OMERS Ventures
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OMERS Ventures

Recognizing Black history month: a learning journey

This past year many people who’ve had the privilege of never having to think about race woke up to the importance of educating themselves about structural racism and responsible allyship. This is not the first time conversations about equity have crossed into the mainstream of course, but there are signs that the messages about listening to hear and learn, not simply to respond; about the damage that performative allyship does, are taking hold.

In thinking about how to mark this month in an authentic way we thought it would be useful to share some of the resources that our own employees have curated, in recognition and celebration of Black history month.

The multicultural alliance employee resource group in OMERS, our parent company, is made up of people who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of colour and their allies. The group challenges the company to meaningfully engage with issues of inclusion and equity. When thinking about startup founders and the broader tech ecosystem, we thought it would be helpful to share some of the curated lists of resources to read, watch and listen to, as recommended (and shared with permission) by the multicultural alliance. If you have others to add to the list, we’d love to hear about them.

There is no ‘quick fix’ to systemic issues, but that doesn’t diminish the urgency to learn as much as you can, and expose yourself to stories you’ve not yet heard.

Great short reads

Autobiographies and non-fiction

This curated anti-racist reading list published by Elle magazine last year is also highly recommended.

Entertaining and astute podcasts

Must watch:

The team suggests a great starting point for things to watch is this list from “Anti-Racism Resources For My White Friends and Readers” by Shani Silver, which includes many of the following titles (not including links because our readers are in lots of different countries!):

Documentaries

  • 13th
  • When They See Us
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967–1975
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • King In The Wilderness
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Features

  • American Son (Kenny Leon)
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu)
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien)
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton)
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol)
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay)
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.)

If you have other recommendations to add to these lists we’d love to hear them!

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OMERS Ventures

OMERS Ventures

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OMERS Ventures is a multi-stage VC investor in growth-oriented, disruptive tech companies across North America and Europe.