In solidarity with the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA), the BSC-SbC Council has voted for the BSC-SbC to withdraw from Congress 2021.
The BSC-SbC’s resolve to be a supportive and welcoming Society for our Black colleagues is steadfast. That support extends to our colleagues in other associations who have not had their concerns about systemic inequities addressed in a caring and timely manner. The BCSA outlined their concerns on 9 Feb. 2021 in their BCSA Statement Regarding 2021 Congress. The Federation responded in a news release on 11 Feb. 2021. The BCSA then issued a follow-up statement on 20 Feb. 2021.
We are disappointed in the Federation’s lack of progress to accommodate the BCSA’s reasonable requests until after the Association had withdrawn from Congress. We support the BCSA’s decision to withdraw from Congress. It is for similar reasons the Council feels that the BSC-SbC cannot fully discuss “Relations of the Book,” a theme that invites serious conversations about Canada’s history of anti-Blackness and anti-Indigeneity, in the context of Congress 2021. Therefore, we are withdrawing from Congress 2021.
The BSC-SbC Council urges the Federation to implement the changes necessary to provide a safe, accessible, and supportive learning and sharing environment for all. This includes, but is not limited to, addressing the BCSA’s initial request to host a Congress whose theme centers around anti-Black racism and to ensure support for the attendance of Black and Indigenous scholars. While we are withdrawing from Congress 2021 in solidarity with BCSA, the BSC-SbC is committed to retaining our membership in the Federation and working to implement change from within. It is our hope that our withdrawal from this year’s conference will reinforce to the Federation that it must be accountable for its lack of action, just as we engage in our own self-accountability work for the betterment of our organization and for society as a whole.
The BSC-SbC is committed to providing you with an opportunity to meet online and to share your research by mounting an independent online conference. Our programme is in the process of being developed and details will be announced in a few weeks.
Feb. 25, 2021