Every February, people across Canada participate in Black History Month events and festivities that honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. The 2022 theme for Black History Month is: “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day,” which focuses on recognizing the daily contributions that Black Canadians make to Canada.
To commemorate this, University of Toronto has planned several events over the course of February. The Canadian Black Scientists Network is holding the first annual conference for Black Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine/Health. With local host U of T Scarborough, the four-day virtual event will feature academic programming, leadership summits, a career fair, panels and talks meant to support Black Canadians in STEMM.
On February 3rd, the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office is hosting an open discussion about mental health for Black students. Centering around Black queer voices, the virtual event will feature Carae Henry, community assistant with U of T Mississauga Residence and Equity Outreach Network and co-founder of Prism, a QTBIPOC group, and U of T Scarborough student Mi(chelle) Yvonne Carter, who is the president of the Sexual Diversity Studies Student Union. On the same day there is also a a webinar hosted by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health which will launch with a performance from award-winning poet Amoya Ree. The virtual event will then move to a conversation between moderator Beverley Essue, associate professor of global health in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and Dexter Voisin of Case Western Reserve University and former dean of the Factor-Inwentash School of Social Work, about their personal journeys and themes impacting Black cultures, communities and experiences.
Also, a virtual event discussing the role of architecture in building Black spaces will be moderated by Black Students in Design at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. On the panel will be Rashad Shabazz, associate professor at the Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation, Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, dean of design at OCAD University, and Rinaldo Walcott, a professor at U of T’s Women and Gender Studies Institute and at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
U of T is also co-hosting a month-long series of events on the basics of editing Wikipedia and Wikidata entries to improve the quality of Black history pages. The kick-off event will feature moderator Mark Campbell, assistant professor of music and culture at U of T Scarborough, Cheryl Thompson, assistant professor of creative industries at X University, and Collette Murray, a PhD candidate and African-Caribbean arts-based educator at York University.
With these and so many more events planned for the month of February, there is ample opportunity for students to attend and educate themselves about Black history and I would like to request students to attend these events in large numbers for the same purpose.