Event Guest Speakers

  • Adam Tomlinson

    Guest Speaker: Adam Tomlinson ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Adam Tomlinson is a three-time Canadian Champion and one-time Panamerican taekwondo champion. He is a graduate from Ontario Tech university where he studied Law and Politics, being the first student to represent his university at the university olympics. Adam is also a recipient of the Black Diamond Youth award for his outstanding leadership in the black community through volunteering and mentor ship. As a recent graduate, Adam continues to train to attain his goal of representing a Canada at the Olympic Games while working full time. Throughout his career, Adam managed to be the first black youth  from his hometown to not only win multiple international taekwondo championships, but set new highs in his academic and professional career. As a working class professional, Adam continues to give back to his community to lead the next generation into the future of excellence.​

  • Adam Vaughn

    Guest Speaker: Adam Vaughn ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Conference;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Adam Vaughan was first elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina on June 30, 2014. On October 19, 2015, Adam was re-elected in the new riding of Spadina-Fort York and was re-elected for a second full term on October 21, 2019. 

    Adam Vaughan was elected twice to Toronto City Council before voters sent him to Ottawa to represent urban issues in Parliament. As an activist and as a journalist, Adam has played a significant role in the social and economic growth of Toronto. Adam Vaughan brings a lifetime of experience to federal politics. On City Council he played a major role in reforming the planning process in the city. He led successful campaigns to rebuild and revitalize existing public housing stock while initiating new policies to create family housing, supportive housing and new co-op housing programs in Toronto. 

    Together with residents, he spearheaded the revitalization of the Alexandra Park community: a significant neighbourhood in Toronto that will see new affordable housing, new commercial space, a re-built community and more parkland added to the downtown. Adam Vaughan’s record in office demonstrates strong support for the arts and housing in Toronto. 

    While on council, he championed the expansion of OCAD University’s campus and led the campaign to save Theatre Passe Muraille. He also served on the Boards of the Toronto Arts Council, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Harbourfront Centre and Heritage Toronto. Before entering politics, Adam was a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in municipal affairs for both the CBC and Citytv. He covered all three levels of government and has written about urban issues too. 

    In the 41st Parliament, Adam was appointed the Liberal Critic for Housing and Urban Affairs and worked with Justin Trudeau, Liberals, and local governments across the country to re-establish a national housing policy as part of a new urban agenda for Canada. 

    On December 2, 2015, Adam was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs. He served in this role until January 26, 2017, when he was appointed to the position of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs). 

    On February 1, 2017, Adam was appointed to chair an Advisory Committee on Homelessness composed of experts and stakeholders in the field of homelessness to support the renewal of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. 

     He is currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development (Housing) and a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, and Status of Persons with Disabilities.  

  • Adaoma Patterson

    Guest Speaker: Adaoma Patterson ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Conference;#

    ​​Adaoma Patterson was born and raised in Winnipeg but spent several years in Jamaica attending Vas Prep School. She is currently an Advisor for Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy. This is a division in the Human Services Department in charge of leading the implementation of a three-year community strategy. 

    Adaoma was previously the Executive Secretary on the board of directors of JCA, lead the recent transformation of JCA, and has been a member for more than 15 years. She was a 2010 DiverseCity Fellow, one of 25 emerging leaders in the GTA and a member of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance’s Steering Committee & a former federal NDP candidate. She is the proud mother of a 14-year-old son.

  • Adrian Currie

    Guest Speaker: Adrian Currie ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Adrian is an actor and a filmmaker, with a BA in Economics and a BA in History, both from McGill University. He is passionate about cycling in Toronto, and sits on Cycle Toronto's Board of Directors as the current Vice President. As well as shooting commercials and playing parts in local film and television productions, Adrian has been active with the Green Party since 2009. Adrian’s vision since 2009 has been to grow the Green Party and help make it strong and relevant. Adrian is presently the Ontario Representative to the Green Party’s Federal Council, the main decision making body of the Green Party. Adrian also worked closely on Annamie Paul’s leadership team as her Outreach Coordinator in her bid to become the leader of the Green Party of Canada. He then worked on Ms. Paul’s recent 2020 by-election in Toronto Centre where she received 33% of the vote up from 7% in the 2019 election. Adrian understands that the way to make real change in society in combating anti-Black racism is through policy and that means having a seat at the table when decisions are being made. ​

  • Ahmed Hussen

    Guest Speaker: Ahmed Hussen ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​The Honourable Ahmed Hussen was first elected in 2015 to represent the riding of York South—Weston. 

