ASDA’s Statement on Senator Percy Downe’s Recent Comments
The Atlantic Student Development Alliance (ASDA) expresses our unwavering support for the BIPOC USHR statement dated February 9th, 2024, concerning the racist comments made by Senator Percy Downe. The sentiments expressed by Senator Downe perpetuate harmful stereotypes and biases that contribute to the violence and harm faced by international students, graduates and, most importantly, the people of Gaza who are currently experiencing genocide.
Senator Downe’s remarks, as outlined in the BIPOC USHR’s detailed account, are not just problematic; they are a clear manifestation of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. His targeting of international students, particularly those from marginalized and racialized backgrounds, and his unfounded association of them with criminality and terrorism, is unacceptable. The attempt to paint a broad stroke of suspicion over entire communities based on the actions of a minuscule few is not only statistically flawed but also ignorant, lazy and dangerous.
We stand with BIPOC USHR in their call for immediate action against such harmful rhetoric and behavior. Senator Downe’s resignation and issuance of a detailed public apology are necessary first steps towards accountability. Moreover, it is imperative for Senator Downe to undertake a thorough self-education on the issues of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. Senator Down also needs to educate himself on the Canadian immigration systems and the Canadian Boarder Service procedures to understand the gravity of his statements and to ensure that such discriminatory views are not perpetuated further.
The use of fearmongering and racial profiling as tools to alienate and demonize communities, especially under the guise of national security, has a long and dark history. It is crucial to recognize that the safety and security of a nation are not built on the exclusion and marginalization of its people or another. True security comes from mutual respect, trust and understanding.
The ongoing genocide in Gaza and the plight of the Palestinian people require our solidarity and understanding, not further vilification. The language of “terrorism” should not be carelessly applied to entire populations, especially when it serves to dehumanize and justify oppression. We must strive to understand the complex histories and their context rather than resorting to simplistic and harmful assumptions and narratives.
ASDA commits to standing against racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and all forms of discrimination. We pledge to support initiatives and actions that promote understanding, equity, and justice for all communities. We call on others to join us in this commitment and to take concrete steps towards building a more inclusive and respectful society.
BIPOC USHR has provided a Google form on their Linktree for individuals and organizations wanting to sign on.
We encourage you to sign on to support BIPOC USHR’s demands.