Statement from the Black Law Students Association of Canada

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Shoulders on Which We Stand.

We, the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada (BLSAC) acknowledge that Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP published an advertisement in the Orbiter Dicta newspaper that was viewed by some students as culturally insensitive. The ad has been retracted with an apology.
Slavery is relevant in discussions of social justice lawyering and access to justice. Poverty, low/under employment and high incarceration rates, coupled with media misrepresentations of Black, Aboriginal, and other marginalized peoples are the continuing legacy of slavery and oppression. Experience has taught us that ignorance often leads to the trivialization and further marginalization of oppressed peoples’ histories.

Davies has been a sponsor of our national conference for several years. We commend the firm for promptly addressing the issue by removing the ad and apologizing to the offended parties. By doing so, it reaffirmed its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Further, Davies demonstrated that when dealing with cultural sensitivity issues, of most importance is not the unfortunate occurrence, but how the matter is handled after the issue is pointed out.
We hope that Davies and our other partners will seize this opportunity to work with student organizations such as BLSAC, to promote diversity, inclusion and greater cross-cultural understandings.
Designed by Rachel Gold.