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The Faculty of Community Services Welcomes Professor Abdillahi as Advisor to the Dean on Anti-Black Racism

A message from Dean Lisa Barnoff
September 09, 2020
Idil Abdillahi

As part of our ongoing commitment to addressing Anti-Black racism at the Faculty of Community Services, I am pleased to be able to announce that we have appointed assistant professor Idil Abdillahi, from the School of Disability Studies, into a newly created role as Advisor to the Dean on Anti-Black Racism. This new position is effective September 1, 2020, for a one-year term. Abdillahi’s main responsibility will be to provide leadership to all aspects of our Anti-Black Racism Action Plan, which was originally announced on June 10, 2020, and which will continue to evolve over time. Please join with me in welcoming Idil Abdillahi to this new role. We look forward to her leadership and to her contributions to our continued efforts to confront Anti-Black racism and to provide an improved educational experience for Black students. 

A critical interdisciplinary scholar, Idil Abdillahi has published on a wide array of topics, such as mental health, poverty, HIV/AIDS, organizational development, and several other key policy areas at the intersection of BlackLife and state interruption. Most notably, Abdillah’s cutting-edge research and scholarship on anti-Black Sanism has informed the current debates on fatal police shootings of Black mad-identified peoples. In 2017, her theorizing helped inform the inquest of Andrew Loku, one among the litany of Black men killed by Police Services in the Greater Toronto Area. Abdillahi comes to this work with over 15 years of direct practice experience in the social service sector. She has been a frontline social worker, supervisor, clinical educator, and has also served in leadership and governance roles. Her theorizing on carceral care, and her years of work with people incarcerated across Canada, has informed her desire to challenge the sustainability of Canada’s carceral institutions. 

Abdillahi is a founding member of the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) and currently serves as vice-chair of the board of directors. Her lengthy history as a practitioner in clinical, forensic and grassroots settings led to her being honoured with several awards and accolades for her work in mental health in Toronto. Upon transitioning to the academy in 2012, she was nominated as a “professor who made a mark”, and later won the prestigious Viola Desmond Award, celebrating the achievements of Black Canadian Women. 

Abdillahi and Rinaldo Walcott co-published BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom in 2019 with ARP Books. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, "Blackened Madness: Medicalization, and Black Everyday Life in Canada”, which will also be published by ARP press. Abdillahi is currently the newest addition to the editorial team of Mad Matters: A Critical Reader In Canadian Mad Studies, where she will be co-editing the latest edition of the text alongside Brenda LeFrancois, Robert Menzies and Geoffrey Reaume. 

In 2017, along with Simon Black and Howard Grandison, Abdillahi produced the documentary “It Takes A Riot: Race. Rebellion. Reform”, a film marking the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Yonge Street Uprising in Toronto. Abdillahi is a community organizer, public intellectual and academic, unapologetically committed to the freedom, fight and joy of BlackLife in this city, province and country.