ETFO statement on Buffalo shooting, rise of extreme white supremacist groups
May 17, 2022
Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this weekend’s shooting in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people lost their lives to racially motivated violent extremism. Most of the victims were Black, as the tragedy took place in a predominantly Black neighbourhood, chosen specifically by the white suspect because of its demographics. This act underscores the disturbing increase of anti-Black racism in the United States and Canada, and represents the worst form of racist violence.
Our sincere condolences go to the families, colleagues and friends who lost loved ones. We acknowledge the hurt and trauma this has caused members of the Black community in New York and around the world. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) stands in solidarity with the Black community during this tragic time.
How many lost lives will it take before governments truly confront racism and the alarming rise in extreme white supremacist groups? The tragedy in Buffalo is symptomatic of the rise of these movements, and theories like the “great replacement” that falsely and dangerously share a plot to diminish the influence of white people through non-white immigration. These conspiracy theories are grounded in white nationalism with the goal of maintaining white power and privilege. They must be confronted and stopped by all levels of government.
To say this kind of racial violence would never happen in Canada is to dismiss the legacy and ongoing prevalence of anti-Black racism in colonial systems, institutions, and society in our country. Canada is not immune, and we’ve seen evidence of white nationalism and anti-Black racism at recent protests that included individuals flying Confederate flags and Canadian flags covered in Nazi symbolism.
ETFO is deeply concerned about the increasing levels of anti-Black hate and violence. Necessary work must be done by governments, institutions, and individuals to dismantle racism and white supremacy. In doing so, we free society from the burden of colonialism and its effects and ensure freedom and peace, in the form of equity and social justice, which is the legal and moral right of every Black youth and adult.
ETFO will continue to lobby the government to address systemic oppression within public education. Our advocacy efforts will demand accountability to ensure all forms of racism and discrimination are dismantled. We also call on ETFO members and the public to denounce all forms of racism and oppression, and to take action within schools and communities. We must continue to raise awareness, confront and push for action to eliminate all forms of racism and violence.
Resources to address anti-Black racism and other forms of oppression are available in the “Social Justice” section of etfo.ca.