Feb. 1, 2023Print | PDF
Dear Laurier community,
February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the varied histories and celebrate the many contributions of people across the African diaspora. At Laurier, we recognize the Black faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners who enrich our university year-round, particularly during this month with their efforts to create educational programming and raise awareness of Black history.
In reflecting on this year’s theme of Black Resistance, we acknowledge the role institutions of higher education have played in the exclusion and oppression of Black people, and the responsibility we now have to foster Black inclusion, Black flourishing, and Black excellence. We affirmed our commitment to these responsibilities in 2021 when Laurier became a signatory on the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canada.
This fall, the university welcomed six new Black faculty members as part of Inclusive Excellence, an initiative aimed at addressing systemic racism and the underrepresentation of equity-deserving groups at the university. Through other initiatives, such as the Dimensions Program, Laurier is taking a data-driven approach to address systemic barriers and inequities in areas such as admissions, scholarships, research, recruitment, and career progression. Recently, Laurier also launched its first Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We encourage every member of our university community to find ways within your work to answer these calls to action.
We acknowledge this month begins on a difficult note, with the brutal police killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. These horrific events, and the fact they continue to happen, are reflective of systemic racism and the ongoing struggle for the safety and equity of Black communities. There is significant work ahead of us, and this work can, at times, feel heavy and defeating. In these dark moments, it is critical we continue, and draw hope from each other and the work that is going on to create a more inclusive and equitable community.
Let this month be an opportunity for all of us to commit to further education and action to end racial violence, anti-Black racism, and support Black inclusion.
Deborah MacLatchy, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
Barrington Walker, PhD
Associate Vice-President: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
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