With the recognition that we reside on traditional, unceded Mi’kmaq territory and that we are people of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1776, we work in ways that are anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive.
BIPOC USHR, which stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour United for Strength, Home, Relationship, is a PEI-based not-for-profit organization, providing support and advocacy to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) folks living on Prince Edward Island. Our aim is to serve BIPOC communities on PEI in ways that will enable them to thrive, not just survive.
As BIPOC USHR we work to support and advocate for Black and People of Colour communities on PEI. We recognize that the Mi’kmaq nation has established support and advocacy systems which we honour and so we aim to work in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq upon whose land we reside.
On March 15th, 2019 a small group of us met. The gathering was initiated by Sobia Ali-Faisal and Dawne Knockwood, hoping to create a solidarity group among BIPOC folks on the UPEI campus. It was a fateful day as it was the same day as the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand. As the deadly and tragic aftermath of white supremacist hate blasted all over the news, we met to build strength, community, and safety.
From that small group, we became BIPOC USHR. In subsequent meetings Yolanda Hood suggested having an umbrella as our logo, to demonstrate our vision of encompassing everyone, and Omeasoo Wahpāsiw developed our name – United for Strength, Home, Relationship. Eventually, our membership increased to include people from all over PEI and we became a province-wide community organization.
We quietly worked away at developing our identity, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic, in the early spring of 2020, that we really hit our stride. At that time we realized that many international students were being left out of government support and so we decided to hold a fundraiser to help those who were falling through the cracks.
Sobia, Omeasoo, and Danté Bazard worked on the by-laws, which helped us attain not-for-profit status on January 21, 2021. In the summer of 2021 we were able to secure government support to hire staff and rent an office, and on October 1st, 2021 we moved into our first office and current location.
We envision the creation, expansion, and nurturing of braver spaces across Epekwitk in which BIPOC communities will be engaged, supported, and their voices amplified and heard.
BIPOC USHR aims to bring together and serve BIPOC communities on PEI in ways that build solidarity and help them thrive, specifically through community building, intersectional justice education and advocacy, programming, and supportive practices to form stronger and more resilient communities.
Our Values and Philosophy
BIPOC USHR is based on the values of compassion, care, cooperation, and collectivism, along with anti-racism and anti-colonialism as we work toward social justice for BIPOC communities on PEI.
We reject racism/white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, Islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-Asian racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, ableism, casteism, colourism/shadeism and all forms of oppression.
BIPOC USHR recognizes intertwined systems of capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy that actively work to undermine the overall wellbeing and achievements of BIPOC communities. In this recognition, BIPOC USHR seeks solidarity amongst BIPOC communities and acknowledges the important differences in BIPOC experiences of these destructive systems. BIPOC USHR centers their shared experience on Epekwitk as our primary relationship of belonging and union. We work to share and comprehend the Treaty and place-specific nature of our being on this territory, as well as the systems and histories that have shaped this land we find ourselves on.