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The Anti-Black Racism Conference

The Anti-Black Racism Network is pleased to announce that it will hold a two day conference at Ryerson University on Friday February 19 and Saturday February 20, 2016.

"Anti-Black Racism: Criminalization, Community and Resistance" conference will rigorously advance the scholarship on social issues facing Black Canadians and find meaningful and sustainable ways of addressing these problems by bringing together leading academics, community members and organizers, students, human services providers, policy makers, and artists across Canada.

"Anti-Black Racism: Criminalization, Community and Resistance" conference will open with the Inaugural Akua Benjamin Annual Public Lecture on February 18th, 2016.

For further conference details, please refer to the Conference Schedule and Conference Registration tabs. 

The ABRN was established in July 2014. The Network is comprised of university professors, students, lawyers, social workers, activists, and community and organizational leaders whose social justice work includes anti-Black racism.

Members of the Network have specializations in diverse areas including law, criminal justice, child welfare, queer studies, education, human rights, policy studies, cultural studies, feminism, health and wellbeing, anti-colonialism, and social services.


Ryerson University
POD 250
Jorgenson Hall, 2nd Floor
350 Victoria St.
February 19th & 20th, 2016
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Rinaldo Walcott
Dr. Wanda Bernard
Dr. Malinda Smith

Open To:
Leading scholars from across Canada, emerging scholars, faculty, students, community members, artists, and activists

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Dr. Rinaldo Walcott

Dr. Rinaldo Walcott - University of Toronto

Professor Rinaldo Walcott is the Director of the Women & Gender Studies Institute.  As an interdisciplinary scholar Rinaldo has published on music, literature, film and theater and policy among other topics. All of Rinaldo’s research is founded in a philosophical orientation that is concerned with the ways in which coloniality shapes human relations across social and cultural time. Rinaldo is the author of Black Like Who: Writing Black Canada (Insomniac Press, 1997 with a second revised edition in 2003); he is also the editor of Rude: Contemporary Black Canadian Cultural Criticism (Insomniac, 2000); and the Co-editor with Roy Moodley of Counselling Across and Beyond Cultures: Exploring the Work of Clemment Vontress in Clinical Practice (University of Toronto Press, 2010). In all of Rinaldo’s research and publication he focuses on Black cultural politics; histories of colonialism in the Americas, multiculturalism, citizenship, and diaspora; gender and sexuality; and social, cultural and public policy.

Areas of Interest: Diaspora studiesGender studiesCultural studiesCultural TheoryGender TheoryTransnational StudiesBlack StudiesQueer Theory and Black Queer StudiesPostcolonial and Multicultural StudiesCultural and Social Theory and Policy

Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard

Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard - Dalhousie University

Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard has been a professor at the Dalhousie School of Social Work since 1990, where she held the position of Director from 2001- 2011.

She was on leave from 2011-2013, focusing on her research and more actively engaged in community work. Dr. Bernard returned to full time teaching responsibilities in July 2013, and teaches in the area of anti-oppression at the graduate level and cultural diversity in the undergraduate program. She also teaches an elective course entitled Africentric Perspectives in Social Work at both graduate and undergraduate levels. First developed in 1999, the Africentric social work course is the only one of its kind offered in a School of Social Work in Canada.  

Her research with Black men and the violence of racism, particularly in the criminal justice system, has had significant impact on not only academic work but also agency and community-based practice. She was Team Leader for the Racism, Violence and Health study, funded by CIHR 2002- 2008. She has received numerous awards and honors for her trendsetting work, most notably, her appointment to the Order of Canada in 2005 for her work on racism. Wanda is a founding member, and past president of the Association of Black Social Workers.

Dr. Bernard is a community engaged scholar who actively links her research, teaching, practice and community activism. She is the first African Nova Scotian to hold a tenure track position at Dalhousie University and to be promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Bernard’s work on race, racism and the impact of racism has led to her involvement in human rights cases as an expert witness. She has been qualified as an Expert Witness in three provinces: Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia.

Areas of Interest: Gender, Racism, Well-being, Aging, End of life care, Spirituality and social work.

Dr. Malinda Smith from the University of Alberta

Dr. Malinda S. Smith - University of Alberta

Dr. Malinda S. Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta, where she teaches international and comparative politics. Intensely passionate about antiracism and social justice, Dr. Smith is an internationally renowned scholar and frequently invited keynote speaker on such topics. Her current teaching, research, engaged scholarship and publications traverse three main areas: antiracism, equity and social justice in higher education; global poverty and inequality; and terrorism and political violence in the global South.