    Minister Hussen immigrated to Canada in 1993 and settled in Toronto. He began his career in public service after high school, working with the Hamilton-Wentworth social services department. 

    Minister Hussen co-founded the Regent Park Community Council in 2002. As its president, he played a key role in securing the $500-million revitalization project for Regent Park while advocating for its 15,000 residents to ensure that their interests were protected. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for his leadership efforts in the Regent Park community. 

    Serving as National President for the Canadian Somali Congress, Minister Hussen worked with national and regional authorities to advocate on important issues to Canadians of Somali heritage, strengthening civic engagement and integration. His results-driven reputation led to an invitation from the Toronto City Summit Alliance to join a task force for modernizing income security for adults. 

    As a result of his advocacy work, the Toronto Star recognized Minister Hussen in 2004 as one of 10 individuals in Toronto to have made substantial contributions to the community. 

    After earning a law degree from the University of Ottawa, Minister Hussen practiced law in the areas of criminal defence, immigration and refugee law, and human rights. He served as a director on the board of the Global Enrichment Foundation, an organization that has enabled women in East Africa to access education in colleges and universities in the region, and on the board of Journalists for Human Rights, an organization that empowers journalists in developing countries to cover human rights and governance issues objectively and effectively. Minister Hussen also previously worked as a Special Assistant for intergovernmental affairs to former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and sat on the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. 

  • Aina-Nia

    Guest Speaker: Aina-Nia ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Aina-Nia is the Director of Community Resources at the City of Toronto and was integral to the creation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. In 2018, Aina-Nia established North America’s first government sanctioned strategy and permanent office to address anti-Black racism. Aina-Nia is also the founder of Sacred Women International and the Sacred Leadership Training process which has transformed the lives of individuals, their families and communities for over a decade.  

     ​

  • Althea Samuels

    Guest Speaker: Althea Samuels ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Althea Samuels is a professional adult educator, Social Service worker and Career Adviser with over 20 years of experience in the social service field. Althea boasts experience in government funding programs, corporate partners, Workshop Facilitations, Aswell as Training and Skills Development program amongst others. Althea also offers a track record of success working with youths and newcomers in the community.​

  • Andria Barret

    Guest Speaker: Andria Barret​

    Event(s):
      ;#Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Conference;#

    ​Andria Barret is a Nutritionist & Wellness Expert specializing in Prediabetes and Blood Sugar Balance. Within her field of expertise, Andria has helped educate hundreds of her clients on prediabetes and the food management, and lifestyle changes that come with it. Andria also serves as a Speaker & Communication Coach to women and young entrepreneurs.  

  • Anne Cools

    Guest Speaker: Anne Cools​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Anne Cools made Canadian history in 1984 when she became the first black ever to serve in her country's Senate, the upper house of parliament. Senators are appointed positions of immense prestige, but restricted political power, that can be held until the seat holder reaches the age of 75. As senator of the province of Ontario, Cools has become somewhat infamous in Canada for her conservative social values, which often put her at odds with her original party, the Liberals. In 2004, she "crossed the floor" of the Senate's historic Red Chamber and joined the Conservative (Tory) Party.

    Cools is a naturalized citizen of Canada who came to the country from her native Barbados when she was 13 years old. She was born on the Caribbean island, a British colonial possession in the West Indies, on August 12, 1943, and grew up in a household that valued education and political service; both a grandfather and her uncle were active in the political life on the island. Her father was a pharmacist. Her family's relatively high standard of living and level of education did not protect Cools from growing up without suffering tragedy. When Cools was four years old, two of her five siblings—the next oldest and next youngest to her—died from peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach cavity that can prove fatal if infection takes hold.

