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Black History Month Review

Black History Month Community Event: The Evolution of Racism in the Media

On Monday, February 25 we were honoured to host our 4th annual Black History Month Community event: The Evolution of Racism in the Media. We would like to thank everyone who braved the snowy weather to join us for this important discussion.

Issues relating both to working in the media and the representation of African Canadians are critical and relevant today to everyone, from those who work in the media to those who consume media. These issues are far reaching – impacting all of us in some way.

It was our absolute pleasure to welcome back Canadian Senator, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard who served as our moderator for the evening. Dr. Bernard has participated in several of our Black History events and was, as always, insightful and inspirational.

Dr. Bernard led panel of distinguished guests who shared both their personal and professional experience in reflecting on this challenging topic.

Our guest panel members were:

Black History Month guests: Donnovan Bennett, Sportsnet; Marcia Young, CBC; Canadian Senator, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard; Durham College student, Shaneese Garcia and Dr. Wesley Crichlow, UOIT.

Donnovan Bennett – staff writer, feature host, producer and radio host, and podcast host for Sportsnet. Bennett’s work often touches on the intersections between sports and race, politics, gender and pop culture.

Dr. Wesley Crichlow – Professor in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at UOIT. He is a researcher, professor, author and social justice advocate.

Marcia Young –  award winning broadcaster. You can hear Marcia on CBC Radio’s World Report delivering breaking news, national and international stories.

Shaneese Garcia – Broadcasting student at Durham College, covers news for DC News and podcaster.

Unfortunately, inclement weather prevented Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell from attending. Deverell is a legendary actor, TV producer/director, journalist, founder of Vision TV, educator and social justice advocate. We missed her greatly, but look forward to perhaps future opportunities with her.

The discussion ranged from issues such as the challenges that the panel members have faced in the evolution of their careers due to racism, as well as the representation in the media of racialized individuals. Every one of our guests provided some provocative and insightful examples from their unique perspectives.

The panel also discussed the impact of social media on the prevalence of racism. The lines between traditional and social media are blurred, in particular for young people, who are the first generation to grow up in this climate. And the panel members expressed both their frustration with the demonstration of racism on social media, but also tried to leave the audience with some hope that if we make an effort beyond just ‘liking’ a comment that we can all be a part of a better future.

We can express our thanks enough for all of our panel members, and we look forward to continuing these difficult and inspiring conversations.

This event wrapped up a number of events here at Durham CAS. In addition to our community event, we hosted both a staff and a youth event. While the official Black History Month does end on February 28, our learning doesn’t.