Over the last several days, media reports and social media posts have been flooded with horrendous images of anti-Black racism and violence. Subsequently, those same channels have shown acts of solidarity and a thundering call for collective action to dismantle and eradicate systemic and individual racism.
While some of these instances occurred in other countries, we have to face the existence of anti-Black racism in Canada, in Ontario and in our schools, including Humber.
Late last year, hateful, anti-Black graffiti was found at our Lakeshore Campus. We were saddened and angry that such an incident occurred at Humber and reminded of the overt and covert racism often faced by members of Humber’s Black community.
Humber takes issues of racism, including anti-Black racism, very seriously and condemns all such acts. Following the incident at Lakeshore, we reaffirmed our commitment to developing action-based solutions to address the issue of anti-Black racism on campus. Equity is a core value at Humber and our dedicated Taskforce continues to work to ensure our campuses are places where all are welcome, feel they belong, and can be successful and safe. This includes plans for revising hiring practices, providing robust educational sessions about anti-Black racism, and the establishment of an African/Black Employee Resource Group.
But we can and must do more.
As a faculty member expressed to me this weekend, we have an obligation and responsibility as educators to embed equity, diversity and inclusion in the way we teach our students to be global citizens, professionals and especially the next generation of leaders in community and social services. We are making this a priority for all students, as part of the Humber Learning Outcomes.
These recent events will, no doubt, have an impact on the Humber community, particularly Black students, faculty and staff. In recent days, several have written to share their lived experience and how they are feeling in the wake of recent events. I would like to thank them for sharing their perspective and pain.
Support is available for students and staff who may need it.
- Black Academic Success and Engagement (the BASE) staff are available to provide support and referral.
- If you are looking for mental health counselling, you can contact the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre for support.
- You can also connect with the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity.
- If you would like to access services outside of Humber, below is a list of mental health services that support racialized communities:
- GoodToTalk (1-866-925-5454) is a 24-hour mental health support for Post-Secondary Students in Ontario.
- Therapy Assist Online
- Staff may also access Employee Assistance Plan services.
The diversity of the Humber community is one of our greatest strengths. We will not tolerate any expressions of hatred. Moving forward, our values, along with the experiences of our staff, faculty and students will continue to guide our work to create campuses that are equitable, diverse and inclusive for all.
We stand in solidarity with Black students, faculty and staff at Humber against racism and violence at all times. We will continue to speak up and take steps against injustice and racism. We will listen to the members of our community with lived experiences and we will ensure that the word ‘ally’ is not a passive label, but something we put into action.
We are stronger together.