Statement on University of Waterloo Campus Hate-Motivated Attack

Statement on University of Waterloo Campus Hate-Motivated Attack from Dawn Thomas Aa ap waa iik, Vice President, Indigenous Health and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Island Health

It is with a heavy heart that I acknowledge the attack on a professor and two students that took place at the University of Waterloo campus last week. Learning that these stabbings were targeted and motivated by hate is a solemn reminder that there are still people who feel emboldened to demonstrate identity-based hatred through words, actions and violence. Sadly this is not unprecedented, as these recent events echo the gender-based attack at the École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. 
Island Health stands with the victims, their families, the University of Waterloo, other university communities, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and all who have been affected by this demonstration of hate. Given the recent and ongoing escalation of attacks on trans, queer and gender-diverse people, the sad reality is that for many of our staff, patients, clients and community members, words or rhetoric against gender identity can have real, tangible impacts for people from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community — especially front line, visibly queer health care staff. To be clear, hate has no place in Island Health. 

At Island Health we are striving to create a workplace that is safe, inclusive and free of discrimination, harassment and violence. We see you, we hear you and we are here for you. We know that hate exists in our communities, and we know there is much work to be done. This work is critical, and we are taking action. 

While recent anti-2SLGBTQIA+ actions are truly disturbing, they reinforce the need to continue to fight to retain and expand the human rights of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. Everyone deserves physical and psychological safety, and the freedom to live, learn and work in environments free from harassment, discrimination and violence. I am grateful to be a part of an organization that is working so hard to make that a reality