DC signs BlackNorth Initiative pledge to dismantle anti-Black racism

While Durham College (DC) condemns anti-Black racism and oppression of any kind, we are not blind to the fact that there is more work to be done on campus and beyond to fully dismantle the systemic barriers faced by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) students, employees and community members.

We need more than words. We need meaningful, specific action.

Recognizing this need, DC is proud to announce that on July 17, President Don Lovisa signed the BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO pledge, joining more than 200 leaders from across Canada in committing our organization to realizing specific actions and targets designed to dismantle anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.

The pledge commits DC to implementing and reporting on measurable efforts, including new policies, procedures and practices, aimed to not only address systemic anti-Black racism within the college but to actively work to educate others and dismantle the barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians.

As a signatory to the BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge, DC is committing to increasing its delivery of unconscious bias and anti-racism education and, by 2025, ensuring that 5 per cent of its student positions and 3 per cent of its donations create opportunities for the Black community. The college is also committing to working to attract, develop and advance talent to contribute to a target of 3.5 per cent of executive and Board roles based in Canada being held by Black people in the same timeframe. The college’s actions and progress will be accountable through reports to its Board of Governors.

Joining the BlackNorth Initiative reflects DC’s core values of diversity, inclusion and respect that are named in the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan published earlier this year. Our participation is also a significant extension of the work both completed and currently underway at the college to identify and eradicate anti-Black racism, discrimination and oppression of all kinds.

This summer, the college’s Social Justice Week committee, together with the DC Black Student Success Network, Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions and DC Students Inc., launched a series of online community dialogue sessions to create a safe space for students and employees to share with and learn from each other about experiences of anti-Black racism. Other recent initiatives include:

  • Establishment of the college’s first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.
  • DC representation on the City of Oshawa’s first-ever Community Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
  • Development of a college Equity policy.
  • Ongoing delivery of unconscious bias training for students and employees.
  • Formation of a DC Black Student Success Network.

Signing the BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge is a powerful next step towards effecting significant, positive change on our campus and well beyond.