Racial Justice position statement

The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) recognizes the dignity and worth of every person and is committed to creating an environment that is safe, accessible, inclusive and respectful of members, staff and the public. The AOM denounces racism and white supremacy in all its forms. We recognize the profound value of a racially diverse, decolonized and anti-racist midwifery sector, and acknowledge that the voices and experiences of Indigenous, Black and racialized members have historically been silenced in our profession. This silencing can retraumatize Indigenous, Black and racialized members and contribute to implicit and explicit dynamics that affect quality of life, create burnout and impact safety. 

The AOM is actively working towards achieving racial justice in midwifery by addressing and dismantling both the systemic and interpersonal racism present in our profession. We recognize that dismantling systemic racism is hard work. It requires unlearning, genuine listening, courage and vulnerability to unpack privileges, and leveling the balance of power to close existing equity gaps.

The AOM is committed to prioritizing actions that align with our strategic goals and calls on members to actively work towards racial justice in midwifery through:

  • creating decolonized processes that uphold Indigenous sovereignty and reviewing and restructuring existing policies that perpetuate racism and are barriers to Indigenous sovereignty

  • listening to the concerns and needs of members experiencing interpersonal and systemic racism including anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism and anti-Muslim hate, and responding through advocacy, social action, program implementation and other organizational initiatives

  • building individual, organizational and membership-wide knowledge of the manifestations and impacts of systemic and interpersonal racism, including anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism and white supremacy on marginalized and historically oppressed communities

  • taking initiative and responsibility for individual learning while respectfully seeking guidance and leadership from Indigenous, Black and racialized people; recognizing that Indigenous, Black and racialized people are not responsible for educating others on racism 

  • creating a profession where Indigenous, Black and racialized members, including internationally trained, religious minority groups, 2SLGBTQI+, Francophone, those with disabilities and other intersectionalities, are valued, respected and equitably represented in the profession

  • removing barriers and increasing leadership opportunities for Indigenous, Black and racialized midwives

  • exploring the ways in which colonization and systemic racism has compromised access to or quality of care for Indigenous, Black and racialized birthing communities

  • working collectively to condemn racism in its varying forms and continually striving towards transformative change and accountability

  • shifting the focus from the intent of comments, actions or policies to the impacts of such practices on Indigenous, Black and racialized communities

  • calling on members to centre marginalized voices and to identify and address implicit biases, racist behaviours, policies and norms that may have harmful impacts on Indigenous, Black and racialized midwives and their communities

  • committing to move beyond being an ally to being an accomplice by actively working towards racial justice

Resources:

  1. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports

  2. Indigenous Cultural Safety

  3. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position statement

  4. Black Lives Matter—confronting anti-Black racism


Approved by the AOM Board: June 2021