A network of 50 universities and colleges in Canada have written a new charter to promote Black inclusion, aimed at fighting anti-Black racism. The report aims to lend support for students from Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and Africa.
According to Dr Wisdom Tettey, of the University of Toronto Scarborough College, vice-president and principal, the Inter-Institutional Advisory Committee, drafted the 22-page document based on several principles aimed at helping the 96 universities and 130 colleges to construct concrete plans for addressing anti-Black racism and fostering Black inclusion. The Charter was signed on November 18.
Dr Tettey pointed out that the task has not been easy, and they could not relent following the launch and assume that the outcome of the principles enshrined will be inevitable.
At this point, some 50 institutions have inked the Charter, and it is a wonderful collective accomplishment that said to all it was worth doing and that they should all be proud of this initiative. “There’s still a lot of work to do in extending the commitment of the founding signatories to the rest of the sector. We are confident that the numbers will increase as several institutions are poised to sign. They are not yet on the list because they are proceeding with internal processes required in their particular contexts. We look forward to welcoming them to the fold in due course,” he noted.
Dr Tettey noted that” “We are diminished by a country and a sector that have been selective in who is deserving of equity through the structures and systems of exclusion founded in our country’s colonial history. As signatories to the Charter have demonstrated, if change is more importantly, if inclusive change is the right thing to do, it can be done through collaboration and good faith”.
Dr Tettey pointed out that the higher educational sector reflects these structures of exclusion and has been complicit in its formation and replication through our mechanisms or determining who gets in, and how they get in and whose knowledge, experiences and accomplishments are valid. As members of that community, we should demonstrate the courage to what is right, not only when it is easy and convenient, but particularly when it is most challenging to do so”.
President Gervan Fearon of George Brown College, pointed out that the principles outlined in the Charter will serve as a guide to his institution as it takes, ” meaningful action to address systemic racism and build a more inclusive and equitable community in which to work and learn”.
He added: “Our Anti-Racism Action Plan will be an important step in supporting a pathway to change and will outline the foundational steps to move the college forward.”
Dr Kevin Wamsley, president and vice-chancellor of Nipissing University, said that the Charter represents academic institution’s commitment to eliminate anti Black racism. McGill University Prof. Adelle Blackett, one the main persons in the project, said that the historic Charter, offers a precise, detailed and comprehensive guidance catalyzing action within an architecture that enables institutions in the higher education service, “to share data and informed practices to foster and strengthen implementation and hold each other accountable.
Media personnel and think tank officials concur that this is the first time that such an evolutionary document has surfaced in Canada, and hoped that it would bring a new meaning and awareness for all the peoples of Canadian at all levels of the national citizenry as it has labelled a profound document that should reshape and redefine Canada’s policy of multiculturalism and national diversity.
It is perhaps, has its moorings, dating back to 1969 of the alleged racism charges at McGill University with the then Dominica’s Rosie Douglas and several other West Indian students. Commentator are now fully reading the document, and so far no Government, federal or provincial government officials have made my pronouncements on it.
By PARAS RAMOUTAR– TORONTO: A special report