In 2020, CSSE shared, “As a collective of educational research associations, CSSE is committed to supporting scholarly work that uncovers, names and seeks to redress systemic racism, injustice and colonialist/paternalistic practices in educational and community settings across Canada. CSSE aligns itself in solidarity with those who are standing up for equality, justice and an end to systemic racism in Canada. We acknowledge, that for many people of Black, Indigenous, and Asian heritages, and for so many others, overt and covert forms racism and discrimination are experienced on a daily basis. We must work harder to actively challenge racism in all its forms. We pledge to encourage, support and stand alongside our members who engage in research and courageous practices that will lead to the necessary deep-seated changes for a more just and equitable society for all.” We also committed to engaging in concrete action to combat injustice. The stance remains the same.
We were saddened to learn of the Black Canadian Studies Association’s (BCSA) departure from this Congress 2021, and respectfully acknowledge the reasons for their position. We are thankful for the work of our members and constituent associations, including the Canadian Association for the Study of Indigenous Education (CASIE), who have voiced their concerns and support for BCSA. We echo, and as CSSE leaders, we value and recognize the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and decolonization, and are committed to supporting Indigenous and Black graduate students. We must work now and continue our efforts to combat anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and colonialism in all facets of our mandate.
We also recognize the many challenging implications of the pandemic – financial, emotional, physical and spiritual – and have been sensitive and responsive to these realities in ways that we hope support diverse participation at CSSE, while maintaining the quality of service and networking opportunities. As part of the larger move to a virtual format for the 2021 conference, the Federation has reduced this year’s Congress registration fees by approximately 25% for all delegates. The CSSE Board of Directors has also reduced CSSE’s registration fees by 25% for regular and retired members and by 50% for student and unwaged members.
Respectful inclusion, transparency, safety, and constructive dialogue are essential to addressing systemic and structural issues and challenges that determine engagement, attendance, and interactions at CSSE gatherings. We are encouraged to see the steps that the Federation has taken to meet the concerns posed by BCSA and others and the dialogue that has taken place between the Federation and these associations to establish good relations. Yet, the need to break down barriers and inequalities extends beyond CSSE and the Federation into every aspect of society.
CSSE will commit to:
- matching the Federation’s initiative to waive conference fees to Black and Indigenous students
- hosting a panel and townhall on making meaningful change, addressing systemic barriers, and guiding the future of CSSE
- encouraging fierce and difficult dialogue around combatting anti-Black racism and advancing decolonization efforts in education in Canada through our program
Tremendous possibility resides in challenging moments. We take hope in believing we have the opportunity to emerge as an even stronger collective.
Jacqueline Ottmann (Saulteaux/Anishinaabe)