On behalf of Kensington Health’s leadership, I want to wish you a happy Black History Month!
Every February, we celebrate and honour the contributions made by Black Canadians to our society and pause to reflect on the work we must all do to tackle barriers that still exist for Black people today.
Black History is, truly, Canadian history. In fact, just around the corner from our campus is an area that is rich with Black History. Still, despite the community’s long history in Toronto, it is disheartening to see that they still face deep, painful inequities rooted in systemic racism even today.
2020 brought a wake-up call so many were making for generations before: black lives matter, and we have to work together to make our society more just. The message of this movement was amplified by the fact that it coincided with a global pandemic that disproportionately affected the Black community.
As a community-based health care organization it was important for us to learn and take action. I wrote to you in the summer committing Kensington Health to strengthen its equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, with a focus on Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous racism. I want to take this opportunity to report back on the progress we have made so far:
- Issued an all-staff diversity and inclusion survey to learn more about how our colleagues feel about Kensington. A large majority of respondents said they want to have more learning opportunities about equity, diversity and inclusion issues at work and in their personal lives.
- Began Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) training with Kensington Health’s Board of Directors. To affect meaningful change, it is important that every level of our organization receives training and education.
- Kensington has invested in a membership with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. As a member, every employee will have access to bi-weekly educational webinars, resources, toolkits and more. You will hear more about how you can access this wealth of information in the coming weeks.
- Created the Manager, Health Equity and Community Relations position. In this role, Sagal Ali will work closely with colleagues across the organization to develop an equity, diversity and inclusion strategy for Kensington. She will take an equity lens to the way people work, live and receive care at Kensington.
- Bringing on a Health Equity Clinical Lead. We are recruiting a clinician who will join us for about half a day a week to assess whether the care we provide our residents and patients is truly inclusive. The clinician will begin their assessment at the Hospice.
I want to thank the W.R.A.P. Committee for planning this year’s Black History Month activities. While we can’t come together in person, they have come up with virtual ways we can continue our collective education about Black History and raise much-needed awareness of the work still ahead.
President and CEO