The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies is a division of the Faculty of Health
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
- Leisure Studies Charge Statment
- Marcus RAISE presentation
- Kim Conference with CCLR
- Dr. Kimberly Lopez at The Academy of Leisure Sciences: Future of Leisure Sciences Conference
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
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).
- We acknowledge systemic oppression is real and acts in ways that are dismissive, harmful, and violent to individuals affected by intersectional oppressions.
- We refuse to let fragility, self-soothing, or mere performative allyship hinder learning, action, and support for individuals within our RLS community.
- We refuse to ignore accumulated erasures that perpetuate inequitable opportunities for personal development.
- We privilege our relations with each other, the community at large, and the environment guided by love, care, resource sharing, and action.
- 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.
- We enact hope for change by strengthening practices that take a stand against systemic injustice by refusing indifference, discrimination, and hate.
- 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.
In RLS we work to create bridges to consciousness, power and community. See how we’re talking about justice…
In Spaces Across Campus
Christina Pham who shares her own experience with racism and how she and her family are coping with recent events.
Dr. Lisbeth Berbary takes us through the concept of identity politics and becoming a co-activator.
Dr. Lisbeth Berbary explains the importance of coalition building and community.
Christina Pham, Dean Lili Liu, and Dr. Lisbeth Berbary speak about Faculty of Health Initiatives and Campus Resources.
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.
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
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."
On Social Media
RLS Anti-Racism Highlights on Instagram
RLS Anti-Racism Recommended Readings on Twitter
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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:
- A non-exhuastive list of Anti-Racism resources provided by both the University of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo communities.
- The workshop EQ201 Anti-Racism Workshop on how to engage critically in anti-racism and enact anti-racist practices on campus.
- Guidelines for teaching assistants as well as supervisors and managers encountering harassment and discrimination.
- 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)********
Anti-Racism & Black Political Thought
|The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole||The Skin We're In describes the struggle against racism in Canada during the year 2017, chronicling Cole's role as an anti-racist activist and the impact of systemic racism in Canadian society.|
|Canadian Education is Steeped in Anti-Black Racism by Robyn Maynard||An analysis on the psychological violence, degradation and harm that Black youth face in Canadian Schools|
|Black Canadians History, Experiences, Social Conditions by Joseph Mensa||This book by Joseph Mensa covers 300 years of Black Canadian history, from the first migration of slaves, black loyalists, and Civil War refugees to the expansive movement brought about by the establishment of the point system in 1967. It also addresses housing, the labor market, sports management, and race and ethnic relations.|
|Black Travel Movement: Systemic Racism informing tourism by Stefanie Benjamin & Aana Dilette||Critical race theories reveal systemic racism in travel industry|
|Until We Are All Free Edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, and Syrus Marcus Ware||"Until We Are Free busts myths of Canadian politeness and niceness, myths that prevent Canadians from properly fulfilling its dream of multiculturalism and from challenging systemic racism, including the everyday assaults on black and brown bodies|
|Willie: The Gamechanging Story of the NHL's first Black Player||In this book, Canada’s first Black professional hockey player discusses his experience facing racism in a predominantly white sport.|
|How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi||In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.|
|Podcast: Code Switch by NPR||Code Switch by NPR is a podcast featuring fearless conversations about race, hosted by journalists of color. This podcast tackles the subject of race head-on, and explores how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.|
|Steven Bradbury and Jim Lusted’s book “Race, Ethnicity and Racism in Sports Coaching” focuses on the ways in which race, and ethnicity operate, and how they are experiences or addressed within the context of sports coaching.|
Indigenous Liberation in Canada
|Indigenous History Timeline||This timeline presents key events and developments in Indigenous history in what is now Canada, from Time Immemorial to present. While no timeline can be exhaustive in its coverage, it provides a broad chronological overview to support educators and students.|
|Indigenous Ally Toolkit||An Indigenous Ally toolkit created by the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network.|
|An article by the The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health about Canada's history of racism against Indigenous peoples.|
|21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph||Since its creation in 1876, the Indian Act has shaped, controlled, and constrained the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples, and is at the root of many enduring stereotypes. Bob Joseph's book comes at a key time in the reconciliation process, when awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is at a crescendo.|
|Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada||Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada uses sport as a lens through which to examine issues such as individual and community health, gender and race relations, culture and colonialism, and self-determination and agency. In this groundbreaking volume, leading scholars offer a multidisciplinary perspective on how unequal power relations influence the ability of Aboriginal people in Canada to implement their own visions for spor|
|This book is a highly recommended collection of Indigenous voices who speak to the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and the essayists own work with anti-violence initiatives.|
|This graphic timeline is meant to act as a starting point for people to familiarize themselves with Canada's colonialist, white supremacist history and present, ongoing discrimination against Indigenous communities.|
|Enslavement of Indigenous Peoples in Canada||Article by the Canadian Encyclopedia about the enslavement of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.|
|Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid||A book on the true story of racism, indifference and the pursuit of justice for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls|
|Settler colonialism, Indigenous cultures, and the promotional landscape of tourism in Ontario, Canada's ‘near North’||Prof. Bryan Grimwood’s article highlights the erasure of Indigenous cultures by settler colonial power relations and illustrates that tourism is a social force through which settler stories are both perpetuated and resisted.|
|Separate Beds by Maureen K. Lux||Separate Beds is the shocking story of Canada's system of segregated health care. Operated by the same bureaucracy that was expanding health care opportunities for most Canadians, the "Indian Hospitals" were underfunded, understaffed, overcrowded, and rife with coercion and medical experimentation.|
|There's Something In the Water: Environmental racism in indigenous & Black communities by Ingrid R. G. Waldron||
In There's Something In The Water, by Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities.
