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UM denounces racism

Message from President David T. Barnard

June 2, 2020 — 


Dear University Community,

Recent tragic deaths have caused immense suffering and anger as they represent a legacy of racism and police brutality against Black people. We are also witnessing alarming displays of racism against the Asian community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic; and we recognize the interpersonal and systemic racism that is continually experienced by Indigenous Peoples.

On behalf of the University of Manitoba, I want to say clearly that we denounce racism in all its forms, we commit to solidarity with Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour (BIPOC) and we commit ourselves to listen, to learn and to do better.

For those of us with privilege, it can be easy to ignore what’s happening, to say that it is not our problem or our story here in Canada. But silence represents ignorance and fear. We must be anti-racist. We must recognize white privilege, and that we exist in systems of white supremacy. We must remember that Canada was built on the lands of the Indigenous Peoples and on the backs of Black and Asian workers. We must join our voices to say enough is enough. 

Though I can never fully understand the experiences of racialized communities, I can commit to educating myself on their stories and histories and I encourage others to do the same. I call on our university community – united in our pursuit of knowledge – to research perspectives beyond our own, to learn the many ways that racism is enforced by our social structures, to seek out difficult truths and to acknowledge harms of the past and the present.

The University of Manitoba community believes in the inherent dignity of all people. We respect our differences, celebrate our commonalities, and are united in our mutual focus on intellectual achievement. We continue to strengthen alliances that are working to increase mutual understanding, respect and support.

Finally, to UM’s racialized students and colleagues, thank you for your strength and resilience. Thank you to those who take the time to educate your peers and colleagues and to speak your truth. Thank you for contributing to the strength of our institution.

We are sorry. Now, we must listen. We must learn. We must do better.


To anyone who is looking for support during this time, please connect with Student Counselling Centre or Employee Assistance Program. If you have experienced discrimination while working or studying at UM, please contact our Office of Human Rights and Conflict Management. UM is also home to a number of groups who are leading crucial work to address racism, and promote diversity and inclusion. 

List of groups and partners at UM who are leading crucial work to address race, and promote diversity and inclusion:

Some faculty resources:

Indigenous resources

Elders at UM are here to offer their support and can be reached via email or phone, and are also hosting weekly virtual sharing circles via Zoom. Indigenous students can also connect with Indigenous Student Centre advisors or counselling services by phone or email. Contact the ISC at 204-474-8850 or to make an appointment with an Elder or for more information about the Zoom gatherings. Additional support can be found at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.



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