BCWC Solidarity Letter
We remember Black people who have been murdered by police.
George Floyd. Regis Korchinski-Paquet. Breonna Taylor. D’Andre Campbell.
What is remembered lives.
Ahmaud Arbery. Tony McDade. Dion Johnson.
What is remembered lives.
We also recognize all those who have perished due to unrecognized racial violence whose names we do not know.
What is remembered lives.
As members of British Columbia Witchcamp (BCWC) community, we stand in solidarity with Black people and Black communities and the calls for action from Black Lives Matter. The senseless murder of Black people by police must stop. Systemic racism and oppression against Black people must end. In recognition of the current political climate, a group of community members who have had leadership roles within the community in recent years came together to write this statement and commit to addressing systemic racism and white supremacy within and outside of the BCWC Reclaiming community.
As members of the BCWC community, an event held on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples in the nation known as Canada, we acknowledge that our work on antiracism always includes working to be in right relationship with Indigenous peoples and nations and taking steps towards unlearning the Canadian colonial mindset.
In recognition of our ongoing commitment to decolonization we remember Chantel Moore and all the Indigenous people who were murdered by police in Canada. We remember that one-third of people shot to death by RCMP officers are Indigenous.
What is remembered lives.
While racism in Canada may appear different from the US, racism in Canada is deeply entrenched in our society. White people in Canada enslaved Black and Indigenous people for over 200 years and slavery was only fully abolished in Canada in 1825. We recognize that what is known as Canada was built by the forced labour of Black and Indigenous people and that white people in this country continue to benefit greatly from systemic racism. Unfortunately, the state sanctioned murder of Black people is a Canadian reality; a recent study found that Black residents of Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police than white residents.
Our community includes Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour and we want to acknowledge that for those who are racialized in our community this might be a time of fear, grief, and anger. We stand with you. We recognize and are guided by the integral work that has been done by Black, Indigenous and people of colour in addressing racism and white supremacy in our community in a multitude of ways including informal conversations, facilitated meetings and through the work of Decolonizing Actions in Reclaiming Communities (DARC).
We know that white people in our community must do more to address racism and white supremacy. We invite white and white presenting people of the BCWC community to move beyond allyship and act as co-conspirators in the fight against anti-black racism and white supremacy. We invite all members of the community to engage in this work with compassion for ourselves, each other and awareness of our own intersectional privilege and distress, as well as our humanity and our gifts. We must bring all our gifts and all of our magic to this co-conspiracy. As described by Feminista Jones, co-conspiring is a way for people with privilege to actively engage in anti-racism work, “We are challenging that system [of oppression] and so we have to conspire. We have to plot and plan the ways in which we can tear those systems down.”
Using the platform of BCWC, we want to amplify the voices of Black people and state our explicit support for the calls for action from Black communities and Black Lives Matter. We invite white and non-Black people in the BCWC community to become co-conspirators in the following ways:
We invite you to amplify melanated voices on social media and in other content you engage with:
- Prioritize listening to the voices of Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour over white folks doing social-justice related work. Supporting Black creators through our purchases of content, and our views, “likes” and shares on social media promotes the visibility of Black Lives and addresses racist economic disparity and algorithms that reproduce racism.
- If you don’t use social media, consider purchasing books, watching movies and TV shows created by Black people.
- Listen to Black people who are speaking directly from their lived experience on social media platforms, in books, on the radio and in podcasts. Learn about the impact of racism from Black people who are gifting you with their stories and experience. Believe them.
- Share content created by Black people. Buy books written by Black people for your friends. If using social media gain permission before sharing. Tag their works.
- While this challenge to amplify melanated voices was originally created for Instagram and scheduled to end on June 7th, we invite you to continue it as an ongoing practice.
We invite you to support Black Lives Matter and Black communities in the following ways:
- Move beyond optical allyship and take action against racism. (What’s optical allyship? Read this and listen to this and see other resources below.)
