Manitoba

CMHR will be closed Aug. 5-6 to 'receive and reflect' on systemic racism and discrimination review

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be closed August 5-6 "so staff can receive and reflect on the systemic racism and discrimination review," the museum's website says.

Two-stage review taking place after current, former employees spoke out against discrimination

CMHR will be closed Aug. 5-6 to 'receive and reflect' on a review into systemic racism and discrimination. There will be on-site counselling support available to staff when the museum is closed to the public, but also when it reopens on August 7. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be closed to the public August 5-6 "so staff can receive and reflect on the systemic racism and discrimination review," the museum's website says.

The review is being conducted after current and former CMHR employees spoke out about racism, homophobia and discrimination they experienced in the workplace, as well as sexual harassment allegations — all of which lead to the resignation of museum CEO John Young.

"The museum is closing to ensure all staff have ample opportunity to review the report during work hours with the time and space to process its findings," a CMHR spokesperson told CBC News.

Staff members will have the chance to speak with the person leading the review on August 5, and virtual and physical gatherings, including smaller group discussions, will take place during the two-day closure, the spokesperson said.

There will be on-site counselling support available to staff when the museum is closed to the public, but also when it reopens on August 7, they added.

Two-part review

The review is being done in two parts, the first of which will be released on August 5. A museum spokesperson said the report should be made available publicly later that afternoon.

Stage 1 is looking specifically at the issues raised by current and former museum employees, analyzing management's response to those concerns and reviewing policies or processes relating to the experiences shared by former and current employees.

The aim of the first part of the review is to develop ways to improve the work environment in the short-term.

Stage 2, though, will look to expand on those findings to take long-term action.

More CMHR employees and volunteers are to be interviewed, while the conduct of management, staff and volunteers — and how it contributed to system racism and discrimination in the workplace — will be analyzed.

CMHR policies and practices when it comes to things such as hiring, pay rates, retention and promotion and internal complaint resolution will also be reviewed. Decision-making processes regarding exhibition and program content will be analyzed, and opportunities where the museum can create anti-racist content to educate the public about systemic racism and oppression will be identified.

Stage 2 findings will be delivered to the CMHR's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which was created specifically to oversee the review process and implement its recommendations once completed

Laurelle Harris, a Black, Jewish, queer cisgender woman, and experienced mediator and lawyer with expertise in women's studies and black studies, was consulted to lead the review of the museum's policies, practices and culture.

Current and former museum staff and volunteers who wish to voice their experiences must contact Harris before August 15.

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