UTDRO Statement of Equity and Solidarity

June 9, 2020

The unprecedented events of 2020 have stressed our national social fabric more completely than any other event in our living memory. The majority of individuals around the world have risen magnificently to the occasion. Here at UTDRO, we take great pride in the outstanding contribution of our health care colleagues and first responders who have worked so hard to keep our healthcare system functional. Furthermore, the countless thousands of everyday heroes who have accepted anxiety, disruption, isolation and severe economic hardship to keep their families and communities safe by just staying at home. 

Sadly, we have also witnessed the worst of us, such as the emergence of calculated anti-Asian racism in Canada and abroad, with the promotion and dissemination of false information regarding the origin of COVID-19. Outrageous institutional ageism has been exposed regarding the care of our elders, and the hundreds of preventable deaths that ensued. The despicable institutional violence against Black and Indigenous people that is repeated over and over again, are only the more egregious examples.

The remarkable spontaneous and worldwide outpouring of outrage and protest over the most recent case of racialized police brutality gives us hope that positive change is possible. It also reinforces the fact that standing by silently is not an option. We must speak out forcefully, consistently and repeatedly against violence, bigotry, intolerance and injustice if we hope to live in a society that values equity, justice, and diversity.

The start of Pride Month provides the opportunity for the UTDRO community to reflect upon our own biases and behaviour toward others, and what personal steps we must take to embrace and actively respect differences, tolerance and non-violence within our own Department, and society as a whole.

UTDRO is wholly committed to promoting a Department of Radiation Oncology with a zero-tolerance policy towards homophobia, sexism and racial injustice. We are aligned with the Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Inclusion & Diversity’s Statement of Solidarity and the OMA’s anti-racism statement through which we pledge to recognize the acts of resistance and collective pain of our Black and Indigenous community members. We also encourage you to explore the Faculty of Medicine’s upcoming anti-racism discussions beginning this week, as well as the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office webpage. Together, UTDRO will continue to contribute to an academic environment, which we all proudly partake, serving as exemplary role models for our colleagues, and trainees.

Charles Catton
(Former) Director of Equity & Professionalism