Reflecting on Black History and Current Injustice
This week marks the start of Black History Month. It is a dedicated time to reflect on the successes and tremendous impact of Black people in every facet of society. It is also a time to critically examine the links of historical injustices to the current and ongoing violence and trauma that stems from systemic racism.
On January 7 in Memphis, Tennessee, Tyre Nichols was beaten by police and died three days later. He was a father, a son and a skateboarding aficionado. He had dreams and plans that stopped short because of senseless violence.
Humber condemns any acts of violence. As President, I personally condemn any act of violence. I am writing this with emotions of sadness and anger as these acts provide more and more evidence that we are dealing with a systemic issue in our society.
As a post-secondary institution that provides education for future policing professionals and social service advocates, we continue to work to make change from the ground up so there is not one more tragedy like this one. It is our responsibility to help shape a system based on justice, equity and anti-racism.
We are teaching our students about new ways policing and justice professionals respond to the changing nature of harm and community expectations.
We are committed to working with our local law enforcement to ensure we contribute to the change; Humber works directly with the Toronto Police Service to evaluate the neighborhood community officer program (NCOP) to support the creation of tools and education needed to develop best practices and community trust. We are working hard to help our community and all members of it.
We know that horrific incidents like this, and the video of the assault that has been circulating, have far reaching and lasting ripple effects on Black people and communities, including at Humber.
Support is available for students and staff who may need it.
- Black Student Success and Engagement (the BSSE) 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, here is a list of mental health services that support racialized communities: Across Boundaries, Taibu, African Community Services of Peel
- GoodToTalk (1-866-925-5454) is a 24-hour mental health support for Post-Secondary Students in Ontario.
- Therapy Assist Online
- Staff are encouraged to access Employee Assistance Plan services or to connect with their manager for support as needed.
I encourage you to check in on your Black peers and on one another and provide support as you are able. The Humber community stands in solidarity with all those calling for “not one more.” We will continue to do everything we can to address these systemic issues.
Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan
President, CEO, Humber I.T.A.L