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Welcome to Black History Month 2017

Black History Month 2017

Black History Month 2017

Welcome to Black History Month 2017 at McGill University. This marks the 10th anniversary of Black History Month being observed in the province of Québec and the 1st year that McGill will be recognizing it at an institutional level. The Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office, in collaboration with partners across the University and throughout the wider community, will be bringing you a host of informative and engaging activities throughout the month of February. We welcome you to join us in the celebration! Come out to meet some of the People of Colour in your community and find out more about Black histories and experiences at McGill, in Montreal, and across Canada and the world. A schedule of events can be found here. For any information or to get involved as a volunteer, please contact blackhistory.sede@mcgill.ca.

Resisting intolerance

In the wake of the Islamophobic attack on the mosque in Sainte-Foy, Québec this past Sunday, McGill’s own Sameer Zuberi, a long-time activist and human rights advocate, spoke on CBC’s The National to offer his perspective on the rise of intolerance and why we must resist.

Injustice anywhere…

Humanity is one brotherhood

Humanity is but a single brotherhood

On Sunday, January 29th, 2016, just before 8 p.m., a terrorist attack was carried out against a Sainte-Foy mosque where the faithful were gathered in prayer. When the guns fell silent, 6 people lay dead and several others were injured, some critically. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims.

The most disheartening aspect of this atrocity is that it isn’t entirely unexpected, nor is it new to this province or country. As we have watched messages of hate and intolerance proliferate around us, it is important to remember that violence knows no borders, and it was unlikely that we would remain untouched by it.

As Canadians, we tend to think of ourselves as impervious to such things. We are the “good people”. We aren’t like those “other” countries. And yet Canada has known ongoing colonization, over 200 years of slavery, the Head Tax of 1885residential schools, internment camps, the massacre at Polytechnique, …

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If we don’t actively fight against the rising tide of populism, bigotry and hatred, we will find ourselves engulfed by it.

In solidarity, peace, and friendship.

Credit: D. Mathieu Cassendo

Credit: D. Mathieu Cassendo

Montreal vigil: January 30th, 2016 @ 18:00 – Parc metro station

Deadly Québec mosque shooting

Attaque terroriste à Québec

#SalamQc #PrayForQuebec

“Peut-on être raciste sans le savoir?” by Dr. Régine Debrosse

Article on Le Devoir by member-at-large, Dr. Regine Debrosse, McGill alumna from the Department of Psychology and postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University.

Peut-on être raciste sans le savoir?

Mental Health for Racialized Students

(From the Huffington Post, JED Foundations)









Research demonstrates that BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) are more vulnerable to mental health difficulties and face systemic barriers to resource access.

Article from the Huffington Post: Students Of Color Aren’t Getting The Mental Health Help They Need In College

In strength and solidarity

Many of you might know of the unsettling white supremacist flyers seen circulated across our campus last semester.
The Subcommittee on Racialized and Ethnic Persons would like to take this opportunity to reach out to racialized community members and affirm that we stand in solidarity with you especially in times that you feel unsafe and unwelcome. No doubt that a number of us feel scared in light of these events. Should you have questions with regards to resources that can provide support, please contact the subcommittee at rep.equity@mcgill.ca

Link from the CBC:

Canadian campuses see an alarming rise in right-wing populism

(Content Warning: racism, alt-right, white supremacist)

Where are all the “other” people?

Photo credit: bet.com

Photo credit: bet.com


I’m sure it doesn’t come as a big surprise to learn that there aren’t huge numbers of women and racialized minorities in the big technology firms (excluding Asian males who represent a significant portion of the tech industry). Anyone who has been following the #Gamergate madness is well aware of the fact that the tech industry is not the most diverse space in the universe. That said, I think many people would be shocked to learn that the gaming industry would rather you not mention it. In fact, people who have been outspoken on the issue of the lack of women and minorities in the high tech industry have often seen their careers cut short.

What the heck, high tech?

Check out this article on why the Big Technology thinks diversity is a dirty word.

Dying to be Black (or Native American)

Life Expectancy White

Life Expectancy - Black

Life Expectancy Native American

Many people have suggested that the election and re-election of Barack Obama are indicative of the end of racism in the US. However, the numbers don’t lie; if you’re black, you had better start on your bucket list early, because you’ll be gone from this earth before your neighbours.

While the gap is shrinking, the life expectancy of African Americans and Native Americans is still well below the life expectancy of White Americans. Not surprisingly, Norteastern states are doing much better than Southwestern states. However, it is interesting to note that Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans have a longer life expectancy than White Americans.

McGill researchers performed a new, state-by-state analysis to provide a clearer picture of the gaps, which are most likely indicative of deeper social issues.

Check out this article to read more about the study, and look here for some details on the life expectancy by state. The title of the web page is “USA Life Expectancy – Life longer, live better”. Food for thought.

Why we need to hear minority voices

Photo credit: McGill News

Photo credit: McGill News

When Dantes Rameau is asked to “show his credentials”, he does it because he understands the importance of “representing”. What he represents is possibility. To all of those young, economically challenged, inner-city kids that he mentors, he is a window into a life that they may not have believed was possible for them. Many minorities only see themselves depicted in the media as criminals, underachievers, and underdogs. Dantes Rameau shows them that it is possible to rise above the stereotypes. It is possible to become a celebrated classical musician, or a president, or an award-winning scientist, or anything else you imagine.

Too often, the media depicts success, beauty and achievement in the packaging of the majority. Minorities often struggle to find and maintain their own sense of self-worth and self-confidence because they cannot identify with the images of success that they are shown. We need to showcase minority success to give racialized and marginalized people (especially young people) a sense that they are valued in the world, that they too can be the face success, beauty and achievement.

Read about Dantes Rameau’s exceptional journey here.

McGill minorities take on the world – Imran Amed

Photo credit: Business of Fashion

Photo credit: Business of Fashion

We’ve all met that person. You know the one I’m talking about: smart, attractive, stylish, successful, charming. The person you secretly envy and can’t help but be impressed by. Imran Amed is all of those things and then some. This Calgary native chose McGill for his undergraduate studies, and we are so glad that he did. Now that the fashion world is at his feet, we can say with pride, “He’s a McGillian!” (He also got an MBA from Harvard.)

Imran Amed, a McGillian of Indian descent, is the founder of one of the most respected fashion blogs in the world. The Business of Fashion is  so well regarded that it received $2.5 million dollars in investment from Index Ventures, known for backing other winners such as Skype and Dropbox.

Mr. Amed was back at his alma mater last month to receive a Desautels Management Achievement Award, and at 38 years old, he is the youngest entrepreneur ever to receive the award. Not bad for a boy from Cowtown.

Read all about Imran Amed and his incredible success here and here.

McGill minorities rock!

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