On May 13 and 14, the University of British Columbia will be hosting the inaugural Inter-Institutional Forum of the Scarborough National Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education. The forum will include a public symposium, co-hosted by UBC and Simon Fraser University, on May 14.
Community Making and Black Flourishing Through the Scarborough Charter, brings together four panels of administrators, faculty, advisors, students, and community activists to discuss concrete pathways to achieving the goals of the Scarborough Charter. The event will also include a performance by two drummers as further expression of Black discourse. The symposium is an opportunity for university and local community members as well as a national audience to learn from and with one another about Blackness and the Canadian academy. The event also contributes to the ongoing work and commitments by both UBC and SFU to combat anti-Black racism and promote Black flourishing at our institutions and in the wider community, and serves to illustrate to a national audience how the goals of the Scarborough Charter are being interpreted locally.
The Inter-Institutional Forum, of which the symposium is a part, follows the November 2021 signing of the Scarborough Charter, a historic pledge to fight anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion in higher education. More than 50 universities and colleges across Canada, including UBC and SFU, have signed the Scarborough Charter, signalling commitments to move from rhetoric to meaningful concrete action to address anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion. The principles, actions, and commitments outlined in the Charter reflect the signatories’ collective recognition of the realities of Black lives at Canada’s institutions of higher learning, and shared aspirations to address both anti-Black racism and promote Black representation and flourishing.
Media are invited to attend the symposium, which is taking place virtually and in-person. Interviews with spokespeople are available in advance and at the event to discuss pathways for action on addressing both anti-Black racism and the representation of Blackness in academia locally and nationally.
Event: Community Making and Black Flourishing Through the Scarborough Charter (click here for event information)
Date/Time: May 14, 2 p.m.-5:45 p.m. PDT
Location: In-person at UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street and livestream via Zoom Webinar (here)
Please note that non-medical masks are required in all public indoor spaces at UBC.
- Panel 1: Why a charter for Black representation and inclusion?
- Panel 2: Negotiating for Black flourishing within academic institutions
- Drumming performance
- Panel 3: Fostering a supportive environment for Black students
- Panel 4: Promoting mutuality between Black communities and the academy
Interviews and quotes:
Dr. Handel Kashope Wright
Senior Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence, UBC
Director of the Centre of Culture, Identity and Education, UBC
Member of the Scarborough Charter Steering Committee
Interview language: English
“Thanks to the Scarborough Charter and this symposium, we have an opportunity to discuss concrete pathways for addressing anti-Black racism and promoting Black inclusion and flourishing in higher education and the wider community. Black people and Black cultures are acutely underrepresented in British Columbia and this event is an opportunity to build Black community and foster a welcoming, supportive environment for Black scholars, staff and students at UBC and SFU and in the larger community.”
Dr. June Francis
Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism, SFU
Director of the Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement, SFU
Interview languages: English
“Transforming universities into spaces of Black Flourishing requires reinserting Black knowledge systems, histories and ways of knowing while challenging entrenched power structures and attachment to the myth of Eurocentric superiority. This demands bold institutional change and innovation within and across faculty and university boundaries to decolonize and employ anti-racist pedagogy, practices and knowledge development. However, Black flourishing is not only about anti-policies but also about the opportunity to unshackle and enrich the intellectual capacity, learning and culture of universities as communities of belonging.”
Dr. Wisdom Tettey
Vice-President of the University of Toronto
Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough
Scarborough Charter Steering Committee Chair
Interview languages: English
“We at the University of Toronto are very pleased to see nearly 60 signatory institutions coming together for the first official gathering of the Inter-Institutional Forum since the launch of the Scarborough Charter in November 2021. It is an opportunity to take stock, to learn from one another, to hold ourselves accountable, and to forge ahead together in ways that give expression to our collective commitment to move beyond rhetoric and to deliver meaningful and concrete action to address anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion.”