|The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities by Frances Henry||This book, the first comprehensive, data-based study of racialized and Indigenous faculty members’ experiences in Canadian universities, challenges the myth of equity in higher education.-|
|FOHCUS Podcast: Let's Talk - Anti-Racism: Anti-Asian Racism in Canada with Christina Pham||University of Waterloo student Christina Pham shares her own experience with racism and how she and her family are coping with recent events.|
|Racial Segregation of Asian Canadians||This article delves into the racial segregation Asian-Canadians face in many aspects of everyday life in Canada such as the work, leisure, housing & health care, politics and education sectors.|
|This article discusses the history & implementation of the head tax along with other racist immigration policies the Canadian Federal Government introduced to target Chinese people.|
|This article highlights Canada’s long history of anti-Asian racism which has been amplified amid COVID times.|
|Addressing Anti-Asian Rasicm: A Resource for Educators by Elementary Teachers Federation Ontario (ETFO)||Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators provides a foundation for reflection, discussion and social justice action. It was created by a team of educators of Asian descent whose lived experiences, both personal and professional, knowledge and passion for social justice are reflected in its pages|
|History of South Asians in Canada||A timeline of the history of South Asians in Canada from 1885-Present.|
Resources for Allies
|White Privilege, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy Mcintosh||An article by Peggy Mcintosh, analyzing white privilege and its benefits in society.|
|Welcome to the Anti-Racism Movement - Here's what you've missed by Ijeoma Oluo||A guide meant to get people up to speed on the anti-racist movement.|
|The Subtle Linguistics of Polite White Supremacy by Yawo Brown||An article by Yawo Brown, speaking on the definition of "polite" white supremacy.|
|Performative Allyship is Deadly by Holiday Phillips||An article by Holiday Phillips, discussing the wave of performative allyship on social media|
|A book written by Paul Kivel, full of powerful strategies and practical tools for white people committed to racial justice|
|Queer Returns by Rinaldo Walcott||Rinaldo Walcott takes a look at categories of "queer and Black" and "Black queer" through the lens of multiculturalism and Canadian identity in Queer Returns. The essay collection reflects on how capitalism, colonialism and sexual identity intersect and shape culture, politics and Black expression.|
|LGBTQ+ Inclusion In Sport by David Thibideau||This article written by David Thibodeau, talks about the barriers the LGBTQ+ community face in sport participation, and how we can make our teams and clubs more inclusive and welcoming.|
|A Home for All: Resources on LGBTQ+ Systemic Discrimination in Long Term Care||Many elderly folks in the LGBT community face systemic discrimination in long term care, leading to a lack of trust in health care providers. The resources below feature practices to help make LTC homes an inclusive space.|
|In this collection of essays and interviews edited by activist-scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to Black feminism and its impact on today’s struggles.|
|The role of Black queer people in the Toronto protests and the Stonewall Riots are not at the forefront of the discussion when it comes to Toronto Pride today.” Olivia Bowden’s article talks about the roles Black queer people had in the origins of Pride in Canada, and how Pride has historically excluded Black voices.|
|An article by the Canadian Encylopedia about the history of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Canada