MKP Canada Statement on Racism
June 2020

“When people think about racism they look at what’s happening in the States and they put on these
blinders, and they presume that racism… only exists when you can blatantly see it happening — when
someone’s being choked with a knee, when someone’s being shot at, when someone is dying. That’s not
the case of our reality every single day. Systemic racism, microaggressions exist in our
institutions.” Former MP Celina Caesar-Chavanne

“We like to tout our inclusivity and diversity without acknowledging racism or the experiences of
Indigenous and racialized people.” Annette Henry, Professor University of British Columbia

“One of the things we have to realize and get Canadians to realize is that most of our racism is
unconscious. It’s because of the way we’ve been educated, the way we’ve been raised, the way that
we have been entertained through the media, the messaging that has come to us from our leaders in
the past — both political as well as social leaders. And as a result of that, the language that we
use, the behaviour that we carry on is a reflection of what it is that we have been told and how it
is we have been told to think… When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ended, I said that
getting to the truth was hard, but getting to reconciliation’s going to be harder. And that’s
because getting to understand the impact that our history, when it came to Indigenous people, had
had upon us is going to be a difficult thing for us to come to terms with and I think we’re
beginning to see that”. Sen. Murray Sinclair, first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba and the
second in Canada

“African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as
the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible —
even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as
we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay
vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author and former
professional basketball player.

Just a few examples of people speaking their truth about racism in our societies.

It is relatively easy for organizations to make statements about the horror and the tragedy of what
happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others in the US. To lament
the injustice of it all. Or for some of us to assume things are “better” here in Canada, and by
extension that we are “better”. Yet we need to look no further than our own backyards with open
eyes to recognize that

institutional and individual racism exists here in Canada. This is evidenced by inaction on missing
and killed indigenous women and men, The Black Experience Project, the continued lack of clean
water and basic health care in many indigenous

communities, and numerous other examples in this country.

The ManKind Project of Canada condemns the racist policies, systems, and individual actions that
kill, wound, and neglect our fellow human beings. We recognize that individual and systemic racism
is a significant issue in Canada and we are committed to making positive changes to better support
difference within our circles and beyond.

Black Lives Matter Indigenous Lives Matter

And statements are not enough.

For those of us who are members of dominant cultures, it is much more difficult, though equally
more important, to look at how the status quo benefits us differently than others merely because of
the colour of our skin, to recognize how we support the status quo, and to take action.

At a national level we have strived to create a national strategy and support our individual
communities in building cultural competence and intercultural connection. We recognize that our
current Board of Directors, and our membership, does not reflect our country’s make up. We are
largely white, middle-aged or older, straight, cis-gendered men. And if we want to be better at
creating competency and connection, that needs to change. Not by changing others to be more like us
but to find ways that we can change as individuals and an organization to be more inclusive of

Now is a time for those of us from dominant cultures to create space for others to speak and then
listen to whatever they chose to share. It is not for us to soothe, relate to, be defensive about,
or even try to empathize with their experiences. But to just hear them with open ears, eyes, minds,
and open hearts. And it is time for us to use our

privilege for the good of all. Not just those who are like us but especially for those who do not
have our privileges. Each of us have a decision to make about how to do that as individuals, but as
an organization, we continue to take action to do just that.

ManKind Project of Canada Board of Directors
Jim Stephens – Chairman Norm Turner – Treasurer
Bob McGuire – Secretary
Cor Baerveldt – Community Director ManKind Project of Alberta
Millan Patel – Community Director ManKind Project of British Columbia
Ryan Stanga – Community
Director ManKind Project of Ontario
John Closs – Community Director ManKind Project of Quebec
Greg Butt – Multi-Cultural/Diversity Coordinator
Richard Stewart – Forms/IT/Special Projects
Drury Heffernan – Member at Large
Bill Tchir – Shadow Watcher