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These Hashtags Capture The Experiences Of Being Black In Toronto & The GTA

Last month, The Black Experience Project in Toronto and the GTA created an open online dialogue on Twitter using the hashtags #BlackInThe416 and #BlackInThe905.

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Some of the entries were pretty hilarious.

#Blackinthe416 means being ready to defend @Drake from all haters once you step outside the 416. 👊

#Blackinthe905 meant holdin' it down in Durham before all ya'll Scarboro folk started your exodus out East! Lol

But the dialogue quickly shifted to something more heartfelt and sincere.

#Blackinthe416 means immersing our young people in positivity, optimism & resilience to navigate complexity @BEP_GTA


This is #Blackinthe416 and #carefreeblackgirl Sometimes just being & loving yourself is the best form of resistance

#Blackinthe416 means breathing the deepest sighs of relief, gratitude and affirmation when #Afrofest comes around

The hashtags were then used to express the lack of black Canadian history being taught in classrooms.

#Blackinthe905 means only learning about Black history in school during BHM & even then more American & limited #BlackCanadian history

#Blackinthe416 means having zero cultural memory b/c we don't celebrate/document/honor/remember the artists who paved the way


#Blackinthe416 means the history of Black Loyalists in Canada is a foreign topic

#Blackinthe905 means the complex history of an extensive Black presence in the GTA is not taught in most classrooms.

As well as the lack of black narratives being shared through mainstream outlets.

#Blackinthe416 means never seeing your stories or experiences depicted on Canadian television

#Blackinthe416 means not being recognized by your city for your art until south of the border starts reppin' you


And what the black community in Toronto and the GTA are doing about it.

#Blackinthe416 is Black students creating safe and healthy spaces for creative and unapologetic expression on their campuses

#blackinthe905 means creating culturally centered spaces for myself and others who look like me

#ubuntudrumming continuing 2 create avenues where the youth feel safe to learn about their history #Blackinthe416

Some tweets discussed the black experience in the workplace.

#Blackinthe905 means working twice as hard. What does it mean to you?


#Blackinthe416 is stl having 2explain how hurtful it is when the N-bomb gets dropped @ work. Young Black ppl throwing it around doesn't help

#blackinthe416 in the corporate world means being the only or one of two Black people in the department

While others brought up the complexities and intersections of their black identities.

#Blackinthe905 means wishing for more programs, services & events for Black people with similar intersections as me (Queer/trans/disabled).

#Blackinthe416 means balancing your identities as woman, Muslim, & Caribbean-descent in spite of those that seek to ignore them all.


#Blackinthe416 means recognizing that Black is not synonymous with African American. It encompasses so many cultures, languages, religions

And shined some much-needed light on the polite, covert ignorance and racism that's often ignored in Toronto and surrounding areas.

RT @amanda_parris: #Blackinthe416 means having to teach people that racism exists here

Being #BlackInThe416 means being labeled "angry" if you speak up for yourself or challenge mainstream Canadian ideas.

#Blackinthe416 #Blackinthe905 means holding my breathe when my only daughter leaves our home for fear of police brutality, carding n' hatred


#Blackinthe416 means getting carded over 10 times while being under age 18.

But most importantly and above all else, Twitter users discussed being proud of who they are, and where they're from.

#Blackinthe416 means being proud of my ancestry. What does it mean to you?

#Blackinthe416 meanings surrounding myself with #afrikanwoman who remind me of my #beauty everytime!

#Blackinthe416 means rocking my natural in all its beauty. What does it mean to you?