CBC Alberta hosts forum on systemic racism: We Need To Talk

CBC hosts Sandra Batson and Tanara McLean held a free, public forum discussion on Thursday, June 25, to shine a light on systemic racism in Alberta, through the stories of people who have experienced it firsthand.

Event was held Thursday online at, Facebook, CBC Gem and CBC Television

How does systemic racism affect people of colour in Alberta? What can we do to address that? These are some of the topics CBC Alberta will explore in a moderated panel discussion on June 25, guided by voices of Black and Indigenous individuals. (CBC)

CBC hosts Sandra Batson and Tanara McLean held a free, public forum discussion on Thursday, June 25, to shine a light on systemic racism in Alberta, through the stories of people who have experienced it firsthand.

We Need to Talk was an opportunity to hear from individuals with a real and personal understanding of how systemic racism operates in Alberta, with an aim to put forward potential solutions, concrete actions and examples of success.

This live event has now concluded. Watch a replay of We Need to Talk here:

Why now?

Following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis on May 25, communities across the globe began to protest in the streets, calling for justice and change.

In Alberta's cities and rural towns, thousands have taken up the call, participating in some of the largest marches in recent memory to spotlight anti-Black injustices within the province itself. 

Event details:


  • Adora Nwofor, Calgary comedian and activist.
  • David Este, professor of social work, University of Calgary.
  • Ryan Holtz, Edmonton podcaster and marketing expert.
  • Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse, executive director of Natamoowin, Yellowhead Indigenous Education Foundation.
  • Spirit River Striped Wolf, president of Mount Royal University students association.

With special performances from:

  • Alanna Bluebird-Onespot, poet, Tsuut'ina Nation.
  • Andrew Parker, Edmonton teacher.

Racial inequality in Alberta, by the numbers

Here's what data from Statistics Canada shows about gaps in wages, employment and incarcerate rates for Black and Indigenous groups compared with the rest of the population.


Thousands of Calgarians crossed the 10th Street bridge on June 19 as part of the YYC Justice for All Victims of Police Brutality protest. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)

Miranda Jimmy on reclaiming her Cree identity after losing it to systemic racism

Since high school, Miranda Jimmy has been on a journey to reclaim her Indigenous identity and help others do the same.


Miranda Jimmy is the co-founder of RISE (Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton). (Leroy Schulz)

I Have A Dream 2020: Andrew Parker reflects on speech he gave at Edmonton anti-racism rally

When Andrew Parker, an Edmonton teacher, was asked to make a speech at an anti-racism rally on June 5, he was given one day to sum up his take on the racism he has experienced over 37 years.


Andrew Parker, an Edmonton school teacher, reflects on a speech he made at an anti-racism rally at the Alberta Legislature in front of more than 10,000 people. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Bren Little Light's biggest pet peeve: Losing Indigenous relations jobs to non-Indigenous men

Bren Little Light says she has applied to more than 100 jobs in the oil and gas sector, landing multiple first and second interviews, only to lose out to non-Indigenous men for the roles of Indigenous relations liaison. 


Bren Little Light, a Sixties Scoop survivor who runs her own consultancy firm, shares her experiences with systemic racism. (Submitted by Bren Little Light)

Calgary grad speaks out against racism through powerful art collection

Anthony Russell, a 2020 graduate from Bishop O'Byrne High School, has created an anti-racism-inspired art collection called Fear of the Unknown that is turning heads in the local art world and in the Black Lives Matter movement.


Anthony Russell, an 18-year-old artist and Bishop O'Byrne 2020 graduate, has an exhibit at Arts Commons called Fear of the Unknown. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Tsuut'ina spoken word artist performs poem on racism and identity

Alanna Bluebird-Onespot is a spoken word artist from the Tsuut'ina First Nation.
This video, A Generation, was shot by Rebecca Kelly and edited by Erin Callihoo for CBC.


Alanna Bluebird-Onespot presents her original piece: A Generation (Rebecca Kelly/CBC)

2 Edmonton teachers create Black Teachers' Association of Alberta

Overcome with pride and enthusiasm the day after a massive anti-racism rally this month, two Edmonton teachers wanted to find a way to do more for Black teachers and students in the province.


Sarah Adomako-Ansah is a Grade 6 teacher for Edmonton Catholic Schools. (Sarah Adomako-Ansah)