BLACK LOVE – A LOVE LIKE NO OTHER

“There has been this unbroken history of struggle for liberation for hundreds of years, but Black people managed to create beauty and love in the very process of fighting this system.” — Angela Davis

What is Black Love?

This wide-reaching term can refer to love shared among the Black community through movements that demand equity for Black people, the fight for liberation, and the celebration of concepts like Black unity and Black strength. Unrelenting, fearless, and foundational to the Black freedom struggle, Black love is based on anti-racism, collective organizing, and a commitment to freedom and democracy. As Cornel West explains, “Black love has nothing to do whatsoever with hating others. It has everything to do with hating white supremacy, everything to do with hating evil deeds, everything to do with hating the impediments of Black dignity and Black decency. But it’s always for. It’s not simply against. It’s not simply anti. Black love is not just anti-racist. No… it’s for the people you love and those who sometimes you think you oppose.” It’s a love, he says, that seeks “liberty for everybody.”

Love is such a powerful word. It has spiritual meaning. It means far more than what we say. It’s from the heart. It’s deeper than the words ‘I LOVE YOU.’ Black love has produced many freedom fighters who helped made our way a little straight. It is love that elevates a community rather than individuals. It is not selfish. The foundation of ACAO is situated on Black love. Since its formation, ACAO has always been about community and community welfare. We knew very early that we rise or sink together. Today, I salute all those who have contributed their time, effort, and love to help ACAO serve the community with love. 2021 was undoubtedly a difficult year. In many ways, it was the continuation of 2020 that saw us trapped under the armpits of two serious pandemics – rise of anti-Black racism and COVID-19 pandemic that decimated our community. As we celebrate the end of 2021 and usher in 2022, let’s be mindful that the fight for black liberation continues. The pandemics still rages on including the fight for a more equitable and better Canada. That is why we need more freedom fighters.

The Job Ad: Freedom Fighters Wanted! The reward is unknown. Would you answer the call?

The fight for justice, equity, fairer society continues. In other words, the struggle continues here at home and abroad. We need freedom fighters to put their shoulders to the wheel – it helps move the wagon farther down the track. Don’t be a bystander or spectator. Let’s all help liberate our community. Let’s start from where we are. Where we have influence – your place of work, place of worship, everywhere. It’s in our DNA. We are a resilient people created for such a time as this to make a difference. We can do it, but we need to work with a common goal. We do not have to agree on the way to achieve it but that is okay. There are several ways we can take but the destination must be the same. We are black but not monolithic. We have different cultures, experiences, and upbringing. We do not expect to be unison in our approach to build a more just society. For example, our famous three black intellectuals like, W.E.B Du Bois, and Booker T Washington, and Ida B. Wells never agreed on the how’s. They were vocal about their disagreement, but they agreed on what the fight was all about.

The same could be said of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. The ‘what’ we fight and the ‘why’ we fight are important than the ‘how’ we fight. In 2022, express black love by becoming a freedom fighter. Join the fight in your own small way. If everyone pitches in, the aggregate of our individual efforts will produce a powerful collective force capable of shaping the next decade for the benefit of black people here in Canada and elsewhere.

Let’s love one another even as we fight the system that has oppressed us for hundreds of years. Let’s teach Black love to our children, our youth, our friends, and community. Black love will help save our community from internal destruction. Black love eschews evil. It will put an end to senseless homicides that characterized our community in 2021. Let’s collectively teach our youth this black love. It’s the sure way to save the lives of our youth. Let this be your charge for 2022. Do your part to save our people and to lift the community up. Would you answer to the call?

As you reflect on the call, I leave you with this hymnal – A Charge to Keep I Have:

 

1 A charge to keep I have,

A God to glorify,

A never-dying soul to save,

And fit it for the sky.

2 To serve the present age,

My calling to fulfill;

Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage

To do my Master’s will!

3 Arm me with watchful care

As in Thy sight to live,

And now Thy servant, Lord, prepare

A strict account to give!

4 Help me to watch and pray,

And still on Thee rely,

Oh, let me not my trust betray,

But press to realms on high.

