OASW Celebrates Black History Month

Each February, OASW joins our members from across the province in celebrating Black History Month. While the recognition of Black history, resilience, and excellence should occur each and everyday, OASW honours the many Black Canadians who have shaped and continue to impact our communities for the better. Our province is enriched by the contributions of Black Canadians across every sector.

Despite this, anti-Black racism persists in Canada and is embedded within our systems, structures, and the daily lived experience of Black Canadians. Present-day realities such as the overrepresentation of Black children and youth in child welfare, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities, and ongoing inequality in education, employment, and criminal justice, continue to occur. We honour the incredible work and contributions of Black social workers past and present who continue to resist and disrupt anti-Black racism at the individual, organizational, and community level, often at great professional and personal risk.

However, as a profession centered upon social justice and the inherent worth and dignity of all people, we all have an essential role to play in disrupting and eliminating anti-Black racism. OASW has made a commitment to equity integration, and this includes engaging with, and elevating the diverse voices and experiences of our Black social work members. It also includes training our staff and board and delivering courses and webinars that are grounded in an anti-Black racism lens.

During this Black History Month, OASW joins with the United Nations General Assembly and the international community in “recognizing that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.” Recognizing the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), we encourage our members to participate in professional development offered by OASW and our Local Engagement Networks to address anti-Black racism, celebrate Black history, cultures and thought leadership in our profession and engage in critical self-reflection on our own complicity in anti-Blackness and our responsibility in disrupting and dismantling anti-Black racism.

Celebrate, Learn and Reflect

February 9, 16 and 23

Sankofa Back to Africa: Panel Series on Africentric Social Work Serving African, Caribbean & Black Communities
Presented by OASW Local Engagement Networks, Carleton University's School of Social Work, the Carleton University Bachelor of Social Work Student Society, the Centre for Studies on Poverty and Social Citizenship, and Memorial University

February 3, March 3, and April 7
Facilitated Discussion on Addressing Racism
Presented by OASW Local Engagement Networks

February 16
CBT Approaches for Racial Trauma
Presented by Dr. Sanjay Rao, MBBS, MD, FRCPsych, FRCPC, MBA and the OASW Learning Centre

February 22
Difficult Dialogues: Anti-Black Racism in Canada
Presented by Marci Gray, MSW, RSW and the OASW Learning Centre

February 25
They Have Always Been Here: Honouring Black Social Workers in Canada
Presented by OASW London & Area

Ontario Black History Society

Association of Black Social Workers

Toronto Public Library: Virtual Black History Programs, Special Events & Reading Lists

National Film Board of Canada: Black Communities in Canada, A Rich History

International Decade for People of African Descent

Canadian Heritage: Black History Month

About OASW
OASW is the voice of social work in Ontario. It is a voluntary, bilingual, non-profit association representing 8,000+ social workers. All members have a university degree in social work at the bachelor, master or doctoral level. OASW works to actively speak on behalf of social workers on issues of interest to the profession and advocates for the improvement of social policies and programs directly affecting social work practice and client groups served.