  • Anthony Lue

    Guest Speaker: Anthony Lue ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Anthony is an entrepreneur who has established a not for profit organization, and is building a career in the field of accessibility as well as various other consulting services. He speaks at events and schools across North America on topics such as goal setting, perseverance and overcoming the challenges that debilitate us on a daily basis.

    Anthony has spoken for a variety of schools, corporate events, television, radio as well as being an ambassador for 2 of Canada’s largest accessibility trade shows, The People in Motion Show and the Abilities Expo as well as the Chairperson for Accessibility for the Parasport Games in Durham Region in 2019.

    Anthony takes audiences on a journey, delivering his life’s message with raw passion and startling reality. He tells you how to rewire your mindset and conquer the fear that holds you back from living your best life.

    Anthony is pursuing his lifelong Olympic dream as a 2021 Tokyo Paralympics hopeful in the sport of handcycling. Anthony shares with his audiences how they too can persevere and succeed against all odds.  

  • Anthony Morgan

    Guest Speaker: Anthony Morgan ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Anthony Morgan is a lawyer and the Manager of the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Unit. The CABR Unit is responsible for the implementation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. 

    Prior to joining the City, Anthony was an Associate at Falconers LLP, specializing in the areas of civil, constitutional and criminal state accountability litigation. He has a special interest in anti-racist human rights advocacy, particularly in the area of anti-Black racism. He has appeared at various levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has also represented the interests of African Canadians before United Nations human rights treaty bodies. In both 2016 and 2017, Anthony was nominated as one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.   

  • Breanna Lee

    Guest Speaker: Breanna Lee​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Breanna Lee is a recent graduate of the University of Sussex Law School with a degree in Law with International Relations LLB.  A strong communicator by nature, Breanna uses her skills to address issues of inequality and lack of representation. Breanna’s interest in public policy, political processes and representation led her to volunteer with OBVC. Breanna is committed to supporting OBVC’s initiatives to ensure more Black representation in politics, government and Agencies, Boards and Commissions. ​

  • Carmen Wilson

    Guest Speaker: Carmen Wilson ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    Carmen Wilson was born in Kingston, Jamaica and emigrated to Canada in 1976 at 11 years old. Shortly after arriving in Canada, Carmen was placed in a foster home by the Children’s Aid Society and was raised in a loving family in Erin, Ontario. While raising three children - first in marriage, then as a single mother - Carmen also acquired her diploma from George Brown College. She subsequently earned her licensing credentials as a mortgage agent, life insurance agent and mutual fund  agent. Carmen values the importance of community service and participated in many community groups as both a member and a leader. Recent community and political activities include Director of Membership of Conservative Black Congress of Canada and Youth Engagement Police Steering Committee - Region of Peel amongst many others.  

  • Charmaine Williams

    Guest Speaker: Charmaine Williams ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#Remembering George Floyd;#

    ​Charmaine Williams has been a member of the Bramalea community since 1981.     

    As a homeowner and proud mother of five beautiful children, she knows the challenges that Brampton residents face and understands the need to build a better Brampton for all families, seniors and small business owners. 

    She wants to truly engage residents in decisions at City Hall. She wants to make our streets safer, ensure that families have access to social and recreational services that they need and want, and restore respect for taxpayers. Transit and transportation are also on her radar. Charmaine believes that Brampton needs an integrated transportation plan that encourages a balance of all modes of transportation. 

    Charmaine’s beliefs, values and courage to advocate for people are shaped by her professional and personal experiences. 

    Professionally, Charmaine is a certified Multi-Systemic Therapist, behavioural consultant and counsellor. During her 19-year career, Charmaine has been a voice on behalf of families and children of all ages coping with domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, neglect, trauma and other personal challenges.  She has worked in a number of therapeutic programs and organizations like Associated Youth Services of Peel, Youth Substance Abuse Program, Peel Children’s Center and the Reach Out Center for Kids in Peel and the Halton Region.   

    Charmaine believes that public service is the art of the possible, and her recent personal experience overcoming a debilitating health issue demonstrated her determination to pursue what is possible. Charmaine pushed through the obstacles to be able to enter public service in 2018, inspired and energized to work for her community. 

    She and her husband, Steve, live in Ward 7. 

