Registrar’s Message: Black Lives Matter
The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia stands against racism in solidarity with the Black Community.
The past few weeks have forced us all to take a hard look at ourselves, our workplaces, our organizations, and our society. Prompting us to recognize the internal prejudices that we may not realize we hold. To ask ourselves how we may unknowingly be contributing to the systemic racism present in North America. And to acknowledge that we all have a responsibility to stand against the everyday transgressions faced by Black People.
Our hearts were heavy as we watched Black Communities and allies, across the US and Canada, endure the pain caused by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others, at the hands of police brutality and a culture of systemic racism and violence.
The massive outpour of global support that we are witnessing, and indeed the emotions and reactions here in British Columbia, have caused me to reflect on the College’s role, as a regulator, in supporting Black People in British Columbia. Which, in turn, has caused me to realize how much more we all still have to learn in order to meaningfully address this issue, and affect real, tangible change within our society and our communities.
It is a common and unfortunate misconception that BC, and Canada are somehow exempt from the racism, discrimination and stigma faced by our neighbours to the south. This misconception, I believe, is at the core of what we need to change as stewards of public health and safety.
We can and we must do more.
Therefore, speaking on behalf of the College, I hereby pledge our commitment to developing a plan to guide our organization in raising awareness of, and combatting, the racism faced by Black People in BC. Black Lives Matter.
I also recognize the discrimination faced by our Indigenous and Asian Communities, and People of Colour, and want to re-assure members of those communities that we also need to address the injustices and inequalities you face. As a Canadian of Japanese descent growing up in Vancouver, I am well aware that this racism does exist here. And though I have not endured the same level of structural discrimination faced by Black and Indigenous Canadians, my experiences serve as a constant reminder of the everyday impacts of racism and discrimination, and the need for systemic change.
To that end, I’ve established a Working Group within the College, to help lead this change and identify ways that we, as both an organization and regulator, can take action and reinforce the fact that Black Lives Matter, and that racism, in any form, has no place in our health system.
While there is still much work to be done, at this time, I’d like to call on all of BC’s pharmacy professionals to step up and show your solidarity and support. To listen. To learn. To share resources and educate your friends, family and colleagues.
The most important thing we can do as health professionals is show our country’s Black Communities that they don’t have to fight this battle alone.
I’d also like to respectfully invite our Black Communities, and all British Columbians, to share any stories you have of discrimination and injustice within our health system, so that we can listen and learn about the unique struggles you face. Your input, as always, is our most vital resource.
Over the next few weeks, I will be working closely with our Working Group to discuss and develop a plan of action, as well as to create and share resources with the public and pharmacy professionals. Please stay tuned.
Bob Nakagawa, B.Sc.(Pharm.), ACPR, FCSHP, RPh
Registrar and CEO
College of Pharmacists of British Columbia