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Members of the Head Table, Distinguished Guests, friends, colleagues, comrades, all, Good morning.
I am Dr. Terrence Richard Blackman, Chair of the Department of Mathematics in the School of Science, Health, and Technology at Medgar Evers College, and a proud member of the Guyanese Diaspora. Today, I stand before you as a representative of IPADA-G Guyana, the coordinating body for the activities of the International Decade for People of African Descent in Guyana.
We gather here to discuss an issue of utmost importance – recognizing and addressing systemic and structural racism. IPADA-G believes a data-driven and evidence-based approach is essential to understanding and combating racism in Guyana and calls upon this esteemed body to support data collection and monitoring capacity building in Guyana.
IPADA-G has shared credible claims of outcomes which point inexorably to systemic and structural discrimination against Afro-Guyanese in various areas. These include land Distribution and ownership, Distribution of State Assets, Provisioning of Goods and Services, Access to High-Quality Educational Opportunities, employment, healthcare, criminal justice, and housing.
Some will argue that progress has been made. However, the qualitative data show that disparities still exist, hindering the full realization of equality and social justice for all Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese in particular.
Mr. Chair, as a mathematician, I know that Data collection and monitoring are crucial in understanding the extent and impact of systemic racism. Gathering accurate and comprehensive data can identify patterns, trends, and disparities that disproportionately affect specific communities. This data serves as evidence that can drive policy changes and interventions to address the root causes of inequality.
Capacity building in data collection and monitoring is essential to ensure the data collected is reliable, valid, and relevant. This includes training government officials, researchers, and civil society organizations in data collection methods, analysis techniques, and ethical considerations. It also involves developing standardized protocols and systems for data collection and reporting.
IPADA-G believes that with robust data collection and monitoring, we can track progress, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and hold institutions accountable for addressing systemic racism. It will enable us to make informed policy decisions, allocate resources effectively, and implement targeted initiatives that address the specific needs of the Afro-Guyanese Community.
We acknowledge that addressing systemic racism requires a multi-faceted approach involving government, civil society, academia, and all sectors of society. It is a collective responsibility that necessitates collaboration, dialogue, and a commitment to social justice.
As we celebrate Guyana’s 57th anniversary of independence, let us renew our commitment to building a just and inclusive society. Let us support initiatives that promote equality, combat discrimination, and ensure that all Guyanese can fully participate in the nation’s social, economic, and political life.
We urge this esteemed body to endorse and support the call for capacity building in data collection and monitoring in Guyana. IPADA-G is committed to working with all stakeholders to dismantle systemic racism and create a society where every Guyanese can thrive, regardless of race, ethnicity, or background.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for allowing me to address this vital issue. May our collective efforts bring about positive change and a brighter future for all Guyanese.