Friday, June 5, 2020

The Students of the Water Institute Graduate Section stands in solidarity in the fight for Black and Indigenous lives in Canada and across the globe. Black and Indigenous lives are threatened at gunpoint, while their communities are disproportionately burdened with environmental pollution and unsafe drinking water. As students and researchers studying water, we need to acknowledge that unless we take deliberate anti-racist action, we will continue to uphold a culture of white supremacy and colonialism. We will be part of the effort for equality, equity, and climate and environmental justice. We propose the following actions for the University of Waterloo to undertake:

  • UW should incorporate anti-racist and anti-colonial teachings into their curricula. Students cannot be sent out into the world not understanding the chronic and acute threats to Black and Indigenous peoples, nor without the tools to dismantle the systems causing this pain. 
  • UW must do more to support Black and Indigenous peoples and their concerns regarding the campus environment and research activities. UW should elevate and amplify the excellence and contributions of Black and Indigenous scholars and students.
  • UW must take a bold stance against professors and staff that express racist remarks and dismantle the environment that wears down and dispels students and academics through microaggressions and overt racism.
  • When professors send their students into spaces outside the University, especially into the outdoors, they need to acknowledge that non-white students will have their presence questioned and possibly threatened. Professors need to protect students and use their privilege to enact change within the University and society. 

The Students of the Water Institute Graduate Section represents students in the fields of public health, the arts, civil engineering and water systems, economics, and environmental toxicology and protection. We strive to see this cohort of students sent into the world to further justice and equity for all citizens. Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter.

Your 2019-2020 SWIGS Executives

Erika Burton               Tyler Hampton           Samina Hayat        Sondus Jamal 

Laura Neary                Kirti Nemani               Kirsten Nikel         Hillary Quinn-Austin 

Please reach out to SWIGS (uw.swigs@gmail.com) if you have any concerns about anti-racism within our group.

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