    Charmaine Williams has been a member of the Bramalea community since 1981.   

  • Christopher Alexander

    Guest Speaker: Christopher Alexander ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#Power of Black Media Conference;#

    ​Mr. Alexander is an entrepreneur and a former banker with over 30 years of cross-functional experience in the financial service industry, Waste Energy, Construction and Business Consulting. He has experience in business development, not-for-profit and community organizations.

    Mr. Alexander is a Business mentor and a coach with exceptional knowledge of strategy development, risk management, cost reduction, operational planning, and continuous improvement of technology and processes. He has an excellent grasp of strategy, strategic financial planning, business development, and operational management. With a unique ability to effect operational change leading to improved business performance, maximization of profitability as client satisfaction, creating value for his clients is his number one priority. He has a keen interest in with Micro Businesses in various industries and runs a Boutique Consulting firm that provides support to these businesses.

    Chris is the CEO of Zhoosh Service Enterprise Inc. The Chief Operations Officer of the Festival Management Committee, the organization that produces the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. He is a Finance Executive for Alliance Financing Group, and an Executive Director of Connecting You Now.

    He has a keen interest in his community and believes that improvements are necessary for the way forward. Improving and promoting our culture is critical to him. Also, focusing on economic, political, legal, communication and education are the areas very high on his agenda. He has been involved in a number of organizations and ran youth groups, small groups, and couples’ groups for a number of years.

    Mr. Alexander holds an MBA from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Business Management Degree from Ryerson University. He is a Personal Financial Planner, and a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.

  • David Mitchell

    Guest Speaker: David Mitchell ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​David Mitchell is Assistant Deputy Minister of the Youth Justice Services Division in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and a 26-year veteran of correctional service in the province. David is well known and respected for his commitment to diversity and inclusion along with his long-standing record of community involvement and advocacy. 

    David is the founding President of the Association of Black Law Enforcers and was Executive Lead for the Council on Unity and Racial Equality, Chair of the Humber College Justice Studies Program Advisory Committee, and is currently a member of the Durham Regional Police Chief’s Diversity Committee. 

    David is a recipient of the African Canadian Achievement Award, the Ontario Ombudsman's Award for Complaint Resolution, the Ontario Ovation Award for Leadership and Gang Management, the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement President's Award, and the Government of Jamaica Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice. 

  • Dr Akwatu Khenti

    Guest Speaker: Dr Akwatu Khenti​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Akwatu Khenti is an affiliate scientist with the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research (IMHPR) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an assistant Professor within the Dalla Lana School of Health.  He is formerly the Assistant Deputy Minister for Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate (2017-2020) as well as CAMH’s Director of Transformative Global Health. (1997-2017).  Akwatu has a Specialist Degree in Economics, a Masters in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in health policy and equity from York University.   

    Dr. Khenti has inspired many local efforts to improve Black mental health across Latin American and Caribbean communities through intensive regional substance abuse training for addictive disorders.  He also developed an anti-stigma intervention in primary health care in Ontario and has co-led drug research capacity building for the past decade years with the Inter-American Drug Control Commission (CICAD, OAS) involving 30 universities across Latin America and the Caribbean.  Akwatu was a researcher on the development of easy-to-follow, culturally adapted cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions for working with individuals of Latin American origin as well as those of African Caribbean origin (both English and French speaking).  This CBT intervention has been applied with Vodou spiritual leaders in Haiti to assess whether it can strengthen the system of informal care.  Akwatu also led the development of a specialized drug treatment and prevention programs for Black youth in Toronto, entitled the Substance Abuse Program for African and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY).  His doctoral research chronicled the effects of social determinants of racialized gun violence in Toronto’s 140 neighborhoods from 2004-2014.  

    Akwatu Khenti is an affiliate scientist with the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research (IMHPR) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an assistant Professor within the Dalla Lana School of Health.  He is formerly the Assistant Deputy Minister for Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate (2017-2020) as well as CAMH’s Director of Transformative Global Health. (1997-2017). 

    Dr. Khenti has inspired many local efforts to improve Black mental health across Latin American and Caribbean communities through intensive regional substance abuse training for addictive disorders.   