In addition to journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Smith is the editor or co-editor of 5 books, including Securing Africa: Post-9/11 Discourses on Terrorism, States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century (with Sherene Razack and Sunera Thobani), Critical Concepts: An Introduction to Politics (with Janine Brodie and Sandra Rein); a forthcoming book on Racialization, Indigeneity and the University (with Frances Henry et al); and another book-in-progress, Nuances of Blackness in the Academy (with Awad Ibrahim, Tamari Kitossa, and Handel Wright). She is also the editor of two open access books, Beyond the Queer Alphabet (with Fatima Jaffer), and Indigenous Education and Indigenizing the Academy.

For over 20 years, Dr. Smith has worked to improve the representation, status and climate for women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S in the academy and broader society. At the University of Alberta this engagement has included serving on the Dean of Arts Taskforce on Equity, the faculty working group on benefits for LGBT families; and serving for several terms as Chair of the AASUA Standing Committee on Equity. Currently she is co-Interim President of the Academic Women’s Association and a member of the University of Alberta’s Employment Equity Advisory Committee. 

Engaged in local and global struggles for social justice, Dr. Smith has helped to advance anti-racism initiatives in the City of Edmonton, serving on its Racism Free Edmonton committee and as the Board Chair of Alberta’s Centre for Race and Culture. Nationally, Dr. Smith was the first racialized minority to serve as Vice President (Equity & Diversity) at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Science, where she founded and contributed to the Equity Matters blog and worked with scholarly associations to advance equity, diversity and fairness within disciplines, universities and social science and humanities community and scholarship. As well, for several years she was an active member of CAUT’s Racialized Academic Staff Working Group and the Equity & Diversity Council. 

Dr. Smith has been honored with several awards, including: the CRAC’s Anti-Racism Award (2010), the Academic Women’s Association’s ‘Academic Woman of the Year’ Award (2011), the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights inaugural ‘Human Rights Education Recognition Award’ (2013) and, most recently, the national ‘Equity Award’ from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (2015).

Registration Options Fee
Two Day Registration (Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February  20, 2016) $200.00
One Day Registration (Friday, February 19, 2016) $100.00
One Day Registration (Saturday, February 20, 2016)
Students $75.00
*The Inaugural Akua Benjamin Annual Public Lecture (Thursday, February 18, 2016) REGISTRATION CLOSED


*Please ensure to register for the Inaugural Akua Benjamin Annual Public Lecture only or in addition to your conference registration on the registration form above.

Group rates are available. Please contact us at for details.




Recommended Hotel:

The Chelsea Hotel is located in downtown Toronto, at 33 Gerrard Street West, a short 4-min walk from Ryerson University. You may call and book your room(s) toll free at 1-800-CHELSEA (243-5732) or 416-595-1975


Travel Information

International Delegates

Those traveling from abroad should consult Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding countries for which visa restrictions apply, as well as all other pertinent information required before making any travel plans. Please note that the application process can take several months.

Billy Bishop Airport

Located downtown on the Toronto Islands, Billy Bishop Airport is Canada's ninth busiest airport and welcomes more than two million travellers each year. In 2013, Billy Bishop Airport was recognized by Skytrax as one of the world's best small airports. It offers service to over 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connections to more than 80 international destinations through Porter and Air Canada. Make sure to use airport code YTZ when booking your flight to land on the Toronto Islands.

GO Transit

GO Transit is the regional public transit service for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, with routes extending to communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. They carry over 65 million passengers a year.  For more information on planning your trip, schedules and fares please visit GO Transit. For more information on accessibility throughout the network visit GO Transit Accessibility.

Toronto Coach Terminal

This terminal is the central bus station in downtown Toronto with service provided by GreyhoundCoach Canada and MegaBus. It is located at 610 Bay Street and is a 5-10 minute walk to Ryerson University. 

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Toronto Pearson is Canada’s largest and busiest airport, in Canada’s largest and busiest city. This architecturally stunning, completely functional and incredibly friendly airport is the hub for some 400,000 flights a year and over 38.6 million passengers annually.  Make sure to you use airport code YYZ when booking your flight into Pearson and view the Toronto Pearson Arrival Guide for details you need to know once you’ve landed. The airport is located approximately 31 km outside of Toronto and for travel downtown please refer to the UP Express information below.

UP Express

The Union Pearson Express departs from both Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport every 15 minutes. Your journey takes just 25 minutes; it's the swiftest and most reliable way to travel from the airport to downtown Toronto.

VIA Rail / Amtrak

Canada’s national train services all parts of the country through an extensive network.  VIA Rail has partnered with Amtrak on select routes which cross the border directly into Canada. In addition to booking online, you may also purchase tickets from their overseas sales agents.  If you are not familiar with Canada, visit VIA Rail’s international travellers section to facilitate the planning of your trip.


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