Sheridan College celebrates Black History Month with events to help community

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Sheridan College is celebrating Black History Month with a new partnership with Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI).

According to a release, the mentorship will strengthen 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.

“Over the past year, we’ve experienced many painful reminders that anti-Black racism continues to exist worldwide,” said Dr Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice-Chancellor, in a statement.

“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.”

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.

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

* 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 instalment 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.

The college says that 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 and more. 

The college says it continues to report progress on equity, diversity and inclusion to its Board of Governors on a quarterly basis.

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