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Message of Solidarity

 

Black Lives Matter. The lives of all racialized, marginalized, and oppressed people matter. In the past weeks we have seen an intensification of murderous violence against Black people and people of colour. This has followed upon a period of egregious racism towards Asian people. The horrific murder of George Floyd - one of far too many such murders - has spawned an intensification of support for the lives and safety of Black people. At this painful juncture of a global pandemic and the foregrounding of structural racism in Quebec, Canada, and beyond, we have many reasons to be afraid and outraged. We have also been given reason to hope, and more reason than ever to take action.
 
Oral history originated, as a practice, in the recognition that recorded testimony is a powerful tool for amplifying the voices of the unheard. Oral history research, oral history performance, and oral history research-creation are all techniques that can make audible the voices of the unheard and the oppressed.
 
COHDS has supported many projects and events that offer the wider community opportunities to engage with voices and life stories by the Black community, Indigenous peoples, refugees, and people of colour. In the last year it was our great honour to collaborate on Chant.iers Féministes | D'Est en Ouest: Partitions d'Afrique Vol.2, the launch of The Living Archives of Rwandan Exiles and Genocide Survivors in Canada project, and our many workshops last year with Black Perspectives Initiative (BPI), founded by COHDS affiliate Annick MF. We encourage you to visit the website of our affiliate organization, the Black Community Resource Centre, which is committed to “helping visible minority youth rekindle their dreams, and achieve their full potential” - a beautiful goal in the current context.
 
If you are a Concordia faculty member, student, staff, or alumnus, we also encourage you to consider signing this petition that asks our university’s higher administration to enact a goal-oriented anti-racist action plan within our institution: https://bit.ly/2MGOOXZ
 
Here at COHDS we are thinking and talking about how to make our programming next year responsive to current events and needs. If you have ideas, we welcome them. We will be putting out a call for proposals later this summer - stay tuned!
 
In the meantime, we invite you to take part in some highly relevant summer reading: an essay by  Concordia student, COHDS affiliate Désirée Rochat, COHDS’s founder Steven High, and archivist and friend to COHDS, Alexandra Mills. “Telling Stories from Montreal's Negro Community Centre Fonds: The Archives as Community-Engaged Classroom” explores student archival discoveries in relation to the former Negro Community Centre/Charles H. Este Cultural Centre in Little Burgundy, Montreal, and questions the always-political work of telling stories.
 
In solidarity,
The COHDS team


 

Concordia University