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Statement from the President and CEO: My personal commitment to be accountable for an anti-racist CMHR

June 8, 2020 – In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, people around the world have been taking action to call for an end to police violence and systemic racism. The movement for racial justice in the United States and in Canada stretches back hundreds of years but, too often, voices breaking the silence on racism are marginalized, ignored or dismissed.

As an institution dedicated to human rights, the Museum seeks to amplify those voices. But it is also the Museum’s responsibility to listen when issues are raised about its own practices and take action to address them.

Over the past two days, some current and former employees have posted comments on social media about their experiences with racism at the Museum. I hold myself accountable for fostering a climate of anti-racism at the Museum through all of our work. Starting immediately, the Museum will reach out in a number of ways to staff and volunteers who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of colour to listen to their experiences working at the Museum and their concerns about its systems and policies. This is a necessary first step and will be followed by an action plan.

I acknowledge it is not enough for the Museum to make statements opposing racism. We must identify shortcomings and blind spots, both within ourselves as individuals and within the Museum, and take concrete steps to improve. That work will not happen overnight, nor will it ever be complete. It is a practice that we must adopt in every aspect of our work.

I am grateful to those who have invested their energy to hold us accountable. I look forward to providing updates on the necessary steps the Museum is taking in the weeks and months ahead. 

John Young,

CMHR President and CEO