U of T Anti-Black Racism Task Force
Task Force Co-Chairs
“The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the
oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the
oppressor which is planted deep within each of us….”
—Audre Lorde, 1980
“Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference”
About This Initiative
The U of T institutional Anti-Black Racism Task Force aims to address anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion and excellence within the University of Toronto tri-campus community. The Task Force will review existing University policies, processes, and practices and recommend others that would address anti-Black racism, and provide actionable recommendations to the President, Vice-President Human Resources and Equity, and Provost that will further Black Inclusion and excellence.
We invite all members of the U of T community to engage with the Task Force. Many opportunities for students, faculty, staff, librarians, instructors, and researchers to communicate their concerns and recommendations to the Task Force will be provided throughout the 2020-21 academic year. You can provide feedback to email@example.com. The Task Force will also be hosting feedback sessions for all members of the U of T community throughout the academic year—likely all online. Stay tuned for dates and times, and updates to this webpage.
Addressing anti-Black racism and creating sustainable change will entail some difficult and brave conversations. This is important work we must all do together as a University community. Moving towards a more inclusive University community that recognizes inclusive excellence is vital to best advancing the research, educational, and civic impact of this University both nationally and globally.
Share Your Feedback
We want to hear from you. There will be many opportunities throughout the upcoming academic year for all members of the U of T community to share their thoughts on addressing anti-Black racism with the Task Force. Stay tuned for opportunities to do so.
Statement from Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat, and Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr
October 3, 2020
The University of Toronto proudly supports the work of its Anti-Black Racism Task Force. The Task Force’s work will be challenging for all of us, but vital in bringing our community together to work towards ensuring that all Black members of our university community feel valued and supported.
There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to several recent anti-Black racism initiatives at the University, including the National Dialogues, the Restore program, and the launch of the Task Force.
It was therefore with profound regret that we have to report that soon after the Task Force’s launch, we received anonymous feedback on the Task Force webpage containing deeply hateful, racist comments against the Black community, as well as hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Indigenous, and Islamophobic comments.
Human rights, respect, and civility are fundamental values at the University of Toronto. The University has zero tolerance for hate speech, harassment, and discrimination. We condemn in the strongest possible terms anti-Black racism, and all other forms of hate and racial violence.
The Task Force and the University value feedback from members of our community that provides insight on how we move forward positively to advance Black inclusion and excellence. The Task Force’s work will bring about difficult, painful, and challenging conversations for members of our community. Backlash and resistance is a deeply troubling reality in the ongoing fight to eliminate all forms of racism. These hateful comments underscore the importance of institutional anti-racism efforts, which must have a key focus on systemic, structural, and individual forms of racism.
We have made the decision to disable comments from this webpage in light of the racist comments that we have received to date. However, feedback from our community is at the heart of the work of the Task Force. We are committed to creating spaces for dialogue over the coming weeks and months. If you have feedback to share in the coming days, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who need support, we encourage faculty, librarians, and staff to contact our Employee & Family Assistance Program, and students to use U of T My SSP or the Navi wayfinder for campus resources and supports. You can also connect to the Restore program offered by the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office.
If you are feeling threatened or fear for your safety, please contact the University’s Community Safety Office right away.
- ‘This is a Canadian Problem too’: Professor and Vice-Dean Maydianne Andrade discusses systemic racism and anti-Black racism and her podcast ‘The New Normal’
- Dean and Task Force co-chair Dexter Voisin on systemic racism, trauma, and the Black community
- New U of T professor Nadège Compaoré on being Black in academia and why representation matters
- Dalla Lana School of Public Health: Affliction Without Immunity: How Anti-Black Racism Damages More Than the Dream
- From The Chronicle of Higher Education: A Survival Guide for Black, Indigenous, and Other Women of Color in Academe
- From The Conversation: Addressing anti-Black racism in post-secondary institutions can transform Canada after the COVID-19 pandemic
- From The Conversation: How anti-Black racism on Canadian university campuses robs us all
- Dalla Lana School of Public Health: Racism: The Missing Social Determinant of Health
- ‘We need to ensure a cultural shift’: U of T’s Onye Nnorom on why Canada needs more Black physicians
- National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities
- Canadian universities and colleges come together to take action on anti-Black racism
- Canadian post-secondary institutions unite to take action on anti-Black racism, Black inclusion
- Video: Wisdom Tettey, U of T Vice President and Principal of U of T Scarborough, speaks on the importance of taking action now against anti-Black racism and standing for Black inclusion in the higher education sector
- U of T Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office Anti-Black Racism Workshops and Programming
- National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity membership and mentorship
- Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life: Resources for Enhancing Diversity
- Scholar Strike for Black Lives in Canada, including recorded teach-in sessions
We invite all members of the U of T community to engage with the Task Force as it embarks on its important work. Please use email@example.com to provide feedback to the Task Force throughout the Fall and Winter.
You can email the 4 Co-Chairs directly at their email addresses listed above.
You may also direct questions or concerns about the Task Force to:
- Karima Hashmani, Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at U of T and Assessor to the Task Force, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- Andrea Russell, Director, Academic Affairs in the Provost’s Office and Project Manager for the Task Force, at email@example.com
Image credit: Clay Banks