Like all Canadians, we are horrified by numerous reports of anti-black racism in recent days. Hearing so many stories from the black community has opened our eyes to what we take for granted, especially leading up to International Trails Day.
The idea that a person might be afraid to walk in nature – simply because of the colour of their skin, or who they could encounter – is unimaginable to some of us. But we realize that it is a terrible reality for many Canadians.
We acknowledge that in a country as diverse as Canada, we are not free of the kind of systemic racism that creates unfair barriers to our Indigenous communities and people of colour. Either through our actions or inactions, all of us have allowed this racism to exist. Now, it is up to us to dismantle it.
As an organization and an entity that connects all the provinces and territories of Canada, it is Trans Canada Trail’s duty to be a leader in ensuring the safe and equal access to trails for all. We also recognize that we can always do more, can always go further and that we do not have all the answers.
TCT is an organization that cares. But caring is not enough. We are having necessary uncomfortable conversations, taking a hard look at our efforts to make The Great Trail a more inclusive place, examining how we can add inclusion requirements to our programs, and growing our knowledge of minority-specific issues and sharing them with our community. We will also be ensuring this work is reflected in our conversations with all levels of government.
We will also be reaching out to members of our community who are affected by racism, and will be giving them our platform to share their experiences and promote racial equality.
We have a lot of learning ahead of us. Like many of you, we will be nervous about “getting the words right” from time to time, and we know this work will not be completed overnight. But we can all agree that it is a journey that we all need to take.
We pledge to report back on our work in the coming weeks and months. If you wish to learn more or contribute to helping TCT be a voice for racial equality, reach out anytime.