TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the BlackNorth Initiative, led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, announced a partnership with the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University to support their anti-Black systemic racism efforts.
Through this partnership, the BlackNorth Initiative will contribute $65,000 to the Cecil Allan Fraser Bursary. Inspired by the desire to improve representation of Black law students at Queen’s, the bursary provides financial support to Black Canadian or visible minority/racialized students enrolled in the JD program. The Faculty of Law at Queen’s University is contributing $100,000 to the Fraser Bursary.
“The BlackNorth Initiative is committed to the removal of anti-Black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians,” said Wes Hall, Founder and Chair of the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. “Today, we are proud to support a meaningful initiative to ensure barriers are continuously removed for Black students, creating equal opportunity.”
Additionally, David Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer of Bridging Finance Inc. and a member of BlackNorth’s Board of Directors and Indigenous Observer Committee, and Walied Soliman, Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and a member of BlackNorth’s Board of Directors and Legal Committee have each agreed to personally contribute $10,000 for a total donation of $85,000.
“It is an honour to support the BlackNorth Initiative and its donation to Queen’s Faculty of Law for the Cecil Allan Fraser Bursary,” said Mr. Sharpe. “It is crucial that there is equality of opportunity for Black students. I am committed to this initiative and to enhancing the lives of Indigenous people.”
“The legal profession succeeds in Canada because of the rule of law, however if citizens do not see themselves reflected in its advocates and judiciary, the profession will have failed,” added Mr. Soliman. “Sadly, Black lawyers and judges are significantly underrepresented in the legal profession. This must change.”
The Cecil Allan Fraser Bursary commemorates the laudable efforts of Cecil Allan Fraser, B.A. 1958, LL.B. 1961, the first Black student and graduate of Queen’s University Law. To many, Cecil is a pioneer in the Canadian legal profession and embodies the Faculty of Law’s motto, “Soit droit fait” (Let law be made/Let right be done). The bursary was established as a joint initiative between the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) Queen's Chapter and the Queen's Pre-Law Society.
“The Faculty of Law at Queen’s University is honored to be working with the BlackNorth Initiative to end anti-Black systematic racism in our institutions,” said Mark Walters, Dean of the Queen’s University Faculty of Law. “This is only the beginning. The Faculty of Law is committed to learning and leading by example, which includes further diversifying our student body. We must ensure our law school truly reflects the diversity of Canadian society.”
For more information on the Cecil Allan Fraser Bursary, please visit www.givetoqueens.ca/index.php/project/view/1247.
About the BlackNorth Initiative:
The BlackNorth Initiative was created by The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism to combat anti-Black systemic racism in Corporate Canada. The initiative challenges senior Canadian business leaders to commit their companies to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.