  • Dr Beverly Salmon

    Guest Speaker: Dr Beverly Salmon ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Beverley Salmon and her 4 siblings were born in Toronto.  Their father Hebert McLean Bell immigrated from Jamaica to join the Canadian Army in WW1.  Their mother Violet (Bryan) was 5th generation Irish/Scottish Canadian.  Beverley, a public Health Nurse, was trained at Wellesley Hospital and University of Toronto. 

    Bev was happily married to the late Dr. John Douglas Salmon, Canada’s First Board certified Black Surgeon.  They shared great pride in their two sons and two daughters, Douglas Jr, Warren, Heather and Leslie and their five adored grandchildren Caitlyn, Tyler, Jordan, Shakarri and Sierra. 

    Bev was a municipal Councillor in Toronto for 12 years and continues to provide leadership and volunteer work in her local community and church.  She is a strong supporter of youth, education, justice and the arts.   

    Bev has received several awards for her lifelong contributions to anti-racism and human rights, including an Honorary Doctor of Law from Ryerson University, Harry Jerome Award, Bicentennial Medal (ON), Outstanding Achievement Award – Association of Black Women, Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Black Achievement Award for Politics and the Daniel G Hill Award from the Ontario Black History Society 

  • Dr Winston LaRose

    Guest Speaker: Dr Winston LaRose ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Mr. Winston LaRose is the Executive Director of the Jane-Finch Concerned Citizens Organization (JFCCO) and has worked in this capacity with the Organization, since January of 1999. He worked as a Registered Nurse in Canada from 1964 until retirement at age 65 in 2002. Most of his professional work has been as a psychotherapeutic counsellor in the mental health field at the Clarke Institute in Toronto and several other mental health Facilities in Toronto, Burlington and Hamilton. In addition to this, he operated a counselling service called “the Fairview Counselling Services” in Burlington Ontario for approximately five years.​

  • Dr. Carl B. Mack

    Guest Speaker: Dr. Carl B. Mack​

    Event(s):
      ;#Power of Black Media Conference;#

    Dr. Carl B. Mack was born in Jackson, Miss. He is a graduate and Distinguished Engineering Fellow of Mississippi State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. On May 8, 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Clarkson University.

    On March 1, 2005, Mack was named as the fourth executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), one of the nation’s largest student-governed organizations. His presence at NSBE was immediately felt. In each of his first five years, the organization set records for membership, reaching 35,776 members in 2010, up from its previous high of 12,842 before his arrival. He has also been instrumental in increasing NSBE’s financial resources to record highs: helping expand the organization’s cash reserves from $3.5 million to $9.0 million; securing a largest-ever grant of $1 million from a NSBE sponsor; helping build NSBE’s top-level sponsorship to record levels; bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars to strengthen NSBE’s IT infrastructure; pushing attendance at NSBE’s Annual Convention to nearly 10,000 attendees and working with NSBE’s National Executive Board to pay off the mortgage on NSBE’s new World Headquarters building, among other highlights. His extraordinary leadership has led to an increase in visibility for the organization, with appearances on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight and ABC’s Good Morning America, and recognition in Ebony magazine as one of the Top 150 Black Leaders in America.

    In July 2009, Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, presented Mack with the National Naval Officers Association’s top honor for work in the field of diversity: the Capt. Charles L. Tompkins Award. To help fill the pipeline to engineering careers with greater numbers of minorities, in the Summer of 2007, Mack founded NSBE’s Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) Academy.

    To date, he has secured approximately $3 million in funding for the program, which utilizes NSBE’s collegiate engineering members to expose African-American children as early as third grade to the world of engineering. SEEK now serves students in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio, with plans to expand to Oakland, Calif. and Chicago, Ill. In July 2010, Mack spearheaded the awarding of scholarships to 29 St. Lucian students to attend the Illinois Institute of Technology, in part by securing a $275,000 donation from the donor-advised fund of Goldman Sachs & Co.

    Before joining NSBE, Mack worked as an engineer with METRO – King County in Seattle, Wash., and coordinated the county’s award-winning Minority Engineering Internship Program. He also served as president of the Seattle King County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During his tenure, the branch won the 2004 Class 1-A Thalheimer Award as the top branch in the country.

