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Addressing Anti-Black Racism at Centennial College
Addressing Anti-Black Racism at Centennial College
A College Commitment: Addressing Anti-Black Racism
Centennial College is committed to action that will consistently address anti-Black racism, promote Black inclusion across all levels of the institution and advance organizational equitable outcomes. Led by the Centre for Global Citizenship and Inclusion, the college has worked to ensure the perspectives of diverse Black communities are integrated in all the work we do including policy development, addressing inequitable systemic barriers, curricular and co-curricular programming.
Anti-Black Racism Task Force
Comprised of 60 employees and students, the Anti-Black Racism Task Force has 2 Co-Chairs, 2 Special Advisors and 3 Executive Sponsors. A call for membership was communicated to the broader college community in early November, 2020 and the first meeting was held in December, subsequent meetings have been held monthly. Task Force members also collaborated between meetings in order to develop actionable recommendations to address anti-Black racism at Centennial College.
Membership: Anti-Black Racism Task Force
Veronique Henry, Dean School of Community and Health Studies
Yasmin Razack, Director of Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion
David Ip Yam, Dean of Students
Portia Daisy, Organizational Effectiveness Manager Human Resources
Dr. Neil Buddel, Vice-President Student Success
Dr. Marilyn Herie, Vice-President Academic and Chief Learning Officer
Lynn Ardizzi, Vice-President, People and Equity
Terms of Reference: Anti-Black Racism Task Force
The purpose of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force is to develop a set of actionable recommendations that will result in transformative, entrenched and robust change. These recommendations will work to address the individual and systemic biases that contribute to the marginalization of diverse Black communities and impose institutional barriers to an inclusive learning and working environment.
The role of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force is to support Centennial College in fostering “an environment of inclusion in teaching, learning, employment and support services so we can fully serve our communities and prepare students to excel in the workplace and in society” (Centennial Statement of Diversity). The intended outcomes of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force are to ensure increased collective action and accountability at all levels of the College’s functions, including Programs and Services, Workplace Environment and Community Relations. The Anti-Black Racism Task Force will work to foster respectful, inclusive interactions, relationships and most importantly organizational outcomes in four key areas: 1) College to Students 2) Employees to Employees 3) Students to Students/Employees 4) College to Community.
Anti-Black Racism Task Force Working Groups
Through the work of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, a set of recommendations for the College will be established and an action plan created to support implementation of these key areas:
|Education and Awareness||Education of all employee/students on how to address systemic/individual inequities and deeper engagement with organizations that focus on the advancement of anti-racism strategies.|
|Psychologically Safe Environments||Development of organizational strategies that work to create safe, secure, inclusive, trusting and accessible environments for living, learning, teaching and working.|
|Inclusive Leadership||Authentic, honest and courageous leadership to confront and correct racism and all other forms of oppression.|
|Curriculum and Pedagogy||Curriculum & Pedagogy: Reflect and honour the perspectives of diverse Black communities in all facets of the learning environment.|
|Student Success and Engagement||Foster equitable and accessible opportunities, programs and services that foster Black inclusion, success and graduate employment;|
|Human Resources||Advance human resource management systems, policies and practices to reflect diversity and promote inclusion at all levels of the college.|
|Accountability Measures||Integrate accountability practices in each area to advance EDI allowing for the measurement of organizational effectiveness.|
To build on systemic change, Centennial College is engaging in collaborative efforts that demonstrate shared responsibility and multi-level accountability in building safer and more inclusive working, learning and living environments for diverse Black students and employees.
Update on Anti-Black Racism Taskforce:
Since December 2020, the Anti-Black Racism Task Force has been meeting to dialogue and develop actionable recommendations to advance Black inclusion at all levels of the College. In March, 2020, the Task Force developed 40+ draft actionable recommendations which were shared with the broader college community for constructive feedback.
Feedback on Actionable Recommendations
Following the completion of the draft Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism, three anonymous surveys were distributed and two virtual community consultations were held to gather feedback on the proposed actionable recommendations
On April 28th 2021, the college invited students and employees from diverse Black communities to review the proposed actionable recommendations. The second community consultation was held on June 04, 2021 with the broader college community (all college employees and students). An extensive analysis was also completed on the responses provided in the chat function of Zoom for each consultation. A third community consultation will be held in Fall, 2021 with external community organizations and diverse industry partners.
