From spoken word to racism in healthcare, last month, more than 250 Black TDSB students participated in over half a dozen workshops at the 2022 Black Brilliance Scarborough Conference.
The Leonard Braithwaite Africentric Program in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement came together this April to host the virtual conference. It gathered Black-identifying students from several Scarboorugh secondary schools within Toronto District School Board and neighbouring communities for a day of student-led workshops and networking. The day included building student advocacy by connecting students with staff allies, professionals and community-based resources. Students also heard from the day’s keynote speaker Jeff A.D. Martin, an author, life coach and motivational speaker who spoke to secondary students about striving for greatness in spite of the obstacles that life can put in your path, making sure that students use the resources around them to persevere and also knowing how to self-advocate.
Black students from 19 different TDSB schools participated in the conference this year.
This student-led conference is a safe space for Black-identifying students to share knowledge, strategies, and solutions to the issues they face across the system, while also helping make the TDSB more inclusive and eliminate the barriers and challenges that are unique to Black students.
Students were able to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments and challenges faced by Black students, particularly in Scarborough. Those in attendance had the opportunity to attend eight different workshops, each with a different focus on the Black identity and the challenges and joys it brings. The workshops were led by eight TDSB schools, which were: Agincourt C.I., Albert Campbell C.I., Cedarbrae C.I., L'Amoreaux C.I., R.H. King Academy, Stephen Leacock C.I., West Hill C.I., and Winston Churchill C.I.
The day’s workshops were as follows:
- Black Dance - How We Move to the Beat: Students explore four different dance forms: Afrobeat, Soca, Dancehall and Hip Hop, and learn about the ways they were also used to resist oppression.
- Microaggressions and Cultural Appropriation: This interactive workshop provides overviews of Microaggressions and Cultural Appropriation. Participants will leave with a better understanding of both concepts as well as tools to best identify, manage and educate others when they are confronted by these harmful practices.
- Spoken Word: By using rhyme, repetition, improvisation, and wordplay, this interactive workshop examines issues of social justice, politics, anti-black racism. Students create and or perform their own work.
- The Everyday Black Influence: This workshop will examine how Black culture has an influence on different aspects of pop culture in today’s society, including breaking down how and where the everyday black influence is seen.
- Racism In Healthcare: The workshop focuses on how racial structures began in healthcare, what it's like now, and how we can move forward to change it by addressing various harmful biases..
- Black Rivalry: Students are encouraged to not discriminate within the Black community and reminds students that regardless of background, whether it be Caribbean or