Recently, this environment of respect was jeopardized as the word “NIGGER” was scratched in a bathroom stall in the Faculty of Law. This event is related to a variety of comments, memes and online conversations that have threatened the mental and emotional sanctity of racialized students, specifically Black law students, here at the Faculty of Law over this academic term. In the wake of the historic re-election of the first U.S. Black president, we are sadly reminded we do not live in a post-racial era.
We write collectively to the law school community, as well as the broader community for three reasons. First, we affirm our right to attend law schools and other institutions of higher education, places we have been traditionally denied access. We access these opportunities as equals. Second, we condemn the racist epithet scrawled onto the bathroom stall as a cowardly reflection of discrimination that many students have felt during their time in law school. Third, we avow for ourselves and for future students who will walk through these corridors of power, that we have an incontestable right to gain an education free from harassment. We assert our right to exist free from racist presumptions of assumed incompetence and the fear that our colleagues will verbally and physically assault us because we are Black students. We are human beings and we will be treated with respect.
We stand in solidarity with the Dean of the Faculty of Law, faculty members, other groups, colleagues and allies who stress the importance of respect to all peoples. We stand in solidarity with those who are harassed on a daily basis because they are different. We stand in solidarity with those from marginalized communities who are told they are not worthy to access higher education.
The Black Law Students Association of the University of Ottawa will be holding a press conference this Friday to publicly denounce racial injustice in all its forms. You will hear from a variety of brilliant student leaders and activists. Join us.
Friday November 9 2013
Time: 2:30 pm
Room: Norton Rose Classroom (FTX 302)
The Black Law Students’ Association – Ottawa Chapter