Racially segregated graduation ceremonies for black students are taking place at several of Canada’s top universities this year, True North has learned.
Some of the ceremonies are organized by university administrators, while others are organized by black student organizations on campus.
These ceremonies come amid woke segregation being implemented in Canadian post-secondary institutions in the name of “anti-racism” and “equity, diversity and inclusion”
The black graduation ceremonies were held in addition to the standard convocation ceremonies – and that attendance was not mandatory for black students.
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto (U of T) was the first Canadian institution to have a racially segregated graduation ceremony back in 2017, and the latter has continued to take place on campus every year since. This year’s ceremony was held on June 4.
Organizers described the ceremony to Global News as an event “for black students by black students” and said the latter “helps counter the isolation and tribulations that many Black students feel on campus.”
The ceremony’s program shows it featuring an Indigenous land acknowledgement, traditional drumming and the singing of Lift Every Voice and Sing – dubbed the “Black National Anthem.” The Canadian national anthem however does not appear on the program. The ceremony also featured black awards and a dance performance.
The Black Excellence Graduation celebration began with traditional djembe drumming and wrapped up with a tremendous sense of achievement and community. Congratulations, students! We’re proud to be part of your journey. Thank you to organizers @MacBSSC https://t.co/gXwzSpfkrI pic.twitter.com/aD4bjNpJB4— McMaster University (@McMasterU) May 24, 2023
Black Student Success Centre manager, Faith Ogunkoya, who organized the ceremony both last year’s and this year’s ceremonies, told CBC that “the whole day was about celebrating and centering Blackness.”
Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson)
A ceremony for “self-identified Black graduating students” is scheduled to take place on June 8 at Toronto Metropolitan University, with the latter being organized by TMU’s “Black Excellence Committee.” The university says the event “aims to create opportunities for Black students, faculty and staff to authentically share space, and to redefine the meaning of community at our university.”
The theme for this year’s segregated graduation ceremony is “No bootstraps when you’re barefoot. Walk Good!” It features a cognition and celebration of black students, followed by a reception.
When asked about why the ceremony was organized and what they have to say to those who feel like it is a form of segregation – organizers told True North they would be declining to comment.
Simon Fraser University
British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University hosted a “Black Brilliance Graduation” for “black-identifying students” on June 5 that was organized by SFU’s Black Caucus and the SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry student group.
SFU’s 2nd Black Brilliance Graduation Celebration is on June 5!— SFU Student Central (@SFUcentral) April 26, 2023
Gather together with family, friends, faculty, staff and community partners as we celebrate the brilliance of Black students graduating the Class of 2023!
Get your free tickets by May 5: https://t.co/fvtriGRNSn pic.twitter.com/2yuYVy4BYr
A description of the event notes that the “amazing occasion offers a chance for friends, family, and loved ones to gather and celebrate all of their student’s accomplishments while creating a culturally immersive experience.”
An SFU spokesperson told True North the university “encourages participation in the many graduation celebrations taking place across all three campuses and in our local communities.”
Montreal’s Concordia University will hold its annual “Black Student Graduation Celebration” on June 17. The university says it tries to hold the segregated event on a date close to June 19 – known in the United States as Juneteenth; a day which commemorates the emancipation of black people.
The University says the ceremony as “a moment to recognize and celebrate Concordia’s Black graduates for their hard work, contributions and achievements, and to usher them into a strong network of fellow graduates, faculty, staff and alumni.”
A “celebration of Black student excellence” was organized by the Black Students’ Network. The event was held at the upscale Omni Hotel Mont Royal, and featured a celebration of black students’ accomplishment, a keynote speech from a local black entrepreneur.
“The confidence with which the grads walked that stage, ready to receive their Kente stoles, made it clear that they were fully prepared to become the future faces of Black excellence,” said Black Grad organizing committee member Bryana Jean-Jacques. The event was also attended by McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini and Associate Provost for Equity & Academic Policies Angela Campbell.
A McGill spokesperson told True North “convocation is a joyous time for all, especially our graduating students, all of whom attend a single Convocation ceremony. During Convocation season, there are many celebrations and festivities at McGill, and Black Grad is one of these.”
Western’s Black Student Association held a “Black Grad Class of 2023” event on April 1st at the University Centre. The campus club said the purpose of the event was to celebrate black students and their journeys.
Tickets to the event cost $25.
This year’s “safe space” event held on April 11 included speeches and a musical performance, and was attended by Dalhousie’s president and vice-chancellor Dr. Frank Harvey, Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard and University of King’s College president and vice-chancellor William Lahey.
All of the universities listed in this article are signatories of the Scarborough Charter, a woke BLM-inspired document that supports the implementation of “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” initiatives and ideology.