Visit RNAO’s In Focus page on Black Nurses

This week RNAO celebrated Black History Month with the launch of the Black Nurses Task Force (BNTF) final report. The report tackles head-on structural racism within nursing organizations, regulatory bodies, associations and the broader health system. Please scroll down for the media release summarizing the findings and recommendations in the report.

I invite you to visit RNAO’s In Focus webpage on Black Nurses and RNAO, which captures the comprehensive and challenging work that RNAO is doing, led by outstanding Black nursing leaders.

Through this work, RNAO vows to address the systemic racism that exists within the nursing profession, as well as all health sectors and academic settings. The association and its members acknowledge the grief, distress and trauma brought on by centuries of historical injustices and discrimination experienced by Black nurses, their loved ones and their communities. RNAO is acting in partnership with its Black members, colleagues and their allies to mobilize change.

RNAO has had three Black presidents in its history: Dr. Jocelyn Hezekiah from 1979-1981, the late Dr. Joan Lesmond from 2004-2006 and Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite from 2018-2020. Dr. Claudette Holloway became RNAO’s president-elect in June 2021 and will be our president from 2022 to 2024.

The In Focus page describes the journey leading to the BNTF. Our COVID-19 webinar series focused on the topic of Let’s Talk about Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination in Nursing starting in June 2020, as a group of passionate nurses engaged in meaningful conversations about experiences of and solutions to tackle systemic racism in Ontario and within our health system. RNAO announced in June 2020 the search for panelist members in the BNTF striving to reach the mandate of actively tackling anti-Black racism within the nursing profession. RNAO Past-President Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite and nurse practitioner Corsita Garraway served as BNTF co-chairs.

In July 2021 RNAO’s BOD approved the application of the Black Nurses Leading Change (BNLC) to become an interest group of RNAO co-chaired by Daria Adèle Jüudi-Hope and Dania Versailles. BNLC supports the work of RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force and continues to inform RNAO and its members on issues affecting Black nurses and nursing students. BNLC advocates for anti-racism, offers mentorship, provides continuing education and a safe space for Black nurses and nursing students – and their allies – to network and interact with each other.

Read further on the In Focus page about RNAO’s partnerships and engagements, including the commemoration of Emancipation Day, Black History Month and Black August. Read as well RNAO’s position statement on racism and our letter to the College of Nurses of Ontario urging for the collection of race-based and Indigenous identity data. Learn also about capacity building as well as RNAO and Black nurses in the media.

Finally, in the In Focus page, learn how RNAO staff are leading change through the RNAO Black Colleagues Task Force.