blog

Addressing the harm

The Stop’s mission is to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality.

None of these goals can be met without first acknowledging how systemic racism hinders all three—and then taking proactive action to address and dismantle it.

Despite our stated commitment to anti-racism, we haven’t delivered. Over the past two weeks, former staff at The Stop Community Food Centre have shared their experiences of anti-Black racism and systemic oppression at the organization.

Their experiences make clear that when we have brought racialized staff into our spaces, we haven’t always adequately supported them. We’ve developed a multi-year anti-racism/anti-oppression plan, but haven’t prioritized it sufficiently. And when we’ve faced difficult choices, we’ve focused on service delivery and not on our human resources. We acknowledge how these decisions have caused harm.

During the past week, leadership and staff at The Stop have focused our attention inward: we’ve connected directly with each other, acknowledged the impact of recent events, and identified what needs to change immediately and in the longer term.

We have heard and considered what people are sharing with us—among them, that The Stop needs more sustainable programming for Black and Indigenous communities, that we must provide stronger internal support and resources for our Black, Indigenous, and racialized staff, and that our Board of Directors should be more representative of the community we serve. Addressing these issues is an immediate priority for us, and we’ve shared our next steps with you here.

We’ve also met with our Board of Directors to directly address the concerns surrounding anti-Black racism, and to determine how we move forward while slowly building trust and confidence with staff, volunteers, and the broader community. We remain deeply committed to this work.

We’ve revisited the anti-racism/anti-oppression plan, and prioritized the actions that we can take right now to support and centre Black, Indigenous, and racialized staff—while also reviewing the longer-term actions in light of what has been shared with us.

This plan is just a starting point, and it will require ongoing resources and adjustments to better support our staff and community.

We know this work is not short-term. We are in it for the long haul. And we acknowledge that this work can not be done in isolation, and we commit to being transparent and accountable as we move forward.

We also acknowledge that we should not be the only ones speaking. Our future communications will centre the voices of Stop staff and volunteers who continue to serve our community and hold us accountable.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and our Board of Directors should you have any questions.

 

Leigh Godbold, Winsome Miller, and Francisco Vidal
Senior Management Team
The Stop Community Food Centre