Sunday, October 25, 2020
ADVT 
National

Report finds systemic racism at embattled museum

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 05 Aug, 2020
  • Report finds systemic racism at embattled museum

Leadership at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is apologizing after an independent report found employees experienced systemic racism and other mistreatment while working at the Winnipeg institution.

"I apologize that it took a public crisis for the organization to seriously reflect on the issues of systemic racism, homophobia and other forms of oppression," said Pauline Rafferty, the museum's board chair and interim CEO, in a news release Wednesday.

The third-party report reviewed allegations of racism, homophobia and censorship by current and former employees. The museum closed Wednesday and Thursday to give staff an opportunity to review the report.

After the museum posted images of a Justice for Black Lives rally in June, stories from employees were posted online by a group called CMHR Stop Lying. Current and former employees responded that it was hypocritical of the museum to bring up the Black Lives rally because of racism they faced at work.

Employees also wrote about having to censor displays about LGBTQ history at the request of some school groups who visited the museum.

The stories led to the resignation of former CEO John Young, the formation of a diversity and inclusion committee and the external review.

Winnipeg lawyer Laurelle Harris conducted the review.

Her report found racism is pervasive and systemic at the museum in its employment practices, policies and in the actions of employees. The report said the racism had a negative physical, emotional and financial impact on employees who are Black, Indigenous and other people of colour. Harris also found instances of sexism and homophobia.

The report said staff who worked directly with the public were extremely diverse. But the vast majority of management was white and heterosexual and that created a "cultural schism," with upper level managers less attuned to the impact of race, sex and gender identity.

Many staff members reported that "there was a tendency on the part of management to treat the museum as a profit-oriented corporation having its primary focus on revenue generation to the exclusion of organizational health and the fulfilment of its mandate," the report said.

It said some employees indicated Black, Indigenous and other people of colour were passed over repeatedly for promotions. There were also examples of microaggressions and differential enforcement of the museum's dress code.

There was also an issue of employees of colour facing racism from the public.

"One program interpreter described being laughed at by visitors while singing a traditional song on the hand drum," the report said. "Another visitor asked for the program interpreter's name so that she could 'pray' for her."

No action was taken when racism from visitors was reported. When issues were raised, some employees said their employment was threatened.

The report includes 44 recommendations. The museum's board is acting on some of them immediately, including a requirement for board trustees to take part in anti-racist education and screening policies for possible bias, said Rafferty.

The museum will also create a senior role focused on diversity and inclusion. And the museum's leadership will focus on hiring practices and workplace culture, she said.

"We will recommit ourselves to the values upon which the Museum was founded, of human dignity and respect, and make this a priority. How we work will be as important as the work itself."

MORE National ARTICLES

WATCH: INDIA Records World's Highest Covid19 Toll in 24 Hrs.

WATCH: INDIA Records World's Highest Covid19 Toll in 24 Hrs.

India's rising numbers of over 50,000 cases for sixth day in a row- have WHO raising concern along with the US President singling India out.

WATCH: INDIA Records World's Highest Covid19 Toll in 24 Hrs.

Chip, Joanna Gaines return to 'Fixer Upper' for new network

Chip, Joanna Gaines return to 'Fixer Upper' for new network

Chip and Joanna Gaines are returning to “Fixer Upper" as they build their new network.

Chip, Joanna Gaines return to 'Fixer Upper' for new network

Charity likely on hook for student volunteers

Charity likely on hook for student volunteers

A Halifax-based charity is expressing confusion and frustration as it looks likely to have to foot the bill for nine students that it says were hired through the federal volunteer program at the centre of the WE affair.

Charity likely on hook for student volunteers

A guide to back-to-school rules across the country

A guide to back-to-school rules across the country

Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

A guide to back-to-school rules across the country

B.C. scales up response to overdose crisis

B.C. scales up response to overdose crisis

The British Columbia government says it is accelerating its response to the overdose crisis by expanding lifesaving overdose prevention, treatment and support services.

B.C. scales up response to overdose crisis

B.C. lets private pot shops sell online

B.C. lets private pot shops sell online

The British Columbia government says new rules for private cannabis retailers will allow pot to be reserved and paid for online, but customers still have to pick up their orders in person.

B.C. lets private pot shops sell online