The Grad Club

Anti-Racism Statement

The Grad Club board of directors spent much of the summer educating themselves on various issues regarding racism and police brutality in the Queen's and wider Kingston community and engaging the input of members of the Grad Club community as well as members of the Grad Club staff to coordinate the first step in addressing these systemic issues and concerns. The Board of Directors passed the following statement on August 14, 2020. The statement will be presented for full Membership approval at the Grad Club AGM scheduled for October 6, 2020.


August 14, 2020

ANTI-RACISM STATEMENT

The Grad Club Board of Directors stands in solidarity with protests and action against systemic and individual acts of racism and police brutality, on Queen’s campus, in Canada, and across the world. Black lives matter. On Queen’s campus, we continue to see overt, despicable acts of racism, homophobia and transphobia, as well as an insidious culture of white supremacy. The recent targeted attacks against our neighbours at the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre demonstrate clearly the violence of these hateful views. Until now we have been silent in this matter and we recognize that our silence and inaction help perpetuate this racist culture in our community.

As an organization whose membership consists of a diverse body of graduate and professional students on campus, as well as post-doctoral researchers and wider community members, we acknowledge that our failure to openly address systemic racism directly affects the members whom we claim to serve. Moving forward, The Grad Club will take action to help dismantle the systems that oppress LGTBQ2SIA+ BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) communities on campus, in the wider Kingston community, and across the territory now recognized as Canada.

For more than fifty years, The Grad Club has operated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee. To recognize this territory is to recognize the longer history, before European colonies on the territories. We must also acknowledge the continuing significance of the land to Indigenous communities who lived and continue to live here. These lands were not given to our colonial forebearers peacefully but taken by force through starvation and laws with blatant anti-Indigenous, racist intent. Moreover, The Grad Club has benefitted from the infrastructure and monetary support of Queen’s University, whose presence on these lands has been, and continues to be, a source of violence toward Indigenous peoples and the land. The Grad Club is not proud of this history and stands in solidarity with First Nations, Métis, and Indigenous peoples in Kingston and across Turtle Island in working to dismantle systems of oppression that exist to this day in our society.

The Grad Club has existed since 1963, and we have been at our current location as a member-owned non-profit organisation since 1976. Today, we are proud to say that we strive to provide a safe and diverse space on Queen’s University campus for meetings, celebrations, live music, activism, and other events, but the Grad Club recognizes that it has historically been passive in this position. While we endeavour to continue to evolve as a progressive, inclusive, and diverse organisation, we must put action behind the sentiment and become explicitly anti-racist. We must not simply 'add diversity and stir,' we must ensure that the entire organisation as a whole is welcoming and inclusive.

In our in our efforts to stand against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, The Grad Club commits to the work of evolving into an explicitly anti-racist organization. We are still far from here and there is a lot of work that must be done. This work includes, but is not limited to, examining our programming decisions and house policies, revising our staff hiring and training policies, as well as critically reviewing the structure of the Board of Directors and its accountability mechanisms. Beyond internal changes, The Grad Club is ready to work with and support all other organizations at Queen’s and in the wider Kingston Community who seek to make genuine positive change in ending systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and police brutality in our shared community.

We recognise that it will take us time to implement true, meaningful, long-term change at The Grad Club and that practicing anti-racism is an ongoing and active endeavour. We do not want to rush this process in a way that will lead to tokenization and purely symbolic gestures. As a membership-based organisation, we encourage our members to hold us accountable as we go forward.

Sincerely,

The Grad Club Board of Directors

If you have any questions or concerns,
please reach out to the Board of Directors directly:
boardofdirectors@thegradclub.ca