RLS Anti-Racism Efforts

RLS Anti-Racism Efforts

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) has an obligation to pay attention to historical and ongoing injustice and racism, to address it, and to play an active part in creating a more just and equitable society.

For those who defer, the habit can place the accountability that is all of ours to bear onto select people – and, more often than not, a hyper-sanitized and thoroughly fictional caricature of them– Olúfémi O. Táíwò

As a community we're engaged in anti-racism efforts...

In the Broader Academic Community

Through Our Research

Leisure, health and well-being

Our researchers examine the role that leisure plays in promoting and protecting health and well-being for all. We critically explore how leisure experiences and services relate to disability and illness, empowerment and inclusion, practices of care and authentic partnerships, and social transformations and cultural change.

Leisure organizations, services and policy

Our researchers are investigating how recreation and sport organizations are addressing contemporary social issues. We examine how different policies, service delivery models, and organizational theories drive social and cultural change, and what leadership capacities and career directions are necessary for healthy futures for all.

Leisure and social justice

Our researchers explore the contexts, concepts, and theories foundational to understanding contemporary issues of social justice and how these are being taken up in leisure studies. We critically explore the potential of recreation, sport, tourism, and events to address issues of social justice, and consider opportunities for deepening our capacities as practitioners and researchers to inspire social change.

Leisure, space and place

Our researchers draw on interdisciplinary perspectives to analyze how leisure experiences, meanings, and organizations relate to various spaces and places (e.g., natural and built environments, public spaces, recreation facilities, urban and rural communities). We are actively involved in theoretical and applied work relevant to enhancing the health, inclusivity, and sustainability of diverse spaces and places.

Leisure and community

Our researchers study a range of factors affecting the relationship between leisure and community, with a particular focus on analyzing, and generating solutions to, community-based problems. We apply key concepts and central themes from recreation, sport, tourism and event studies to support community initiatives and development.

RLS Anti-Racism Working Groups

Following the events of 2020, and the University of Waterloo’s commitment to anti-racism, the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies engaged members of faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students to work together with consultant and alumnus Richard Norman. The working groups gathered information from individuals on systemic and other barriers to be addressed and is developing actions to address these barriers.

RLS Anti-Racism Faculty Collective

RLS Anti-Racism Faculty Collective Logo

Commitments & Responsibilities

The following commitments serve as an anchor statement for all of our relations and activities (research, teaching, and service) in RLS and beyond, including the actions of the Anti-Racism Advisory Faculty Committee. While our commitments will be modelled by faculty, the intent is to draw graduate and undergraduate students in as partners who will also lead with our commitments in mind (or already embody this orientation and thus, feel enabled and supported by our department).

  1. We acknowledge systemic oppression is real and acts in ways that are dismissive, harmful, and violent to individuals affected by intersectional oppressions.
  2. We refuse to let fragility, self-soothing, or mere performative allyship hinder learning, action, and support for individuals within our RLS community.
  3. We refuse to ignore accumulated erasures that perpetuate inequitable opportunities for personal development.
  4. We privilege our relations with each other, the community at large, and the environment guided by love, care, resource sharing, and action.
  5. We value dialogue as praxis in strengthening our bridges to community and in creating bridges to power in relation(s) with those unjustly targeted by status quo. We are responsible for our justice-seeking efforts and hold a process of mutual accountability among us all as the driving force for our relations and action.
  6. We enact hope for change by strengthening practices that take a stand against systemic injustice by refusing indifference, discrimination, and hate.
  7. Above all else, we value difference, well-being, and the fullest expression of self; and work to dismantle barriers in our learning environments that pose hinderances to these values.

With these commitments, folks who work in RLS recognize that our commitments will always be entangled with structures and oppressions that act with racism (e.g., colonization, sexism, capitalism). In being anti-racist, we strive to acknowledge and challenge these oppressions in our steadfast commitment to anti-racist efforts.


Contact Us

In RLS we work to create bridges to consciousness, power and community. See how we’re talking about justice…

In Spaces Across Campus

Faculty Spotlight with Professor Corey W. Johnson

Professor Corey Johnson smiling

Student Spotlight with Marcus Pereira

FOHCUS Let's Talk Anti-Racism Pocast: Anti-Asian Racism in Canada with Christina Pham

Christina Pham who shares her own experience with racism and how she and her family are coping with recent events. 

FOHCUS Let's Talk Anti-Racism Podcast: Identity Politics with Lisbeth Berbary

Dr. Lisbeth Berbary takes us through the concept of identity politics and becoming a co-activator.

FOHCUS Let's Talk Anti-Racism Podcast: Coalition Building with Lisbeth Berbary

Dr. Lisbeth Berbary explains the importance of coalition building and community.

FOHCUS Let's Talk Anti-Racism Podcast: Faculty Initiatives and Campus Resources

Christina Pham, Dean Lili Liu, and Dr. Lisbeth Berbary speak about Faculty of Health Initiatives and Campus Resources.

