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Celebrating & Recognizing Black History Month at the University of Toronto

Each year during Black History Month, the Division of Human Resources & Equity joins the University community in recognizing and celebrating the contributions of the Black community in education, politics, science, engineering, media and the arts, amongst other fields.

We honor the contributions of current and historic members of the Black community who have paved the way through their leadership, innovation and courage to fight for our fundamental freedoms and rights. These contributions are woven within the fabric of Canadian culture.

Historically and in the present day, the Black community has fought for the fundamental freedoms and rights of all persons through their leadership, innovation and courage; the results of this fight are woven within the fabric of Canadian culture. These contributions inspire us every day to question how we can do better, and how we can continue to shape our community into a space where all members feel welcome to study, work, and engage in a free exchange of ideas.

The University’s Black History 365 committee and the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office has launched the Black History 365 Calendar to highlight events and programming across the tri-campuses to support our ongoing education and learning about the contributions of the Black community in Canada and throughout the world. Honouring Black history and expanding our cultural understanding extends beyond the month of February, and we encourage you to explore the calendar and register for as many events as possible. Many of these events align with the theme for the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024: “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.”

All levels of government around the world have identified the need for ongoing, systemic anti-racism initiatives that have a focus on addressing and eliminating anti-Black racism within our society. Anti-Black racism is identified as the “prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices”. The University of Toronto acknowledges the pervasiveness of anti-Black racism and is committed to intentional strategies that will eliminate barriers, increase access and create opportunities for the Black community.

As a community, we have an opportunity beyond this month to reflect and consciously examine our efforts, attitudes and practices to ensure we are working together to advance equitable and inclusive spaces at U of T. The knowledge of the past continues to guide and lead us in creating a better society for all. We look forward to embarking on this journey with the University of Toronto community.