience the most detrimental aspects of systemic discrimination.
- There must be guaranteed flow of information from within the committee to the community throughout this process, i.e., Non-Disclosure Agreements must not restrict full community engagement and transparency on an ongoing basis
To reiterate, Defund2Fund sees the promise behind this committee. However, there will always be more work to do. So, in the spirit of collaboration, we offer our congratulations to those selected and look forward to our voices uniting behind the mission to end systemic racism in all forms.
Defund YYC – Black Lives Matter YYC - Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation – YYC Black Town Hall – The United Black People’s Allyship Movement – The Black and Indigenous Alliance AB – The Colour Factor – RAAR - Rural Alberta Against Racism – Black People United – Blackfalds Against Racism – Vermillion Unites for Equality – Canadian Voices Against Racism - RDAR, Red Deer Against Racism - Project Calgary