Formed in 2022, the York University Black Staff Network (YUBSN) is a volunteer network governed by an elected executive committee that serves as a place of engagement, support and community for Black-identifying staff at the University.
To mark Black History Month, YUBSN has officially launched its website and extends an invitation to Black-identifying employees from across the University to join the network, which currently has 80 members.
“York University is a big place, whether you are just starting out or you’re a long-service employee, just knowing that you are not alone can help to foster a sense of community and belonging,” said Annette Boodram, inaugural Chair of YUBSN. “The COVID-19 pandemic made connecting with colleagues quite difficult. To alleviate these difficulties, the YUBSN facilitates opportunities for networking, professional development and overall advancement of Black employees so that they can find their fit at York.”
As part of its engagement and education activities, the YUBSN hosts a book club that fosters robust discussions on titles, such as Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta, that bring the community together to learn about and discuss topics and subjects that matter.
YUBSN recognizes the impactful work of Black writers who have provided insight into the struggles and triumphs of their community through the power of words and literary imagery.
“Writers that center the Black experience and deepen our knowledge help bring about healing and community building,” says Karen Traboulay, member of the executive team and communications co-lead for the YUBSN.
YUBSN has also established the YUBSN Black Health and Wellness Club for health-conscious individuals. The club, which meets for a walk on Wednesdays at noon, shares motivational content that supports each other’s health and wellness goals.
In addition to being a peer support group, the network engages with senior leaders on institutional projects and decisions that aim to improve experiences for Black employees at York, such as the Black Inclusion Framework and Action Plan, Black Advisory Council, and the Security Services Review.
According to YUBSN Vice-Chair Alicia Pinter, “YUBSN is committed to Black excellence and inclusion through networking, collaboration and knowledge-sharing.”
All non-academic employees who self-identify as Black are welcome to join.
Visit the YUBSN website to learn more.