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BHM 2022: Black Health and Wellness

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been documented that the Black population is drastically affected, bringing to the surface the structural inequalities in the Canadian society and the poor socio-economic situation of many Blacks. The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas (HTI) has chosen to focus on Black health and wellness as the theme of our Black History 2022 panel series.

Scholars, students and community organizers from the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada will come together to debate and share knowledge that celebrates Black knowledge about health in its multiple dimensions—from Indigenous to modern—and spotlight key achievements and work by Africans on the continent and by people of African descent across the diasporas, especially here in Canada. 

Since its official recognition in 1995, Black History Month has often been treated as a distinct period for honouring history, negotiating current realities, and imagining potential futures for Black communities. It is particularly important to celebrate Black History Month in Canada, given the experience of anti-Black racism that Black people encounter within our society.

In 2020, we witnessed the rise of global protests around racial equity and justice and the normalization of public discourse around the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Following a year of unrest and agitation around the plight and predicament of black bodies in Canada and around the world, HTI seized the moment to bring our community together to think about and mobilize around the many unanswered questions that remain about the symptoms of systemic anti-Black racism.  We held events grappling with the tensions embodied in the recognition, reflection on and celebration of Black struggles for emancipation while debating around the main theme Looking back, Moving forward.

Recognizing that Black History Month is a time of remembering and celebrating the accomplishments of our African ancestors by looking back and reflecting on their struggle for the liberation of Black people, we wanted to move forward. We wanted to celebrate their achievements and the contributions they have made to make Canada the country that it is today.

Our Black History 2022 panel series focusing on Black health and wellness is made possible with support from these York University units (alphabetically): African Studies Program; Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research; Faculty of Graduate Studies; Glendon College, Office of the Principal; Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation; Resource Centre for Public Sociology; Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies; School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; School of Health Policy & Management; and funds provided for Indigenous, Black, and EDI scholarship.


Opening Panel | African/Black Knowledge and Wellness

Thursday, 3 February 2022

How do African people on the Continent and people of African descent conceptualize health and wellness?

Panellists | Dr. Pablo Idahosa (York University); Wendy Jones (Toronto Catholic School Board and Pan Fantasy Steelband); Dr. Njoki Wane (University of Toronto)

Moderator | Dr. Sylvia Bawa (York University)

This event is co-presented by the Resource Center for Public Sociology and the African Studies Program at York University. 

YouTube video of African/Black Knowledge and Wellness

Panel 2 | Black and Health in Canada

Thursday, 10 February 2022

The panel presents an overview of Black Canadians' health and the challenges they encounter in society that affect their health outcomes. The panellists will also share some perspectives to improve health equity across the country.

Panellists | Dr. Delores V. Mullings (Memorial University of Newfoundland); Cheryl Prescod (Black Creek Community Health Centre)

Moderator | Dr. Omosalewa O. Olawoye-Mann (York University)

YouTube video of Black Health in Canada

Panel 3 | Black: Health and Disability

Thursday, 17 February 2022

This panel exposes the reflections of scholars and activists on the interconnection between racism, colonialism and ableism and how the social structure contributes to the disablement of the Black communities and creates health inequalities. In addition, the panel will highlight the socio-determinants of people in the Black communities who are living with an (in)visible disability.

Panellists | Sharon Henry (York University); Yvonne Simpson (York University); Dr. Roberta Timothy (University of Toronto); Tammy C. Yates-Rajaduray (Realize / Réalise)

Moderator | Dr. Agnès Berthelot-Raffard (York University)   

This event is co-presented with the School of Health Policy and Management, York University

Panel 4 | Youth: Health and Wellness

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Panellists will discuss the contemporary realities of Black youth and their health and wellness.

Panellists | Dr. Bukola Oladunni Salami (University of Alberta); Ginelle Skerritt (York Region Children’s Aid Society); Dr. Sophie Yohani (University of Alberta)

Moderator | Henry Gomez

YouTube video of Youth: Health and Wellness

Panel 5 | STEM and Black Wellness in Canada

Monday, 28 February 2022

To raise awareness of STEM contribution to wellness, to talk about constraints and progress in expanding the role of African Canadians in STEM, to talk about the contributions of African Canadians in the STEM disciplines.

This event is co-presented with the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium.


Book Launch | Appealing Because He Is Appalling: Black Masculinities, Colonialism, and Erotic Racism | 8 February 2022 | Co-presented with the Centre for Feminist Research, York University

Black Health and Wellness: Graduate Students’ Perspectives | 15 February 2022 | Co-presented by the Pan African Collaboration for Excellence (PACE) at the University of Alberta and the Centre for Feminist Research at York University.

Last Stop: The Underground Railroad in St. Catherines | 16 February 2022 | Co-presented with McLaughlin College, York University

Santé et bien-être des Noirs : points de vue des étudiant-e-s/ Black health and wellness : students’ perspectives | 18 February 2022 | Co-presented with Glendon College‘s Office of the Associate Principal, Research and Graduate Studies

Global Health as an Issue of Social Justice for Black People | Tuesday, 22 February 2022 | Co-presented with School of Global Health, York University