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Sheridan celebrates Black History Month with new mentoring partnership and events to help community ‘learn and unlearn’

Feb 9, 2021

Sheridan is proud to announce a new partnership with Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI), which strengthens leadership opportunities by connecting Black youth, professionals and entrepreneurs with experienced mentors. Through the partnership, BMI and Sheridan will identify, train and pair Sheridan alumni with current students to support networking, knowledge sharing, career clarity and readiness.

Sheridan is also hosting an afternoon conversation with activist, radio host and award-winning journalist Desmond Cole.

Cole will talk about his work documenting social justice, guide a discussion about the Black experience in Toronto and share from his book, The Skin We’re In on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. February’s series of virtual programming, themed ‘Learning and Unlearning: A Commitment to Progress’, also includes a talk about Black history from Dr. Christopher Taylor, cooking class, paint night, discussion with a group of Black co-authors, career advice and two film screenings.

“Over the past year, we’ve experienced many painful reminders that anti-Black racism continues to exist worldwide. These events also underscore the importance of educating ourselves on our privileges and perceptions, the constant need for reflection and difficult conversations surrounding race and bias, and how critical it is to offer or seek support in times of need,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “Sheridan is steadfast in its belief that diversity fuels excellence, and we embrace our role as an educational institution to create a safe and inclusive space in which all of our community members can learn, work and thrive.”

As part of Sheridan’s Black History Month celebrations, students are invited to submit any piece of creative work that shares their experience and reflection on what Black History Month means to them. The Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton and Sheridan Alumni have partnered to provide prizes varying in value from $100 to $500 that will be awarded to as many as 10 students.

Following is Sheridan’s entire schedule of Black History Month virtual programming:

February 4 - Live Cooking Lesson: Wayne Passion, host of the Reggae Kitchen cooking show, taught participants how to make Jamaican Stew Chicken. Passion and Sheridan Student Life Co-ordinators also led meaningful and powerful conversations about Black History Month and ways to make positive contributions to our community.

February 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Dark Girls Film Screening: A film screening of the documentary Dark Girls, which features interviews of Viola Davis and other African American women detailing the role that Shadism has played in their lives. Following the screening, Dr. Akua Benjamin of Ryerson University and Jana Vinsky of Liberation Practice International facilitated an in-depth discussion on Shadism.

February 10, 1 p.m. – The Skin We’re In: Activist, radio host and award-winning journalist Desmond Cole will discuss his work documenting social justice in Toronto and guide a discussion about the Black experience in the city. Cole will also share passages from his book The Skin We’re In, which chronicles struggles against racism in Canada.

February 11, 6-7:30 p.m. – Black Leadership Ambition Collective Knowledge and Success: Presented in partnership with BMI, the session will feature Sheridan alumni and career development professionals sharing insights into volunteerism, personal branding and the importance of investing in yourself and your community.

• February 18, 7-8 p.m. – Ignited to Inspire: Black Women Thriving During a Pandemic: A group of Black co-authors from the Greater Toronto Area discuss authentic personal accounts they shared in 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth and Transformation, which was written and published during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to hearing inspirational stories and gaining insights into careers, wellness and retirement, attendees will have a chance to win one of 30 free copies of the book.

• February 23, 4 p.m. – Navigating, Challenging and Confronting Anti-Black Racism: Dr. Christopher Taylor, a professor of history at the University of Waterloo, will speak about the histories of enslavement and colonization, engage conversation about Black Canadian history and address the present-day realities of Blackness for newcomers and Blacks in Canada.

• February 23, 6:30-9 p.m. – Screening and Q&A with Director Frances-Anne Solomon: Following a screening of the 2019 film Hero, inspired by the extraordinary life and times of Mr. Ulric Ross, Caribbean British-Canadian filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon will host a live question-and-answer session. The event is a special Black History Month installment of the ‘Film for Thought’ series, sponsored by Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton.

• February 24, 7 p.m. – Black History Month Paint Night: Sheridan Student Life co-ordinators will lead a guided paint night session and provide an opportunity to engage in conversation and reflections on Black History Month.

Last summer, Sheridan became a signatory to the Black North Initiative CEO Pledge, joining other leading Canadian institutions in their commitment to dismantling systemic anti-Black racism and creating opportunities for underrepresented members of the community. Sheridan has also achieved 50 per cent gender parity and 30 per cent representation of under-represented groups on both its Presidents and Vice Presidents Committee (PVP) and its Board of Governors after accepting Industry Canada’s 50-30 challenge in December 2020.

Since making six commitments in response to anti-Black racism last summer, Sheridan has launched online mandatory training for all employees that addresses human rights, unconscious bias, oppression and racism; implemented recruitment processes to attract more Black and Indigenous faculty; distributed $366,000 among 513 Black students through a new bursary program; developed partnerships with numerous youth-serving organizations to better facilitate skill and interest development at the primary school level regardless of economic status or race; reviewed the membership and terms of reference of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council; and continues to report progress on equity, diversity and inclusion to its Board of Governors on a quarterly basis.

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