U of T celebrates Black History Month with virtual film screenings, discussions and other events

Andre de Grasse
Six-time Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse will be the guest of honour at U of T's Black History Month Luncheon, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Feb. 28 (photo by Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images)

From film screenings to conferences and thought-provoking discussions, the University of Toronto community is celebrating Black History Month with virtual events across the three campuses.

Events are scheduled for every week in February and will culminate on Feb. 28 with U of T’s Black History Month Luncheon, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and features six-time Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse.

Here’s a snapshot of what’s taking place at U of T and beyond this month:

Jan. 30 – Feb. 2


 The Canadian Black Scientists Network is holding the first annual conference for Black Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine/Health. With local host U of T Scarborough, the four-day virtual event will feature academic programming, leadership summits, a career fair, panels and talks meant to support Black Canadians in STEMM.


Feb. 2

What Makes Us Human? AI, Spirituality and Race

Join Rhonda McEwen, U of T Mississauga’s vice-principal, academic and dean and professor at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology, Suzanne van Geuns, PhD candidate in the department for the study of religion in the Faculty of Arts & Science, and others for a conversation about AI, spirituality and race. The virtual event, presented by Hart House, the Centre for Student Engagement and the Multi-Faith Centre, will be moderated by Efosa Obano, program manager for the Black Founders Network at U of T’s Entrepreneurship Centre. 6 – 8 p.m. ET


Feb. 3

Black Queer Students on: Mental Health


The Sexual & Gender Diversity Office is hosting an open discussion about mental health for Black students. Centering around Black queer voices, the virtual event will feature Carae Henry, community assistant with U of T Mississauga Residence and Equity Outreach Network and co-founder of Prism, a QTBIPOC group, and U of T Scarborough student Mi(chelle) Yvonne Carter, who is the president of the Sexual Diversity Studies Student Union. 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET


Feb. 3

Fireside Chat: Celebrating Black Excellence and Authors

A webinar hosted by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health will launch with a performance from award-winning poet Amoya Ree. The virtual event will then move to a conversation between moderator Beverley Essue, associate professor of global health in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and Dexter Voisin of Case Western Reserve University and former dean of the Factor-Inwentash School of Social Work, about their personal journeys and themes impacting Black cultures, communities and experiences. 6:30 – 8 p.m. ET


Feb. 3

In Conversation with Black Students in Design: Building Black Spaces

A virtual event discussing the role of architecture in building Black spaces will be moderated by Black Students in Design at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. On the panel will be Rashad Shabazz, associate professor at the Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation, Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, dean of design at OCAD University, and Rinaldo Walcott, a professor at U of T’s Women and Gender Studies Institute and at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. 6:30 – 8 p.m. ET


Feb. 7

Black History Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon Launch

U of T is co-hosting a month-long series of events on the basics of editing Wikipedia and Wikidata entries to improve the quality of Black history pages. The kick-off event will feature moderator Mark Campbell, assistant professor of music and culture at U of T Scarborough, Cheryl Thompson, assistant professor of creative industries at X University, and Collette Murray, a PhD candidate and African-Caribbean arts-based educator at York University. 1 – 2:30 p.m. ET


Feb. 7 – 11

Fourth Annual Diversity & Equity in Wellness and Physical Activity Conference

The virtual conference will host four sessions focused on wellness and physical activity with a lineup of speakers to guide participants through engaging discussions and movement practices.


Feb. 12

Because She Cares Film Launch

The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work will host a 60-minute screening of Because She Cares, a spoken word film series that documents the experiences of African immigrant women living with HIV. It will be followed by a panel discussion with performers, film artists and African, Caribbean and Black women who work in Ontario AIDS service and allied organizations. 2 – 4 p.m. ET


Feb. 14 and 16

Restore Celebrates – Happy Black Futures Month

Join Yamikani Msosa, facilitator of Restore, for wellness and restoration sessions for Black community members. A session for faculty and staff who identify as members of the Black community will take place on Feb. 14, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET. And on Feb. 16, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. ET, there is a session for students who identify as members of the Black community. 


Feb. 15

Freedom: Spirit and Legacy of Black Music 

(Photo by Diana Bentley)

Beau Dixon, award-winning actor, musician, playwright, music director and sound designer, will present a lecture that focuses on the creation and curation of his Stratford Festival production of Freedom: Spirit and Legacy of Black Music. The event is organized by the Faculty of Music and will be streamed on their YouTube channel. 12 p.m. ET


Feb. 16

Black Faculty in Conversation

Six faculty members from U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) will gather to discuss the new Centre for Black Studies with moderator Andrew Campbell. The panel features: George Dei and Njoki Wane, both professors in the department of social justice education, Lance McCready, associate professor in the department of leadership, higher and adult education, Rosalind Hampton, assistant professor in the department of social justice education, Whitneé Garrett-Walker, assistant professor in the department of leadership, higher and adult education, and Linda Iwenofu, assistant professor in the department of applied psychology and human development. 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. ET


Feb. 16

It Takes a Riot: Black Histories, Black Futures, and Community Organizing

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health will screen the documentary It Takes a Riot: Race, Rebellion and Reform before joining one of the filmmakers, Simon Black, for a panel discussion on the documentary’s impetus, how it maintained authenticity and other themes in the short film. 6 – 7:30 p.m. ET


Feb. 25

Addressing Anti-Black Racism at the Intersections: Stories, Advocacy and Actions

A keynote presentation by Moya Bailey, associate professor at Northwestern University, and a film screening of HERstory in Black will explore anti-Black racism as it intersects with forms of gender-based discrimination. The virtual event is hosted by the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office. 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET


Feb. 24

Black History Month 2022 with Canute Lawrence and Gayle Gonsalves

Hosted by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, authors Canute Lawrence and Gayle Gonsalves discuss Lawrence’s book Pathology of a Pandemic. 7 – 8 p.m. ET


Feb. 28

Black History Month Luncheon

(Photo by Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Celebrating its 20th year, U of T’s Black History Month Luncheon will feature six-time Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse and his mother Beverley DeGrasse. The virtual event will also feature Ontario Poet Laureate Randell Adjei and a special guest appearance by actor Tatyana Ali. 12 – 2 p.m. ET


Feb. 28

Exploring Black and Indigenous Futurisms: Rock as Witness

Quentin VerCetty, Michael Belmore, Karyn Recollet and Audrey Hudson.

Hart House has partnered with the AGO to present a discussion meant to support Afro-Indigenous thinking. The event features Quentin VerCetty, multi-award-winning multidisciplinary storyteller, educator,and Afrofuturist, Michael Belmore, artist and sculptor, Audrey Hudson, chief of education and programming at the AGO, and Karyn Recollet, assistant professor at U of T’s Women and Gender Studies Institute. 6 – 8 p.m. ET