    Because of his significant contributions in the arena of civil rights, Mack was listed as one of the 25 Most Influential people in the greater Seattle area. Upon his departure from the Greater Seattle area, both the City of Seattle and the King County government named Feb. 12, 2005 Carl B. Mack Day. Mack is a Lifetime Member of NSBE and a Life Member of the NAACP. He also sits on the Minority Advisory Board of the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University and on the Board of Directors of SAE Foundation (Society of Automotive Engineers). Mack resides in Fort Washington, Md., with his sons, Joshua and Jonathan, and his wife, Jamiyo, a chemical engineer whom he met at NSBE’s 2000 Annual National​​​

  • Everton Samuels

    Guest Speaker: Everton Samuels​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Everton has a deep passion for Black Youth. He has devoted  the past 15 years to local church service in addition to his pionnering introductions of Black youth programs that focused on increasing post-secondary enrollment.  

    Everton has also served as a volunteer  for Pathways to Education, in their youth mentoring program for 5yrs. 

  • Faisal Hassan

    Guest Speaker: Faisal Hassan ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Faisal Hassan was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on June 7th, 2018, and proudly represents the riding of York South-Weston. 

    He is the Official Opposition Critic for Youth Engagement and is a member of the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. 

    Faisal is a proud York South–Weston resident and an engaged community advocate.  He has volunteered on the boards of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), Habitat for Humanity and the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre.  

    Faisal has worked alongside York South-Weston members of provincial and federal Parliament. He is a former broadcaster and a published author, with deep ties to the community.  

  • Garnett Manning

    Guest Speaker: Garnett Manning ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#Remembering George Floyd;#

    ​Garnett is an independent real estate representative license to trade real in the province of Ontario. 

    Garnett is passionate about helping people. Having served as a public servant in the official designation as city councillor in Brampton Ontario, Garnett gas played a significant role on the downtown business development committee and former Budget chief of the city of Brampton.​

  • Genuis Garnett

    Guest Speaker: Genuis Garnett​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Garnett Genius is the Member of Parliament for Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta, Canada. Since his election in 2015, he has gained a reputation for being among the most outspoken parliamentarians, having spoken more than 100,000 words in the Chamber during his first year in office – more than all three major party leaders combined.

    Always ready to speak, he is a tireless advocate for human rights and religious freedom, both domestically and abroad, and is a vocal proponent of Alberta’s interests in Ottawa.​

  • Gervan Fearon

    Guest Speaker: Gervan Fearon ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Conference;#

    ​Fearon is passionate about the role of post-secondary education in supporting regional development and has served on numerous community boards and helped champion significant community development initiatives. 

    When he arrived as Brock University’s President and Vice-Chancellor in August 2017, he began working with students, faculty and staff all across the campus as well as members of the community across the region to draft a new Institutional Strategic Plan that would clearly communicate the University’s values, priorities and goals. 

    He recognized that, from its earliest history, Brock was created by the citizens of the Niagara region. In the 1950s and ’60s, area residents worked passionately to establish a local university where successive generations could remain part of the community while obtaining a high-quality post-secondary education. 

    Given this heritage, Fearon ensured that the steps for creating a 21st-century strategic plan would include talking to local groups and individuals, to hear what they felt should be key aspects of the University’s plan. 

    In 2018, the University’s Senate and Board of Trustees gave final approval to the new Institutional Strategic Plan, which emphasizes not just academic excellence and student experience, but commits Brock as a local partner who strengthens its host communities. 

    During Fearon’s presidency, the University has pursued formal agreements with numerous agencies and organizations, seeking ways for Brock’s research and academic assets to strengthen health care, citizen supports and economic development for local communities. 

    This approach has only enhanced its reputation for research and academic excellence, and outstanding student experience. In an era when many North American institutions are coping with shrinking demographics, Brock has become the school of first choice for unprecedented numbers of students, experiencing successive years of record enrolment, and a strong community partner such as being the site for the upcoming 2021 Canada Summer Games in the Niagara Region. 

