What is the BLC – History and Ryerson
Black Liberation Collectives are an international movement of students challenging anti-Black racism in post-secondary institutions in every way that it manifests. The BLC in Canada began as a solidarity movement with the students a Missouri University at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University in 2015. More recently, the Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson re-emerged when students in the School of Social Work said enough is enough and took to task the School, the Faculty of Community Services and Ryerson University. This work also centered solidarity by working closely with Indigenous students who formed a collective called Indigenous Students Rising. Through direct action work and not taking no for an answer, mobilizing students, faculty and staff, the BLC-Ryerson achieved many wins to ensure fundamental changes to Black life on campus. However the work continues, and anti-Black racism still exists at Ryerson, and we are still struggling to survive every day as individual students on this campus and in this City.
Our collective operates from a theoretical lens of anti-Black racism. This means we actively make space for and include all Black people through elevating, supporting and including the most marginalized in our communities. We understand that liberation for the most marginalized means liberation for us all. We have the opportunity to be a part of a movement better that builds upon and betters the knowledge of our predecessors to ensure liberation of Black peoples/students in the multiple ways we live: as Queer, Trans*, gender non-conforming, women, men, Disabled, Mad, newcomer/immigrant, parents, children youth/young peoples, former Wards of child welfare (the list continues).
The Pillars of Black Liberation Collective-Ryerson:
Community: We want BLC to be a space for Black students to come and build community while also being political. This means finding ways to support each other academically, and finding ways to build community around Blackness. We also hope to collaborate with other groups on campus and across various campuses, specifically with Black and Indigenous Student groups.
Action: What makes BLC unique is our social justice orientation, specifically through action-based work. The action focuses on planning and doing direct-action work in creative ways, and having to liaison with administration following actions.
Education: most of us can agree that we aren’t learning what we want to be learning or are missing out on so much knowledge and skills regardless. Workshops on financial literacy, active listening, languages of love, white supremacy, undoing toxic masculinity, solidarity etc.