The Curve Podcast: Moving Beyond Your Own Reality with Dr. Christopher Taylor & Dr. Lisbeth Berbary

Dr. Lisbeth Berbary drops knowledge on how she challenges students to think beyond themselves (their Self) to be able to engage critically with the world around them and re-think how the institutions they love define them.

The Curve Podcast: So Nice, We Do it Twice: The Ultimate Pod Pt II with Dr Christopher Taylor & Edmond Un

University of Waterloo student Edmund Un and all-around 'Renaissance Man' Remi Ojo to chat speak on topics about sinophobia and anti-Asian racism, being 'Black' and one of the best Ultimate players in Canada, and what's next for both of their careers.

The Curve Podcast: Pro Athletes in North America need to thank (and pay) Curt Flood

University of Waterloo Professor Craig Fortier kicks it with Dr. Christopher Taylor to chat about the history of baseball, labour and social justice movements, Curt Flood, and the (literal and figurative) boundaries in baseball.

With Community Partners

Spotlight on Land Back Camp at Laurel Creek 

In The News

******** Still to be decided if group wants this on the website******************************

Troy's statement on Anti-Black Racism (June 6, 2020)

"The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies expresses, in no uncertain terms, its solidarity with communities around the world in protesting racism, racial injustice, and inequality. We denounce any form of violence against Black or racialized persons and their communities, including the police brutality perpetrated against them here in Canada and abroad. We recognize that such violence inflicts physical, psychological, and emotional damage and trauma, often with lethal consequences.

In making this statement, we recognize our slow response to the outrage and anger being expressed about the killing of George Floyd, and the pent-up frustration triggered by yet one more death tied to systemic racism and inequity in our societies.

Our delay in offering a statement of position was a mistake, and I apologize personally for our lack of presence during this difficult time. We remain sincere and resolved to support Black persons in all ways available.

Further, we recognize that the subsequent call-to-action sent to graduate students, staff, and faculty put an unfair burden on those individuals who have been acutely affected by racism. Asking them for solutions at a time of pain and suffering was ill-conceived.

As the Chair of Department for Recreation and Leisure Studies, I am deeply sorry for any hardship our actions may have brought to Black and racialized persons, and their communities.

Despite our firm commitment to social justice, we acknowledge we need to offer more than empty statements about fighting anti-Black racism in the community, at our university, and in its workplace and classrooms. We need to commit to specific actions.

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies acknowledges the under-representation of Black scholars, students, and the implicit biases that affect our teaching, research, service, hiring, and promotion. It is an institutional concern that must be remedied.

In short, our Department must do better. We are complicit in systemic conditions that persist.

However, at this time, it is our role to listen, learn, and then support with action.

Accordingly, we will address the inequities that exist by engaging the knowledge and expertise from Black voices, including staff, students, faculty, and alumni to lead the process in developing concrete ways to combat institutionalized racism and anti-Black violence in our community, as well as address the inequity in our department and beyond.

In addition, we will seek guidance from independent, external sources to help craft actionable goals for change. Their oversight is our commitment to increasing accountability, transparency, and communication to our community as we move forward with our initiatives.

This effort will take planning, but it will begin immediately.

I appeal to our community for patience as we craft a concrete plan to put these values into action, and I will keep everyone apprised of our progress and ongoing efforts."

With respect,

Troy Glover

On Social Media

RLS Anti-Racism Highlights on Instagram

RLS Anti-Racism Recommended Readings on Twitter

Anti-Racism Resources

  • If you’re a student, faculty or staff member and you’ve experienced racism and need a space for support, understanding your resources, potential next steps and/or advocacy: connect with the Equity Office at equity@uwaterloo.ca
  • If you’re a student, faculty or staff member and you’ve experienced racism and would like to explore informal mediation, understand your rights, or file a grievance under a Policy 33: connect with_________ at _______________
    • For more information on the Policy 33 procedure, click here.
  • If you are experiencing distress, the Campus Wellness team provides councelling services for individuals, as well as resoures for support.
  • Here 24/7 is also available in the Waterloo Region, providing support to those in distress: phone 1-844-437-3247
  • The Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Office (HREI) has a variety of resources available:
  • Racial Advocacy for Inclusion, Solidarity and Equity (RAISE) is a student-led Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) service to address racism and xenophobia on the University of Waterloo campus.
  • University of Waterloo Athletics’ Anti-Racism Alliance is a progressive group of University of Waterloo staff & students working together to use their voices and platforms to create change within the Waterloo network. 

Anti-Racism Reading Lists

Part of combating racial injustice is taking the time to learn about where it stems from, and how it impacts our society.

These lists of resources and information are here to help students, faculty, and staff in our department develop a deeper understanding of issues of racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism and anti-Asian racism; as well as provide tools for campus community members to engage in anti-racism work across campus.

We will continue to update and edit these lists weekly. If you have any recommendations for additional resources, notice any broken links or have other feedback about these lists, please contact us using our feedback form (hyperlink this)********