Webinar Series Recap: January 29 & February 14 | Working Together Against Anti-Black Racism in Ontario’s Youth Sector

Part One: Monday, Jan 29, 2018
1:00pm-2:30pm EST

Part Two: Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018
1:00pm-2:30pm EST

How can Ontario’s youth sector work against anti-Black racism to create a more equitable Ontario, eliminating systemic, race-based disparities for Black children and youth? 

This two-part webinar series facilitated by Rania El Mugammar explored how the youth sector can work together against the pervasive anti-Black racism that Black youth experience across multiple systems in Ontario. Each webinar featured interactive and insightful conversations with our guests, drawing from their rich research, practice, and lived experiences to deepen our understanding of how diverse Black youth are impacted by anti-Black racism, and to explore strategies for creating a more equitable Ontario. This series provided an opportunity for the youth sector to share knowledge and experiences to support Black youth.

Part One of this series took place on Monday, January 29th. Our special guests included Cyril Cromwell, Learning and Development Manager, YouthREX; Dr. Martha Kuwee Kumsa, Professor, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfred Laurier University; and Joshua “Scribe” Watkis, Storyteller.

Part Two of this series took place on Wednesday, February 14th. Our special guests included Julet Allen, Program Director, Delta Family Resource Centre; Travonne Edwards, Youth Program Design & Development Associate, YouthREX; and Kofi Hope, Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals.

Webinar Resources: 

  1. Report: Doing Right Together For Black Youth: What We Learned From The Community Engagement Sessions For The Ontario Black Youth Action Plan
  2. Factsheet: Top Ten Issues For Black Youth And Their Families
  3. Factsheet: Working Together To Do Right For Black Youth
  4. Academic Literature: The Contours Of Anti-Black Racism: Engaging Anti-Oppression From Embodied Spaces
  5. Slides: Part One (January 29th) and Part Two (February 14th)

Continue the conversation by sending us your practice-able ideas, strategies, questions, and comments for working together in supporting Black youth against pervasive anti-Black racism. We will share these to encourage an ongoing dialogue on working together against anti-Black racism.

Rania El Mugammar  |  @raniawrites
Webinar Series Facilitator

Rania is a Sudanese Canadian NPO Director, Artist, Arts Educator, Equity and Anti-oppression Educator & Consultant, performer, speaker, and published writer. As a writer, Rania’s work explores themes of identity, womanhood, Blackness, flight, exile, migration, belonging, gender, sexuality, and beyond. Rania’s primary mediums are poetry, spoken word, and oral storytelling. She is a published poet, storyteller, and playwright. Rania is deeply interested in poetic form and the auditory texture of words as well as the visual/aesthetic impact of language and form.

She is a member of the St. Jamestown Collective Impact Steering Committee, a member of the Leaders Panel for the Economic Development and Culture Strategic Plan at the City of Toronto. Rania is the also the lead equity consultant for RECENTRE, Equity director of B Inc at Bcurrent Performing Arts, and co-founder of the How to be an Ally Series at the Centre for Social Innovation.

Rania is an experienced anti-oppression, equity, inclusion, and liberation educator and consultant who is unflinchingly committed to decolonization and freedom as the ultimate goals of her work. She has worked extensively with contemporary arts institutions, STEM-based enterprises, media organizations, educational institutions, and community/grassroots spaces. Rania has worked with hundreds of organizations, collectives, and institutions including VIBE Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, Daniels Spectrum, Trinity Square Video, Toronto Cultural Music Lab, Canadian Art Magazine, Bcurrent, Toronto Arts Council, the University of Michigan, Canadian Art Magazine, TPW Gallery, Peel Dufferin Catholic District School Board, Regent Park Focus, and beyond.

Julet Allen
Program Director
Delta Family Resource Centre

Julet is currently the Program Director at Delta Family Resource Centre. Before joining Delta, she worked with Toronto Community Housing, the second largest social housing provider in North America, for 15 years, where she was both a Community Health and Youth Manager. Julet is also the founder of Transformative Community Education Network, an organization that builds the capacity of frontline youth workers in partnership with York University.

She has worked and volunteered in the African Canadian community for over 25 years as a trainer, youth advocate, and community development worker. She has facilitated many sessions in Toronto on anti-oppression, racism, youth development, and equity. More recently, she facilitated the expert panel on race-based data collection for the City’s anti-Black racism initiative.

