Sunday, 7 June 2020

Black Lives Matter in Montreal

While putting together a Black Lives Matter syllabus to celebrate the contribution of Black writers in Montreal, Robyn Maynard looks closely at the city's failure to confront it's own history:
Montreal is often absent from national discussions about race and anti-Blackness, which tend to centre on Toronto and Halifax. This city, home to Black persons for over four hundred years, demonstrates little official recognition of the significant historical and literary contributions of Black writers and scholars. Despite organizing efforts by Black students, including a present-day push at Concordia University, there is no Black Studies program in Montreal, and less than one percent of full-time faculty at the two English universities are Black. Even the basics of Black Montreal history—such as slavery—are still absent or minimized in most school curriculums.

As in other Canadian cities, Black communities in Montreal have been subject to centuries of structural violence, including two centuries of enslavement, ongoing targeting by police, over-incarceration, and over-representation in child apprehensions by welfare agencies. These realities are inextricable from Black visions of past, present, and future Montreal, and continue to inform both non-fiction and creative writing.

No comments: