The University of Toronto (U of T) community has organized many events and programs for Black History Month 2021.
The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) will be organizing seven virtual events throughout Black History Month in collaboration with the Black Students’ Association (BSA), African Students’ Association (ASA), Black Literature Club (BLC), and Caribbean Connections (CC).
The events will begin with an opening ceremony, titled “Red Table Talk,” on Wednesday, February 3, where an interactive discussion will take place on Black mental health. A monthlong art contest is set to begin following the opening ceremony. Students are encouraged to submit their artwork representing Black Excellence to the UTMSU.
February 4 will feature multiple conversation sessions of cross-campus dialogue on being a Black student in Canada. These cross-campus discussions will be hosted in collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Students.
In addition to the annual “Love, Sex, and Relationships” seminar on February 9, a cooking class will be organized on February 19, titled “Black to the Kitchen,” where participants can learn how to make jollof rice, a specialty dish from West Africa.
The last event in the monthlong celebrations hosted in collaboration with the UTMSU, excluding the closing ceremony on February 26, is the Black Professionals Panel on February 23. The panel will create a space for students and professionals to discuss “the Black experience in the workforce,” as stated on UTMSU’s platform.
The Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO) will also be hosting virtual events in celebration of Black History Month. The festivities will begin on February 2 with “She’s Malcolm X!” This seminar will explore the impact of Black Muslim women in history and the future. The seminar is organized in collaboration with Hart House and the Multi-Faith Centre.
Also on February 2 is the event, “Resiliency through Adversities: Still thriving in the face of anti-Black Racism,” hosted by UTM Equity and Diversity Office via Zoom.
The following day, on February 3, Harvard University Professor Vincent Brown will present his lecture on the Jamaican Coromantee War in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Science.
Professor Brown’s lecture will draw from his 2020 book, Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War, and will discuss the historical foundation of the structural inequality that people face today.
“Part of the problem is [that] people think racism is a matter of personal animus, as opposed to something that’s a legacy of the way these colonial societies were established,” said Brown in an interview with A&S News. “And you don’t just suddenly end all of the consequences of conquest and domination when slavery is abolished.”
On February 5, the U of T Libraries will host a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon where participants will work on promoting and bettering the website’s content on Black history and representation.
The Black History Symposium, called “Honoring the Diversity of Black Leaders and Agents of Change,” will take place on February 8. The symposium will include opening statements by Anti-Black Racism Taskforce Co-Chairs Dr. Njoki Wane, professor and chair of the Department of Social Justice Education, and Dexter Voisin, dean of Factor-Interwash Faculty of Social Work.
The keynote speaker for this year’s symposium will be Dahabo Ahmed Omer, executive director of the Black North Initiative. Omer has received many awards in recognition of her contributions to the Black community throughout the years. Her accolades include, but are not limited to, the Canada150 Community Builder Award and the Hope Academy Community Contribution Award.
In addition to the keynote speech, a panel discussion on “Reinventing Anti-Black Racism Activism” is scheduled to take place during the symposium. The panelists include Trans Workforce Founder Biko Beauttah and FoodShare Toronto Executive Director Paul Taylor.
February 11 will feature both a Lunch and Learn event discussing Black athletes and an interview with Canadian author Lawrence Hill.
The final event in ARCDO’s Black History Month celebrations is the screening of the 2015 film Ninth Floor by director Mina Shum. Ninth Floor is a documentary film that explores the events which took place in February 1969 at Sir George Williams University in Montreal as students took part in a protest against institutional racism.
Members of the U of T community are encouraged to submit their Black History Month events or campaigns to ARCDO via the Initiative Submission form so that it may be featured on the ARCDO website.
All of the aforementioned events are free of charge to members of the U of T community.