Julet holds both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Social Work and has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 25 years focusing on African youth and the Black community, poverty reduction, social justice, and mental health. This past year, she has been working closely with both the Toronto Children’s Aid and Catholic Children’s Aid to address the over-representation of African youth in the Child Welfare system.

She has been a champion for those who have been marginalized by systemic oppression. Julet continues to work with communities and individuals on issues of equity and social justice by creating partnerships with local government, key stakeholders, and community builders who are invested in seeing those on the margins be seen as equal contributors to society.

Cyril Cromwell  |  @CyrilCromwell
Learning and Development Manager
Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX)

Cyril is a social justice advocate and community educator. As a proponent of Social Justice, Cyril has led professional development and media art projects across the Greater Toronto Area and abroad for over a decade. To support young people, particularly those who may be facing multiple social barriers, Cyril has presented media education workshops in community centres, local and international high schools, open custody detention centres, and in his photography studio. As a community educator and PhD candidate, Cyril is passionate about addressing the contradictions that are discreetly embedded within the social service sector and exploring how subtle systemic (power) structuring may be undermining well-meaning and even charitable interventions/intentions. As a former front-line youth worker, Cyril is interested in amplifying the voices of young people and grassroots youth workers in research and policy to reduce the gap that often exists between theory and practice.

Travonne Edwards
Youth Program Design & Development Associate
Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX)

Travonne is an experienced Child and Youth Worker with a demonstrated history of working in post-secondary education institutions. He has a strong educational background; he came to Ryerson University in 2014 with a Child and Youth Care (CYC) worker advanced diploma from Sheridan College, earned his CYC Bachelor’s degree from Ryerson in 2016, and is a member of the first graduating class of their Child and Youth Care Master’s program.

After completing his undergrad, he worked as a teaching and research assistant in the School of Child and Youth Care, a behavioural teaching assistant in the Peel District School Board, a child and youth worker for the Children’s Aid Society in Peel, for privatized residential group and foster homes, and as a child and youth worker professor at Sheridan, George Brown, and Seneca College. Currently, he is working as the Provincial Youth Program Design Associate at YouthREX, and has aspirations of pursuing his PhD in Education at York University.

Kofi Hope  |  @kofi_hope
Executive Director
CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals (CEE)

Kofi is a Rhodes Scholar, Doctor of Philosophy in Politics, community activist, and youth advocate. He has over 15 years of experience in managing community-based programs. Kofi was the 2017 winner of the Jane Jacobs Prize, for his work improving the City of Toronto. In 2005, he founded the Black Youth Coalition Against Violence, a group which advocated for real solutions to the issue of gun violence. This advocacy work included a presentation for then Prime Minister Paul Martin and led to him being named one of the Top Ten People to Watch in Toronto in 2006 by The Toronto Star.

Currently, he is the Executive Director of the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals (CEE), a non-profit which creates economic opportunities for Black youth in Toronto. He has delivered over 100 speaking engagements in Canada and the UK, was co-chair of Olivia Chow’s election advisory committee in 2014, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Atkinson Foundation and Toronto Environmental Alliance. Kofi has been featured widely in the Canadian media, including: Metro Morning, Canada AM, TVO’s The Agenda, Ontario Today, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and CP24. A global traveler, he has visited 22 countries around the world and calls Toronto, Ontario, home.

Dr. Martha Kuwee Kumsa
Professor, Faculty of Social Work
Wilfred Laurier University

Martha‘s broad interdisciplinary research interests include issues of identity and belonging, the meaning of home and homeland in the era of heightened globalization, grassroots spirituality, indigeneity and transnationality, and youth violence and the practices of healing and liberation. Issues of social justice and human rights sit at the heart of her scholarship and her utmost practice interest is the development of strategies for critical self-reflexivity as a way of engaging injustice and the violation of human rights.

Joshua “Scribe” Watkis  |  @ThisIsScribe

A lifetime immersed in the performing arts has made Joshua entirely devoted to the gift of storytelling. Through Spoken Word Poetry and Hip-Hop, he has taken thousands into his world to experience it as he does. The Toronto-born poet has performed on stages across Canada, appeared on CBC, and has even opened for the legendary Hip-Hop band The Roots with The Uncharted collective. Scribe is an Arts Educator and event organizer as well, on the Board of Directors for BAM! Youth Slam and a curator for the Roots Lounge Open Mic & Poetry Slam. His goal is not only to bring his audiences through his story, but to gift them with the courage to do what he calls the “bravest act on Earth.” To share their own stories, in their words, out loud.