DLS stands in solidarity with the Black community and protestors around the world in raising our voices against anti-Black racism and police brutality. The murder of George Floyd and the suspicious death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet are the latest in devastatingly long list of Black people’s lives that have been damaged and extinguished by police and other state actors. These actions are not just the random acts of individual perpetrators, rather they are the product of and enabled by centuries of systemic oppression and institutional racism.
We acknowledge the role of law as a tool of state oppression and control. As a legal clinic and law school program, we recognise that we have much work to do internally to identify and confront how unconscious bias and racism shape the ways in which we think about, teach and practice law. We accept and welcome the difficult conversations this commitment brings, for it is through these discussions that we will be challenged to do better.
In our work, we see daily the differential impact of the law on our clients – particularly racialized clients. We will work to strengthen our relationships with key community agencies and advocacy groups to better under the gaps in service for Black and Indigenous people and to create stronger pathways for directed referrals.
As a part of the broader University of Toronto community, DLS is bound by the University’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Excellence. We strive to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for our staff, students and our clients. We understand that a critical piece of this commitment is valuing and promoting diversity within DLS and are committed to prioritizing diversity in future hiring processes.
We understand that it is our responsibility to educate ourselves on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. We are profoundly grateful for the leadership and commitment of so many valued community partners for sharing their wisdom, knowledge, and expertise. Their voices, not ours, should be at the forefront of this conversation. We encourage you to visit their websites and support their work.