“BIPOC students face invisible barriers daily and our students deserve equity, support and encouragement from their student union. With this plan, we can help invoke change.”

Megan Roopnarine, IGNITE Board of Directors

Your IGNITE Board of Directors (BoD) voted on Wednesday, March 10 to take the BlackNorth Initiative pledge and actively work to eliminate the systemic hurdles facing Black members of the IGNITE community. This crucial project will reshape how we focus our efforts — so you get to learn in a truly anti-racist environment.

“We want to ensure that we are taking actionable steps in the best interest of our students and employees,” says Shay Hamilton, IGNITE Board of Directors, Humber College North campus. “we are committed to the dismantling of anti-Black systemic barriers that disproportionately impact [the] lives of African, Caribbean and Black (ACB)-identifying Canadians.”

About the BlackNorth Initiative

The BlackNorth Initiative is informed by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. By signing its pledge, IGNITE has committed to actionable goals that will create lasting institutional changes at Humber and UofGH. Hamilton says the BoD became aware of the program through secondary research and immediately recognized the advances its vital process would bring to IGNITE.

“Humber and Guelph-Humber have such a diverse community. Given everything going on in the world, we need to take many more steps to combat anti-Black racism.”

The BlackNorth Initiative Pledge will set both short- and long-term anti-racist strategies in motion at IGNITE. Hamilton, who is a member of both the current and forthcoming Board of Directors, says her team will work with the BlackNorth Initiative organizers during her upcoming term to reorient how IGNITE goes about governing, hiring, partnering and holding events.

Short-term changes

This time next year, Hamilton says she’d like to see a student union that more accurately reflects the diversity of Humber and UofGH’s student body, “…including a minimum of one [Black] member on the executive committee.”

She and the BoD will also revise IGNITE’s hiring and partnership process by ensuring “…stronger representation of ACB-identifying individuals within all levels of IGNITE with a unique focus on decision-making roles,” and by “…continuing to build relationships with Black-led, Black-serving and Black-delivering (B3) organizations within the GTA.”

And, this year, the BoD will work to allocate “…equitable funding for initiatives that are geared towards ACB-identifying students.”

Long-term transformations

Looking forward, Hamilton says she’d like to see more structural changes unfold as a result of the BlackNorth pledge.

“[We need an] anti-Black racism policy reform at the institutional, school and program levels…that explicitly differentiates between racism and anti-Black racism and denounces any practice — whether intentional or unintentional. This includes within academic spaces, virtual spaces and any engagement with faculty, staff and/or students.”

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Hamilton concludes, “Signing this pledge is a crucial step forward for IGNITE as it creates an opportunity for our stakeholders — specifically our students or both the Humber Community and the ACB community within Toronto — to know that IGNITE is committed to igniting the flame.”

IGNITE is committed to eliminating racism at Humber and UofGH. If you know about an issue we should be aware of, please reach out to our Board of Directors.

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