On Saturday, May 14, another tragedy struck the Black community with a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, claiming the lives of 10 innocent people. While this horrific act took place in the United States, we recognize that racism persists in our own country and city, and that these tragic incidents can be triggering and re-traumatizing, particularly for our Black and racialized colleagues.
These repeated acts of hatred are profoundly disturbing, and we must continue to stand in solidarity to denounce all forms of racism, anti-Black racism and violence. We all have a role to play in the fight against racism regardless of our ethnicity or race. As allies, we cannot be complacent; we must continue to listen, show support and speak out against systemic and individual experiences of racism to create a safer and more inclusive community for all.
We acknowledge the impact of this tragedy on our Black employees and the Black community we serve. We want to remind you that you are not alone and encourage you to access the supports that are available to you:
- The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is 100 per cent confidential and available 24/7 by phone: 1-844-880-9142, TTY: 1-877-338-0275, the My EAP app or at www.workhealthlife.com. If you are a member of the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) community, you can request to be matched with a BIPOC clinician.
- You also have access to other community-based mental health supports, including the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, available 24/7 by phone at (613) 238-3311 within Ottawa. In addition, Counselling Connect provides free, quick access to phone or video counselling for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Counselling Connect also includes counselling options for people who identify as African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) and LGBT2SQ+.
- The Walk-in Counselling Clinic provides virtual, confidential, single-session counselling services through multiple agencies on a first-come, first-served basis in English, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish and Somali. There is also a specific ACB clinic for members of the African, Caribbean and Black communities and support for people who identify as LGBTQ2S+. The sessions are free to all members of the community with no restrictions based on age or location/address, and there’s no need for an appointment.
- Additional mental health resources for ACB community – African, Caribbean, Black (ACB) Mental Health and Substance Use Resource List
- If you are in distress, call the EFAP crisis line 1-844-880-9142 and press 2 for emergency/crisis services or the Ottawa Mental Health Crisis Line (613) 722-6914.
The City is committed to addressing systemic racism both within the organization and the broader community, and we stand in solidarity with everyone who continues to be affected by these displays of racism, hate and violence.