We, at the Women and HIV Research Program (WHRP) and WHRP’s largest project, CHIWOS, acknowledge that systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence exist in Canada and have been pervasive since the land was colonized. WHRP and CHIWOS were founded on and are grounded in anti-oppressive, social justice, and community-based frameworks. However, we recognize that academic institutions, clinicians, and researchers have perpetuated and continue to contribute to systemic racism, actively and through complacency.
Through listening to community members who have experienced these injustices, our CHIWOS team from many diverse nations came together to proactively search for ways to support Black and Indigenous communities. We have made the decision to issue a priority call for Indigenous and Black applicants for the CHIWOS Scholar Awards.
Black and Indigenous scholars experience systemic access barriers, sustained institutional racism, and often do not receive the same academic recognition or reward as their white peers. We understand the value of community-led and community-engaged initiatives and the importance of supporting individuals to pursue knowledge about their own communities as one way of challenging false beliefs and the status quo. For these reasons, we will be reserving a minimum of one CHIWOS Scholar Award for an Indigenous or Black scholar. The awardee will be asked to join WHRP and CHIWOS team members to launch a new WHRP objective aimed at changing policy and programming that currently creates and contributes to racial inequities. Additionally, all of CHIWOS’ future award recipients will be required to complete anti-oppression training before completion of their award.
We, at WHRP and CHIWOS, acknowledge that being silent is to be complicit and that we must be actively involved in anti-racism and anti-oppression efforts to effect change. We are issuing this priority call for the CHIWOS Scholar Awards as one first, small step in addressing racism against Black and Indigenous people, and white supremacy, while we continue to reflect, plan, and commit to further efforts. We look forward to sharing our future actionable items and intend for this ongoing, transparent process to serve as an accountability measure for sustained change within and beyond our team.
Please find this statement and updated application Guidelines attached and on the CHIWOS website.
More information may be obtained by sending an email to Ms. Angela Underhill, the Scholarship Coordinator, [email protected].