CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area) is grieving the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were recently discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the thousands of Indigenous children whose unmarked graves at residential schools have yet to be investigated, despite generations of calls to action by survivors.
We also grieve with the Muslim community at the loss of four members of the Afzaal-Salman family, who were brutally murdered in a hate crime in London, Ontario, on June 6, 2021.
Unfortunately, racism and other forms of oppression thrive in Waterloo Region and beyond. Everyone should be safe in their community, in the places where we gather, share, love, live, and work. These are the same places where CAFKA strives to fulfill its mission: to connect the public with art that is free and accessible to everyone in Waterloo Region, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, or socioeconomic status.
In June 2020, CAFKA expressed support for Waterloo Region’s Black Lives Matter movement and developed an antiracist action plan. Several projects and programs in CAFKA's 2021 biennial, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (https://cafka21.cafka.org), address white supremacy and other pertinent social issues directly and promote public conversations about it.
CAFKA stands in solidarity with local activists who are fighting racism and xenophobia, and we join ReAllocateWR (https://reallocatewr.ca) in asking Waterloo Region Police Services to stop targeting protests such as the Wilmot Anti-Racism Rally and the KW Palestine Nakba 73 car rally held in May 2021, and to rescind all fines levied against their organizers and participants.
We also call on community members to:
-support the Coalition of Muslim Women–KW (https://cmw-kw.org), which offers services for both Muslim women and the general public
-report hate crimes motivated by Islamophobia, racism, and/or xenophobia to reportinghate.ca, a CMW-KW initiative that can connect victims with restorative-justice programs and culturally sensitive counselling
-support the Woodland Cultural Centre (https://woodlandculturalcentre.ca) in Brantford, ON, whose Save the Evidence campaign helps the site (the former Mohawk Institute Residential School) fulfill its mission as an educational resource
-participate in First Peoples Group's Prime Ministers Path Engagement Community Voices Forum (https://questionnaire.simplesurvey.com/f/s.aspx?s=37327e43-df8a-4b15-a834-12626d72198c) (you do not need to be a Wilmot resident)
-donate to the London Community United Against Hate fundraiser (https://www.launchgood.com/campaign/london_community_united_against_hate)
-support InsideWaterloo (https://insidewaterloo.ca), an independent media initiative "amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous and racialized residents living in Waterloo Region"
Mental health resources:
Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) - 24 Hour crisis line: 1.866.925.4419 https://www.irsss.ca/
Waterloo Wellington Here 24/7 Addictions, Mental Health & Crisis Support - Phone: 1-844-437-3247 https://here247.ca/
Kids Help Phone, 24/7 distress line - Phone: 1.800.668.6868 https://kidshelpphone.ca
In approval, this statement is supported by:
CAFKA’s board of directors:
Rita M. Palacios
Sharl G. Smith, Board Chair
Conan Stark, Vice-Chair
Lauren Weinberg, Secretary
As well as:
Glodeane Brown, CAFKA General Manager
Shannon Muegge, CAFKA Exhibition Coordinator
Caitlin Sutherland, CAFKA Program Manager