Current Status of Anti-Black Racism Task Force Action Plan for Centennial College
The co-chairs, special advisors and executive sponsors are working to incorporate the feedback from the consultations, anonymous surveys and analysis of data to build out a draft Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism at Centennial College.
A final draft of the action plan will be released in late Fall, 2021.
Below are ongoing college initiatives to advance Black inclusion:
Faculty and instructors are called to examine the pervasive nature of racism in teaching practices; and to disrupt systemic racism by addressing and challenging racism in both pedagogical practice and in course delivery. This 3-part interactive session provides participants with the skills and tools needed to apply principles of anti-racism (strategies and actions that address and challenge systemic racism, prejudices, and discrimination) into their teaching practice. In this session participants apply anti-racism principles and actions in the following areas: 1) pedagogical practice and course development; 2) course delivery and implementation and 3) evaluation of practices for transformative impact.
This course provides students with the opportunity to learn about the historical legacies of racism and to connect these histories to Canadian institutions, systems and contemporary life. Students will learn how to define key terms relating to race and racism and to interpret racism through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression. The course will review how race and racism is experienced broadly by various racialized groups that include Black, Indigenous and Asian communities, etc. while highlighting relevant topics such as colonization, slavery, immigration, multiculturalism, and white supremacy. Students will explore how systemic racism has impacted Canadian institutions that affect our everyday lives such as education, housing, employment and media. The course will conclude by introducing students to global approaches to anti-racism, and how to strive for racial justice and equity.
Launched in December 2019, the Black Mentorship Initiative brings together students, professionals and trailblazing Black Canadians. The BMI helps students to build meaningful networking connections, grow professional networks, learn how to navigate workplace challenges, develop leadership skills and explore opportunities to build a strong career path.
- Equity and Inclusion Perspectives Program: Offered since 2016, this program is designed to build capacity among Centennial College employees to integrate equitable practices that reduce systematic barriers and further build inclusion in their personal and professional lives. Since the College’s transition to teaching and learning at a distance last March 2020, program offerings have engaged over 3,000 employees, reflecting our ongoing and collective commitment to embedding equity and inclusion throughout the College community.
- ACCEL: ACCEL is the start-up accelerator at Centennial College that supports diverse entrepreneurs to start or grow their own businesses. ACCEL believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are within everyone’s grasp. ACCEL is about reducing barriers and providing opportunities for historically marginalized communities. ACCEL is dedicated to networking entrepreneurs with professional mentors, coaches and peers.
- Centennial Leadership Academy: The Centennial Leadership Academy is a hub of resources and programs designed to develop the leader and global citizen in each student. Programs focus on skills relevant to students’ career, community and personal development journeys. The CLA links students to various leadership experiences at Centennial and engages with employers and the wider community.
Centennial College is committed to challenging anti-Black racism, and to relentlessly address it by engaging all members of the community to participate in actions that result in positive social change. This employee-focused speaker series provides tools to take significant actions to identify anti-Black racism in our current practices that can work to develop and implement accountability frameworks that can further create equitable College wide practices to increase access, opportunity and space for diverse Black communities. Previous speakers include: Dr. Carl James, Kike Ojo, Desmond Cole, Dr. Christopher Stuart Taylor, Maxine Lorna, Carolynne Crawley, Robyn Maynard, Eternity Martis.
The Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion has partnered with various schools and departments to embed training on microaggressions and equity & inclusion fundamentals within classroom. These sessions have been included for students in Police Foundations, Child & Youth Care, Broadcasting & Film and the student association leadership team amongst others.
Led by Centennial College’s Centre for Global Citizenship and Inclusion, in collaboration with Marketing and Communications, the podcast “Decoding Black,” features hosts Dr. Christopher Stuart Taylor, expert scholar in immigration history and Black Canadian history, and Letecia Rose, Manager of Partnerships and Programs at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Partnership. The hosts invite listeners to increase their awareness on how to destabilize, deconstruct and disrupt systems of oppression linked to anti-Black racism.
To build on efforts that foster Black inclusion, the College is prioritizing the development of research and the collection of race-based data (quantitative and qualitative, including demographic, engagement, and satisfaction) that identifies gaps and issues in addressing equity and diversity, and Human Rights in the workplace. These data will inform future directions in recruitment, hiring, training, and workplace culture in order to build Black inclusion and develop a safe workplace at all levels of the College.