TORONTO, March 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Black students at the University of Toronto have completely stopped traffic at the heavy intersection of St. George and Harbord to mark 189 years of anti-Black racism at the institution. Today marks the 189th birthday of the institution. While the campus engages in events and social media campaigns to celebrate the university, these students are exposing the different experiences that Black students have on campus. The students belong to the Black Liberation Collective - Canada, and are also protesting the lack of response to a list of demands submitted to the University of Toronto administration in early December.
"There is nothing to celebrate, today. This institution has been racist and anti-Black since its beginnings, and has shown us that it has no interest in making any changes to that," said Sasha Henry, a member of the Black Liberation Collective. "The University of Toronto was built off of money made from slave labour. We won't let this institution celebrate 189 years of mistreating Black people without speaking out."
The Black Liberation Collective submitted a list of demands to the University of Toronto which can be found here: http://www.blackliberationcollective.org/our-demands/#utoronto
After a protest held by the Collective, the University of Toronto agreed to respond to the demands and begin working on the issues raised in the demands. The university administration then ignored the Collective for two months. The University of Toronto also set up a working group to work on one of the demands of the Collective - collecting race-based data - and excluded the Black Liberation Collective from the committee.
"If U of T's commitment to collect race-based data wasn't just a public relations exercise, they would have invited the people who raised the issue in the first place to be a part of the working group," said BLC organizer Ellie Adekur, "But this is nothing new. They hand-picked a white man to be the representative on the anti-sexual violence working group; when a Black woman and other racialized people had been the first to raise the issue with them."
The Black Liberation Collective at the University of Toronto is holding an event on April 1 to discuss these issues with the Black community at UofT.
SOURCE Black Liberation Collective at University of Toronto
For further information: Sandy Hudson, 416-722-8842, [email protected]; Ellie Adekur, 647-607-1447