Black History Month: Uniting in solidarity to confront injustice and inequity

February 7, 2024

As we honour Black History Month, it is imperative to reflect on the current state of society and midwifery's role in advancing racial justice and human rights. Recent events have highlighted a dangerous regression in our collective efforts to combat anti-Black racism and promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, particularly in workplaces and educational institutions. We are witnessing challenges to DEI initiatives, with some labeling them as discriminatory. Black people rising to success continue to face extraordinary tests and attempts to shame them.

This past year has been especially tumultuous, underscoring the urgency for midwives to remain vigilant about the rhetoric we are witnessing. We cannot take for granted the DEI and racial justice advancements made in the profession. It is crucial for us to continue learning, exercising compassion, and upholding humanity in our practice. When we work collectively to dismantle systemic racism and oppression for one group, it benefits all. Our efforts to dismantle systemic racism, oppression and inequity in midwifery will have far-reaching impacts.

Let us uphold the principles of equity and justice as we honour Black history and futures, uniting in solidarity to confront injustice and inequity wherever we may find it, and amplifying the contributions of Black leaders in our communities. This year's Black History Month theme is Black Excellence and the Art of Resistance, highlighting the impacts of Black Canadians and how the arts have been used as a platform for social justice. Many Black leaders and artists have used the power of education and their artistic crafts to speak truth to power, uplift and empower communities, advocate for social justice and more.

Black community leaders, midwives and educators like Karline Wilson-Mitchell, RM, and Dr. JoAnne Rori have helped develop a Black Birth Care Masterclass as an opportunity to drive advocacy for African diasporic families and learn from a panel of Black doctors and community elders on African ancestral teachings and practices used in African American Postpartum care and more. (Register for the Black Birth Care Masterclass.)

See this video of AOM’s President Elect Althea Jones, RM, on Episode 5 of CBC’s For the Culture series with Amanda Parris which dives into the standards of care necessary for Black birthing people to feel safe in childbirth. Read Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey, a call to action and manifesto for those searching for justice and longing for liberation from grind culture, rooted in spiritual energy and centered in Black liberation, womanism, somatics, and Afrofuturism.

Attend one of the many events celebrating Black History Month around Ontario, like Why? by Matthew Burnett, showcasing the award-winning Hip Hop and R&B producer's creative musical journey exploring Black music and belonging, and the Just Us photographic exhibition, showcasing StreetARToronto's mural projects raising awareness around social injustice and supporting equity, race relations and community engagement related to Black lives and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other equity-deserving groups. See more upcoming events below:

2024 Black History Month Events in Ontario

Check out the “External Events & Webinars” section of the Racial Equity Toolkit to stay up to date on on upcoming events.