I am writing to support Mamadou Ba, a Senegalese Portuguese citizen of Portugal, who is a Graduate Student in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice (GRSJ) at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). Mr. Ba was admitted, to our Graduate Program as an international student through a very competitive evaluation of over 220 graduate applications. As a Professor, and the longest serving faculty member in GRSJ, I am deeply troubled by the fact that Mr. Ba has had to return to Portugal on Nov 23rd, 2022 to face a defamation and injury case. I have known Mamadou Ba for almost 12 months: in April 2022, he completed my graduate course, GRSJ 501: Anti-Colonial & Feminist Qualitative Methods of Inquiry. In this course, Mamadou distinguished himself as a thoughtful, industrious, mature, and conceptually talented activist-scholar. Through his comprehensive research proposal and conference presentation, I learned that Mamadou Ba is keen to engage in ethical, ethnographic research on themes related to poverty, inequality, and economic justice with, and for, marginalized communities in Portuguese cities. It would be devastating for Mamadou, his family, and extended relations in Portugal, Vancouver, and globally, to be persecuted as an outspoken, principled, and decorated anti-Black leader. Indeed, Mr. Ba has achieved an esteemed record of efforts to advance the legal and human rights of racialized communities in Portugal. A member of SOS Racismo Portugal since the late 1990s, Mamadou Ba has faced intensified scrutiny over the past decade, with death threats from extreme right and neo-Nazi organizations. I want to add my voice to the call for justice for Mamadou Ba, who has worked tirelessly to expose structural racism, police brutality, and racial violence in Portugal.
Becki L. Ross
Professor, Department of Sociology & Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice
University of British Columbia