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Hundreds attend 18th annual Black History Month Luncheon at U of T's Hart House

Volunteers serve food at the 18th annual Black History Month Luncheon held at U of T's Hart House (photo by Johnny Guatto)

Four weeks of Black History Month events at the University of Toronto culminated Friday in one of the most highly anticipated events on the calendar: the Black History Month Luncheon.

Held in the Great Hall at Hart House, the 18th edition of the annual event was attended by hundreds of U of T community members, including President Meric Gertler and Chancellor Rose Patten.

The luncheon featured Afro-Caribbean musical performances and was followed by a keynote address and Q&A session featuring honorary guest Michael Coteau, a member of provincial parliament for Don Valley East.

Coteau reflected on his personal experiences as a Black Canadian and politician, the challenges facing diversity today and historical themes around race relations and atrocities such as the transatlantic slave trade.

“It’s an important time that we, as Canadians, remember that those struggles are not just the struggles of Black people, they’re the struggles of the Canadian story,” said Coteau, who previously headed Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate. He also urged attendees to “take the opportunity to work towards building a public discourse that is respectful, that’s based on the values in this room.”

Consul General of Grenada Derrick James also attended the event, which has counted Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders among previous keynote speakers.

Here’s a selection of photos from this year’s Black History Month Luncheon:


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(photo by Johnny Guatto)

Glen Boothe, who has been organizing the Black History Luncheon for nearly two decades, addresses the audience as keynote speaker Michael Coteau, a member of provincial parliament for Don Valley East, looks on.

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(photo by Johnny Guatto)

A musician plays a steel pan to welcome attendees to the Black History Month Luncheon.

 

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(photo by Johnny Guatto)

Attendees chose from a dozen different lunch items and ate long tables in Hart House's Great Hall.

 

Meric Gertler listens to a presentation while smiling before lunch gets started

(photo by Johnny Guatto)

U of T President Meric Gertler listens to introductory remarks by Boothe, the Black History Month Luncheon organizer.

 

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(photo by Johnny Guatto)

Attendees share smiles and delicious plates of food at the Black History Month Luncheon.

 

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(photo by Johnny Guatto)

A volunteer serves up fried plantains to U of T Chancellor Rose Patten. 

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