It has been 155 years since the last enslaved Black people in the United States were freed – and just 22 days since George Floyd was killed, setting off protests against anti-Black racism around the world.
“It does feel like we might actually be in an important moment of change,” says the University of Toronto’s Dr. Onye Nnorom. “And it feels like we are writing history.”
Nnorom, the Black health theme lead for the Faculty of Medicine’s MD program and the equity, diversity and inclusion lead for the department of family and community medicine, is a guest on Professor Maydianne Andrade’s weekly podcast, The New Normal. The second instalment of a special two-part episode, titled “Enough,” explores the intergenerational impact and trauma of anti-Black racism and violence through scholarly perspectives and personal experiences.
“A hundred years ago, as a Black woman, my circumstance would be quite different,” says Nnorom. “If we do the right work that we need to do now, then for a little Black girl who is born a hundred years from now, she will not know what I have lived and experienced.
“And when we look back and our grandchildren and everyone asks us what we did, it really is a question of: Were you on the side of justice?
Andrade, a Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology and the U of T Scarborough’s vice-dean of faculty affairs and equity, is also joined by Julius Haag, an assistant professor, teaching stream, in U of T Mississauga’s department of sociology and an expert in policing, youth justice, racialization and criminalization, recent graduate Dorian Grey, a mentor for Black high school youth and volunteer with the Imani Academic Mentorship program – and by Andrade’s 17-year-old daughter, Lily.
The New Normal is created in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify or listen on SoundCloud. You can also find it on Apple or listen on Google.
Members of the U of T community who need support are encouraged to contact the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office and the equity, diversity and inclusion offices at U of T Scarborough and U of T Mississauga.
To learn more about anti-Black racism:
Students can speak to a trained crisis worker at any hour of the day.
- U of T My SSP for students: call 1-844-451-9700 or download the app at the Apple App Store or Google Play. Immediate counselling support is available in 35 languages and ongoing support in 146 languages.
Other 24-7 supports available to students include:
- Good 2 Talk Student Helpline 1-866-925-5454. Professional counselling, information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being.
- Gerstein Crisis Centre 416-929-5200
- Distress Centres of Greater Toronto 416-408-HELP (4357)
- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at 250 College Street
- Anishnawbe Health Toronto Mental Health Crisis Line 416-360-0486
The following services are available to students on all three campuses:
- St. George campus: Health and Wellness Centre (416-978-8030), located at Koffler Student Services
- U of T Scarborough: Health & Wellness Centre 416-287-7065
- U of T Mississauga: Health & Counselling Centre 905-828-5255
Faculty and staff have access to 24-7 support through:
- The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP), offered through Homewood Health, online and by phone at 1-800-663-1142