Province decides to study systemic racism against Black people in New Brunswick

·2 min read
A Black Lives Matter rally in Saint John on June 14, 2020. (Julia Wright, CBC - image credit)
A Black Lives Matter rally in Saint John on June 14, 2020. (Julia Wright, CBC - image credit)

New research is set to be done on how systemic racism affects members of New Brunswick's Black community.

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour says it will spend about $85,000 to create a team of researchers, including members of the New Brunswick Community College, the president of Black Lives Matter New Brunswick and two professionals.

The study will focus on the key indicators of systemic racism and the barriers it creates for Black people and will look at best practices for alleviating it.

Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Trevor Holder says the government accepts that systemic racism in New Brunswick needs to be addressed.
Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Trevor Holder says the government accepts that systemic racism in New Brunswick needs to be addressed.(Radio-Canada)

"We know that systemic racism in New Brunswick is a significant issue and our government is committed to addressing it," Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder said in the release.

"We are thrilled to support this project because partnerships such as this one will be critical in dismantling all forms of racism and making New Brunswick a more inclusive and attractive place to live."

The funding follows a year of much of North America reckoning with questions about racial inequality after George Floyd, a Black man, died while being arrested by Minneapolis police last May.

His death sparked protests across the United States and Canada to demand an end to racial discrimination and violence toward Black and other people of colour.

Matthew Martin, president and CEO of Black Lives Matter New Brunswick, says the research is important in uncovering any outcomes that indicate systemic racism towards the province's Black community.
Matthew Martin, president and CEO of Black Lives Matter New Brunswick, says the research is important in uncovering any outcomes that indicate systemic racism towards the province's Black community.(Submitted by Matthew Martin)

"It's really the first step in the right direction," said Matthew Martin, president and CEO of Black Lives Matter New Brunswick.

Martin said the research is important because little work has been done so far in studying how systemic racism affects members of the Black community in the province.

"There's a lot we can look at; employment rates, retention rates, dismissal rates just in employment alone.

"We can take a look at our health outcomes for Black community members. ... Are we getting adequate medical attention when necessary? Are our educational outcomes the same as those of our white classmates? There's really a lot of data we can look at to see if it's on par with everybody else in regards to racialized communities or is it, you know, lacking?"

According to the news release, a final report and recommendations are expected to be completed this fall.

Martin said he looks forward to working with the research team and is confident the recommendations will be followed by government agencies.

"From every organization I've spoken with in regards to health and education, justice and social development, they are very [much] looking forward to these outcomes and being able to implement them and to begin dismantling systemic racism."