Sept. 23, 2020

National dialogues on anti-Black racism to pave the way for concrete action and accountability

Join the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities on Oct. 1 and 2
Malinda Smith
Malinda Smith Courtesy of Amber Bracken

On Oct. 1 and 2, universities and colleges across the country will come together for The National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities, to directly address anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in Canadian higher education. 

Presented by the University of Toronto in partnership with more than 30 post-secondaries from coast to coast, the dialogues will focus on sharing experiences and ideas, exploring and learning best practices, and contributing to the formulation and implementation of concrete actions that resolutely reject anti-Black racism. Nine sessions over two days will aim to drive meaningful, enduring Black inclusion within individual universities and colleges; the higher education sector, in general; and our communities.

“I’m very proud to see the University of Calgary champion this initiative as one of the University of Toronto’s many nation-wide partners,” says Dr. Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic).

We are committed to an equitable, diverse and inclusive campus, and this important conversation will help lead us to specific actions we can take as a community.

Over the course of two days, participants will have the opportunity to choose from nine interactive online sessions with panellists from academia and beyond to address student, faculty, and staff access and success; inclusive teaching, learning and curricula; inclusive decision-making structures; responsibilities and obligations of non-Black peers; mentorship and more. The concurrent sessions will explore the relevant issues considering the diverse and intersecting identities within the Black community.

The first day of the dialogues will focus on systemic anti-Black racism, key barriers to Black inclusion and approaches to identifying and responding to them, while the second day will focus on developing concrete actions and accountability mechanisms for structural and systemic change.

“It is not enough for post-secondaries to make statements on anti-Black racism,” says Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost (equity, diversity and inclusion), pictured above. “We must have open conversations and take concrete action in order to achieve racial equity, and see real systemic and cultural change. UCalgary has work to do, and I’m looking forward to seeing our community, including leadership, staff, students and alumni attend this important dialogue.”

The outcome of the deliberations will inform the creation of a charter of principles and commitments, which will support the implementation of the actions identified, and help to sustain an enduring culture against anti-Black racism and in support of Black inclusion at post-secondaries across Canada.

UCalgary students, faculty and staff, as well as the wider community are encouraged to attend the dialogues and share their perspectives. Registration for the event is free, and participants are encouraged to share the event information widely.

Learn more and register here.