Enriching two-day event puts the spotlight on the relevance of challenging Anti-Black racism in nursing and in the classroom

On November 20-21, Professors Priscilla Boakye and Nadia Prendergast from Toronto Metropolitan University’s Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing offered an enriching two-day event on The relevance of challenging Anti-Black racism at the Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN). The event was organized by ISoN faculty Anne-Laurie Beaubrun, Josée Lavallée, Kimani Daniel, Julie Fréchette and Marianne Sofronas as part of ISoN’s Black Community Engagement Initiative. Three separate workshops geared towards different audiences were offered: Nursing Development Forum for PhD students and postdocs, Understanding and Challenging Anti-Black Racism in Nursing Education, for Black community members and ISoN students, and a “lunch and learn” session for faculty titled Challenging Anti-Black Racism in the Classroom.

At the special Nursing Development Forum for PhD students and postdocs, Professors Prendergast and Boakye presented their work on epistemic racism in the context of nursing theory development. They led a thoughtful seminar that reviewed and challenged the assumptions underlying nursing theories and paradigms. Participants were invited to take a critical, decolonizing lens to dominant theoretical approaches in nursing, and develop new theoretical insights and approaches to challenge racism and to promote diversity and inclusion in nursing.

During the community and student workshop, Professors Boakye and Prendergast defined anti-Black racism as “prejudices, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination directed at people of Black descent, rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy.” They pointed out that anti- Black racism is embedded in every facet of society, from the workplace to healthcare, from sports to entertainment, from education to culture and more. Professors Prendergast and Boakye noted the importance of critical allyship which they defined as open and explicit support for marginalized groups and taking action to support these groupsOne community partner commented “I’ve attended many events addressing anti-black racism, but this event really got me reflecting on the issue and was very interactive”.

The session for faculty zeroed in on how to implement an educational resource An Introduction to Anti-Racism for the Nursing Professional: A Focus on Anti-Black Racism that was created by Professor Prendergast in collaboration with nursing students. Built on four pillars – awareness, empathy, relationality, and advocacy – the course explores how the history and legacy of anti-Black racism continues to impact health and healthcare in Canada while introducing nursing professionals to Black, Indigenous, Chinese and Muslim nurses who have had profound impacts on the nursing profession and on society as a whole. Participating faculty members noted that this workshop allowed them to pause and reflect on this critical topic and acknowledged that there is more work to do to incorporate an anti-racist lens into our curriculum.

Professors Boakye and Prendergast with the committee that organized their two-day visit to the Ingram School of Nursing