 

Black love has nothing to do with hating others…. [it’s a love seeking] liberty for everybody. – Cornel West

 

Happy New Year!

Your Chief Servant,

Hector Addison

Congratulations to Dr. Chika Oriuwa who made history as the second Black female valedictorian at the University of Toronto (U of T) Faculty of Medicine. 

The first generation Nigerian Canadian was the only Black medical student in her 2016 class of 259 people.

Check out her valedictorian speech from the virtual graduation ceremony below:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y0-ElpftBM[/embedyt]

Arlene Huggins was handpicked by Education Minister Stephen Lecce to investigate the PDSB’s compliance after its failure to adhere to 27 Ministerial Directions it received.  The former president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) earned a law degree from the University of Toronto in 1989. She was also on the founding Board of […]

Following the release of a damning report of systemic anti-Black racism within the Peel District School Board (PDSB), Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce issued 27 directives on March 13, 2020 that were to be implemented by the organization under strict timelines.

In a news release, the Ministry of Education stated that these directives to the PDSB are “aimed at addressing the systemic discrimination, specifically anti-Black racism; human resources practices; board leadership and governance issues.”

The PDSB, which is responsible for over 155,000 students across 257 schools in Caledon, Brampton, and Mississauga, has since admitted to “systemic racism” within the Board, and issued a formal apology for the “hurt and harm” inflicted on the Black community.

Last November, the Ontario government announced a formal review of Canada’s second largest school board, stemming from years of racism and human rights complaints. The three-member Review team was led by Human Rights lawyer Ena Chadha, lawyer and former president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) Shawn Richard, and former deputy minister Suzanne Herbert.

From December 2019 to early February 2020, they considered over 160 written submissions, conducted 115 interviews and held 4 community and engagement sessions, where they heard from more than 300 individuals in various Peel and Toronto locations.

Below are some key findings from the Review published in March:

  • 83% of high school students in the PDSB are racialized yet 67% of its teachers are white
  • Black students were subjected to constant police intervention
  • Black students were grossly overrepresented in suspensions, some as early as junior kindergarten. They are only 10.2% of the secondary school population, but account for 22.5% of the students receiving suspensions
  • Black students felt that they were held to higher standards and different codes of conduct in comparison to White or other racialized students
  • Black students expressed that Black History should be a part of the curriculum and it should be more than just about slavery
  • Teachers and principals made degrading, inappropriate and racist comments about Black students and staff
  • Failure to intervene on the part of teachers regarding the frequent use of the N-word by students and micro-aggressions in the classroom
  • PDSB Director of Education Peter Joshua has served in his role since July 2017 but has never had a performance appraisal
  • Numerous Black educators had been promoted out of their positions when they spoke out against White supremacy and oppression

Despite saying work had already begun on the directives, reports are that little has changed in the Board. After a breakdown in mediation last month, Education Minister Stephen Lecce took further action and appointed lawyer Arleen Huggins to conduct an investigation into the PDSB’s compliance with the Minister’s binding Directions.

Lecce said he would not tolerate “delay or inaction” when it comes to “confronting racism and discrimination” and “will do whatever it takes to ensure these issues are addressed immediately and effectively.”

Ms. Huggins is expected to deliver her report to the Minister by May 18, 2020.

Minister’s Directions: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/new/minister-directions-pdsb-review.pdf
Final Report: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/new/review-peel-district-school-board-report-en.pdf

We face challenges at all levels of Canadian education system not because we are not smart. In face Statistics Canada data indicate 34% of racialized Canadians have at least first degree compared to 20% of non-racialized Canadians. In simple terms, racialized Canadians are more educated. Why is the education system failing our children? This is a million-dollar question that requires million-dollar answer, but we cannot completely answer it. Racism, discrimination, bullying and intimidation, lack of cultural competency, low expectations and morale, lack of role models and socio-economic factors work against our children in the education system.

We have the opportunity to stay engaged. Let’s participate in the school system, join the school council in your neighbourhood. Go to your child’s school often. Let their teachers know you will follow up and demand explanation. Never accept in face value what the teachers say about your child. Encourage your children, take keen interest in their education. Let’s come together to help demand change in the education system for our own future sake. Join the ACAO education committee.