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Statement from Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity in solidarity with U of T’s Black community members

The events occurring in our city, the US and around the world are horrific and show that anti-Black racism as well as other forms of racism continue to be destructive, harmful and divisive. These events demonstrate the need for us to come together and combat the intersectional structural inequality that persists in our society. I join the President in expressing my concerns.

Anti-Black racism exists and is a reality that Black communities navigate daily. We acknowledge the pain that has been felt over the past few months due to the recent acts of racial violence and as a community we recognize the need for sustained learning and action to fight racial discrimination. A recognition of racism is insufficient. Racism is not an issue for racialized communities to fight; it impacts everyone and it is our collective responsibility to purposefully work to create inclusive spaces that actively support our colleagues.

I want to thank our Equity and HR offices, Black Faculty Working Group, Connections and Conversations, the Black Students Association and the many equity champions at U of T for their essential work on exceptionally difficult issues, for creating an awareness of racism, and for building a community of support and inclusion at U of T and in our communities.

I encourage everyone to show your support for our students and colleagues who are feeling the weight of these tragedies. For our Black faculty, staff, librarians, and students, know that we are here to support you. We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone at the University of Toronto.

The Division of HR & Equity will continue to combat racism and support our community. On June 4, the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office will be hosting a community gathering where the community can come together to speak, reflect and restore. I encourage all faculty, staff, librarians, and students to join in these conversations. A list of other supports and programming will be available on the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office website.

For those who are struggling and who need support, I encourage you to contact the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Offices at UTSC and UTM so we can help connect you with the appropriate resources. As a reminder, employees also have 24/7 access to counselling and other mental-health support via our Employee & Family Assistance Program.

The difficulties of this past year highlight how far we have to go, but together, we can strive for change.