Victoria University will launch its Black History Month celebrations with an event that formally endorses The Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Higher Education: Principles, Actions, and Accountabilities. Originally developed by the University of Toronto Scarborough in collaboration with Black communities, academic institutions, and various institutional partners, the Charter is a commitment by institutions across Canada to combat anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion in higher education. The Charter recognizes the realities of anti-Black racism and includes concrete steps for action to ensure institutional and cross-sector accountabilities.
The launch of Black History Month celebrations and the formal endorsement of the Scarborough Charter will take place on Friday, February 2, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Alumni Hall (Victoria College Building). The event will also feature the Vic Chorus singing a medley of gospel songs.
“The formal endorsement of the Scarborough Charter is another way that we are prioritizing this important work,” says Dr. Rhonda N. McEwen, president and vice-chancellor of Victoria University. “Vic U should be a place where every member of our campus feels that they belong, and as our surrounding communities in Canada grow, so do our desires to develop spaces where we learn from and with each other. We stand alongside our national colleagues who have endorsed the Charter to move towards a future where Black students, employees, faculty members, librarians and alumni feel that they have a voice and a place at Vic U. The principles, actions and accountabilities in the Charter will help us further deliver inclusion, addressing key areas of university operations, and reconciling the University’s recruitment, curriculum development, institutional culture and community engagement practices with EDIA values.”
The Vic Black Excellence and Inclusion Committee has planned events throughout Black History Month that recognize and support the everyday lived experiences, culture, joy and flourishing of Black people. Events include a Black cultural food event called Diaspora Bites: A Celebration of Caribbean and African Gastronomy (February 9, 4 to 6 p.m., Goldring Student Centre); a screening of Beyond Their Years: The Incredible Legacies of Herb Carnegie and Buck O’Neil, a film about Canada’s first Black hockey and baseball players (February 16, 6 p.m. in the Isabel Bader Theatre); and Black networking events planned for March 1. Details about events will be posted on vicu.utoronto.ca.
The Vic Black Excellence and Inclusion Committee—part of the Vic Black Steering Committee, comprised of students and alumni—is led by Lesa Williams-George, Director of Equity, Inclusion & Transformative Practices, and includes Zinzi De Silva, Shane Joy, Jackson Leslie, Zindziswa Malanca, Michelle McFarlane, Joël Ndongmi, Noah Rudder and Sharese Taylor.