- Donate funds and other resources to Black individuals, groups, businesses and organizations, if you are able to give.
- Educate yourself on antiracist resources: books, movies, courses, etc.
- Create magic that flocks and supports the movements initiated by Black communities. Avoid magical practices that may control or direct these efforts.
- Don’t share traumatic content or images/videos of racial violence on social media. Don’t normalize these images. Protect those in your networks from repeated exposure to them.
- Attend a protest, if this is a safe option for you.
- Hold our political representatives accountable for addressing systemic racism.
- Educate ourselves on policies being passed locally, provincially and federally that have a negative impact on racially marginalized people and advocate against them.
- During election time, share information in your communities about politicians’ history of being complicit with systems of oppression or advocating for antiracist policies.
- Plan to be engaging in anti-racist work as a marathon, not a sprint. Care for yourself and pace yourself in order to do this work for a lifetime. Set long terms goals such as implementing anti-racist training or policies in your workplace or starting an anti-racist book club with your coven.
We invite you to support the movement to defund the police:
- “We call for a national defunding of police. We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive.” -BLM Global Network
- Educate ourselves on how the police actively harm Black and Indigenous communities (as well as other marginalized communities) and listen to Black people who are sharing their experience, research and perspectives.
- Educate ourselves on better ways to support our communities such as mental health emergency response teams that have social workers and nurses trained to respond to these emergencies.
- Take action through sharing information or having difficult conversations with friends, family and the wider community on this topic.
- Write to your MLA, MP or another political representative.
As members of the BCWC community, we commit to addressing systemic racism against Black people within our community in the following ways:
- Acknowledge that white silence is violence and support the development of a culture in our community where white people speak out against racism, even if it is done imperfectly.
- Decentre the emotions and discomfort of white people (white fragility) when addressing racism in the Reclaiming community.
- Listen to and believe the experiences of Black people in the Reclaiming community and use these conversations to make change.
- Use our magic to flock and support anti-racism work led by Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour.
- Prioritize Black people when allocating funds for people to participate in BCWC events and workshops.
- Support Black people moving into (and staying in) leadership roles within the Reclaiming community.
- Prioritize and facilitate explicit conversations regarding racism and cultural appropriation in our community. Bring in our skills as witches and center the voices of Black people and people of colour.
- Recognize that liberation work and magical practice from a Black perspective may look different from what white people in our community know and are comfortable with. We recognize that this work comes from a place of fighting for life in systems of oppression that do not value Black lives.
- Take steps to decolonize the name of our camp and rename it to express our values and our magic.
We invite our community to be in an accountable relationship with this work and to support these efforts. We know our community is incredibly resourceful, passionate and magical and together, we are capable of sustaining powerful work to address anti-Black racism now and in the years ahead. BCWC is a fluid community with a non-hierarchical structure, so no one person speaks for all of us. We invite those who consider yourselves to be part of the community of BCWC to join us in supporting this statement. We are grateful for the members of DARC, who reviewed and consulted on the authorship.
In solidarity, love and magic,
Ember, Justine, Ravenna, Ruby and Willow
We invite you to be a co-conspirator and support this necessary work. CLICK HERE to sign your name to this letter.
10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship
Feminista Jones doesn’t think you’re an ally: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/outintheopen/allies-1.4850186/feminista-jones-doesn-t-think-you-re-an-ally-1.4850215
Slavery in Canada:
Why algorithms can be racist and sexist:
Common questions regarding abolishing the police:
Black Toronto residents 20 times more likely to be shot dead by police, study says
Anti-racism Reading List:
Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad (Listen to an interview with Layla Saad here.)
My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies – Resmaa Menakem (Listen to an interview with Resmaa Menakem here.)
How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi (Listen to an interview with Ibram X. Kendi here.)
Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger – Lama Rod Owens (Check him out on the web here or on Instagram @lamarodowens)
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo (Listen to an interview here)