About the BECL

Find out more about Black Excellence Community Library and why it was started.

This Black Excellence Community Library gives everyone an opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of Black heritage and culture.

People from African and Caribbean backgrounds from all over the world have been a fundamental part of Canadian history for centuries. However, their value and contribution to society is often overlooked, ignored or distorted. Historically, Black history has been omitted and one-sided to conjure up to give a false narrative that is still believed by people today. Most schools in Canada still teach a history curriculum which focuses on traditional events and achievements of non-black figures.

All too often, our contribution to sports and entertainment are showcased, yet our inventions and vast contributions to science, math, engineering, the arts, education and film are often erased. Only the most negative aspects of African and Caribbean culture and communities are highlighted.

This repository of books, videos, movies, essays, poems, inventions, highlights the historical achievements and accomplishments, as well as the fight and struggle of people of African descent. More importantly, the truth about Black history, that goes beyond stories of racism and slavery, from the Aksumite Kingdom, the Kingdom of Ghana, the Ashanti, Mali and Benin Empires, al the way to the inventions that are used worldwide today (like traffic lights, gas masks and the elevator) are documented.

This library helps us to remember the historic leaders of the Black community who deserve to be honoured for the sacrifice and suffering they endured for the sake of racial equality.

We hope you enjoy navigating your way through this virtual experience!

ABR-Task Force

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

Equality – Everyone has the opportunity to read the same book

Diversity – A broad range of different books are available

Equity – Books on relevant subjects that are important to those who want to read them are available

Acceptance – the agreement that different people read different kinds of books

Belonging – accessing the books that are right for you without fear of being judged, banned or persecuted

Intersectionality – Books with content covering multicultural overlaps are available to everyone

Justice/Allyship – speaking out to make sure books are not kept from those who should have access to them even if they don’t interest you.

About the ABR-Task Force

After attending a training on Anti-Black racism in 2019, several committed and dedicated staff came together to debrief the training and discuss the impacts of Anti-Black Racism within the wider community.

Staff continued to discuss and dissect what their role could be moving forward as an organization and how they could help identify deficiencies within the ABR structure, to start conversations and raise awareness. From this grew Strides’ Anti-Black-Racism Task Force, led by Black staff and those working towards allyship. Systemic racism is a structural and social determinant of health. By acknowledging that Anti-Black Racism (ABR) exists, this task force is committed to identifying, scrutinizing, challenging, and dismantling systemic racism that dates back to colonialism.
Strides Toronto is committed to directly addressing and eradicating Anti-Black Racism. By promoting awareness of the issues, ABR Task Force (ABR-TF) members contribute to various department, management, program, other partner meetings and tables when invited, or if needed. The ABR Taskforce also provides actionable recommendations to change existing measures and help consult on the transformations that need to be made with an ABR focus.

Have a question?

If you’re looking for more information, have a suggestion or would like to make a contribution to the library, please reach out!