Recognizing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2023

On Tuesday, March 21, the University of Toronto will join global communities recognizing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The United Nations established the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) in 1966 as part of a larger effort to denounce South Africa’s apartheid regime. In choosing March 21, the UN commemorated the victims of the Sharpeville Massacre. On that day in 1960, the South African Police (SAP) opened fire on a peaceful crowd of adults and children in the Black township of Sharpeville, killing 69 and wounding more than 180. The crowd had been walking to the local police station to protest pass laws that, among other injustices, restricted where Black South Africans could live, travel, and work.

Racism persists in systems and institutions in Canada and around the world. Its impacts feature in our daily news cycles. And wherever it finds a voice, it can cause lasting harm to individuals and communities.

For the University of Toronto, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a time to reflect on our current anti-racist strategies and determine where we can improve. This work includes assessing how well we are supporting all members of our community and what strategic actions we can take to address racism and all forms of discrimination and hatred.

IDERD is also a time to recognize and appreciate the many members of our tri-campus community who have contributed their time, energy, and expertise to anti-racism work at the University, and who continue to advance positive change within their own Faculties, divisions, or campuses. These efforts are critical to the cultural shift we need to make at this institution.

As we prepare for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, I urge everyone to consider how we can harness our collective talents and energies to eliminate racism from our campuses, our activities, and the policies that govern our institution.

Events & Programming

Tri-Campus IDERD Event

Deepening Knowledge and Building Strategies: Faith, Anti-Racism and EDI at the University of Toronto

Date: March 21, 2023 | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Virtual or in-person at the Munk Campbell Conference

The Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO) and the University of Toronto are committed to supporting faculty, staff, and students in the tri-campus community and responding to the needs of campus communities experiencing racism and religious discrimination through diverse programming and resources. We are aware of the complexities and nuances in discussions surrounding faith, discrimination, and racial equity. However, we recognize the equal importance of providing an opportunity for the U of T community to hold these important dialogues.

Through this event, ARCDO hopes to deepen knowledge and advance the ongoing institutional work around faith, anti-racism, and educational strategies that is aligned with (but not limited to) the work of the Anti-Racism Strategic Tables.


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Related Programming

A Shape-Shifting Hatred: Understanding and Addressing Antisemitism

In collaboration with the Multi-Faith Centre

Date: March 14, 2023 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Virtual
Facilitated by: Dr. Shari Golberg

Referred to as the world’s “longest hatred” by historian Robert Wistrich, antisemitism is a potent and dangerous form of racism, prejudice, and hate that has persisted over millennia. Often regarded as a problem of the past in North America, antisemitism has never really gone away, and contemporary expressions of it are becoming increasingly more prevalent and worrisome. This workshop will deepen participants’ understanding of antisemitism, demonstrate the connections between historical and contemporary manifestations of antisemitism, and provide participants with tools to identify and address antisemitic discourses in order to promote more inclusive learning and work environments.


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Celebrating Black Excellence: Addressing Wellness and Finance

UTM EDIO in collaboration with CSE and Career Centre

Date: March 15, 2023 | 12:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: Davis 3140 (UTM Room), UTM Campus

The UTM Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Office, Centre for Student Engagement, and Career Centre present “Celebrating Black Excellence: Addressing Wellness and Finance.” Join us as Asante Haughton and Jamie Sodhi share their stories and their lived experience to provide critical advice to students. They will share real-life challenges and implications that one faces in the workplace and academia because of one’s skin colour, ethnicity, country of origin, cultural or religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, and accents—offering tools and strategies to navigate those challenges. As a participant, you will have the opportunity learn and reflect on strategies to manage your wellness and finance. Lunch will be provided.


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More than One Experience: Encountering Islamophobia

In collaboration with the Multi-Faith Centre

Date: March 16, 2023 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Virtual
Facilitated by: Gilary Massa

No one experiences Islamophobia in the same way, but its existence is undeniable. Islamophobia presents itself in innumerable ways as it intersects across ethnicity, sexuality, gender, race, etc. Deepening our learning about the various manifestations of Islamophobia is an important step to building our tools to addressing experiences in our environments.


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Black Disability Histories: Reflections, Narratives, Futures

UTSC EDIO in collaboration with The Hub

Date: March 16, 2023 | 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Location: In-person at The Hub, Highland Hall, UTSC
Facilitated by the Youth Alliance for Intersectional Justice (YAIJ)

Join us for a conversation about neurodiversity, disability and racial justice with youth from the Youth Alliance for Intersectional Justice (YAIJ). At this event you will hear and learn from youth who are “intimately knowledgeable about life at the intersections” (YAIJ) of disability and racialization. You will learn more about how to meaningfully cultivate spaces that welcome neurodiverse and racialized youth in a way that reaches beyond accommodation and is grounded in intentional inclusion and relational accountability.


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Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Post-Secondary Environments

Date: March 28, 2023 | 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Location: Virtual
Facilitated by: Dr. Joseph Smith

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss and learn about the historical context of racism and its present-day impacts for Black communities in Canada;
  • Understand and discuss the fluidity of anti-Black racism and its manifestations (within systems, institutions and individual experiences);
  • Identify and unpack organizational and systemic barriers that can impact Black communities from being included in post-secondary environments;
  • Share strategies and tools to break the cycle of anti-Black racism and create more inclusive working and learning environments.


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Subjects of Desire film screening and Discussion with Jennifer Holness

UTSC EDIO in collaboration Health and Wellness, Athletics and Recreation, Black Student Engagement, Connections and Conversations UTSC, Department of Global Development Studies

Date: March 30, 2023 | 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Location: In-person at HL-B101, Highland Hall, UTSC

Please join us for an evening of film, fellowship, and learning. This event will showcase the 2021 documentary, Subjects of Desire, followed by a conversation with the writer, producer, and director Jennifer Holness.


Subjects of Desire explores the cultural shift in North American beauty standards towards embracing Black female aesthetics and features while exposing the deliberate and often dangerous portrayals of Black women in the media. From society’s new fixation on the ‘booty,’ fuller lips, the dramatic rise of spray tanned skin, ethnic hairstyles, and athletic bodies, some argue that Black women are having a beauty moment. But others, primarily Black women, argue that traditional Black features and attributes are seen as more desirable when they are on white women.

Told from the point of view of women who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards, the film is partially set at the 50th Anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant, a beauty pageant that was created as a political protest.

Subjects of Desire is a culturally significant, provocative film that deconstructs what we understand about race and the power behind beauty.”


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