    Fearon came to Brock from Brandon University, where he served as President and Vice-Chancellor and as Provost and Vice-President Academic. Earlier academic roles included Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University; Associate Dean at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies; Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington; and as an Associate Professor at York University. 

    Besides academic achievements, his career includes several years in the Ontario government in roles as a senior analyst at Treasury Board Division, Ontario Ministry of Finance, and an executive assistant to Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.


  • Greg Fergus

    Guest Speaker: Greg Fergus ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Greg Fergus is Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government. Gregy Fergus was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer in 2015. Over the past 25 years, Mr. Fergus has worked in the private, public, non-profit, and academic sectors. ​

  • Honorable Wanda Thomas Bernard

    Guest Speaker: Honorable Wanda Thomas Bernard ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard is the first African Nova Scotian woman to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, representing the province of Nova Scotia and her hometown of East Preston. Senator Bernard champions issues impacting African Canadians and people living with disabilities. She is particularly invested in human rights, employment equity, and mental health. Through her involvement in community projects, her social work career, her time with Dalhousie School of Social Work, and now her work in the Senate and as Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, Senator Bernard has maintained a deep dedication to social justice and racial justice. Senator Bernard advocates for reparations for the historic and continued anti-Black racism impacting the lives of African Canadians in her work.​

  • Hubert Hiltz

    Guest Speaker: Hubert Hiltz​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Hubert Hiltz has 26 years of policing experience with Peel Regional Police (PRP). He currently holds the rank of Superintendent and manages PRP, Community Safety and Wellbeing Services. He has served in various capacities with Peel Police, including Vice, Narcotics and Street Level Organized Crime, Intelligence Service, Homicide and Missing Person Bureau, Street Crime Gang Unit, Central Robbery bureau and 11, 12 and 21 Divisions.​

  • Jamil Jivani

    Guest Speaker: Jamil Jivani ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Conference;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​Jamil Jivani is the Managing Director of Road Home Research & Analysis. Jamil previously taught at Osgoode Hall Law School, graduated from Yale Law School, and served as Vice Chair of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. Jamil was awarded the 2018 “One to Watch” alumni award by York University and 2017 youth leadership award by the International Development and Relief Foundation. His first book, Why Young Men, was published in Canada by HarperCollins in 2018 and in the United States by All Points Books in 2019. ​

  • Janelle Hinds

    Guest Speaker: Janelle Hinds ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

    ​Janelle Hinds is an award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, facilitator and Diversity Equity and Inclusion and strategic consultant. Janelle is the founder of Helping Hands, a non-profit that aims to help young people build their skills and careers through volunteer, entrepreneurship, and early career development. As a public speaker and consultant, Janelle is an advocate for social innovation and Diversity Equity and Inclusion in various industries. Janelle sits on the Board of Directors for Futurpreneur as well as the McMaster Alumni Association Board. Recently Janelle was chosen as the only Canadian on Forbes Top 30 Under 30 list for her achievements in the Education sector.  

  • Jean Augustine

    Guest Speaker: Jean Augustine ​

    Event(s):
      ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

    ​In 1993, Jean made history as the first African Canadian woman to be elected to Canada's House of Commons as the MP for the Etobicoke-Lakeshore constituency.  She served as Canada's Minister of Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, and the Chair of the Human Rights Committee among other positions.  Originally from St. George's, Grenada, Jean immigrated to Canada in 1960 as a qualified teacher where obtained a Masters in Education and was later promoted to principle and Supervisory Officer.  Today Jean continues in her work to improve the human condition through her frontline involvement with the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women's Empowerment and continued engagement both nationally and internationally.​

  • Julie Chrsitiansen

    Guest Speaker: Julie Chrsitiansen ​

    Event(s):

      ​Julie Christiansen, MA, is a Registered Psychotherapist in Private Practice and the author of several books about anger, stress, bullying and coping with crisis. She was voted Top 40 Under 40, recipient of the 2015 Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Award, and ranked 15th among the most influential forensic psychologists working today.  

      Julie is an award-winning international public speaker and creator of the Anger Solutions method of anger resolution training tools. Known as “The Anger Lady”, she is the inspiration behind a scripted TV crime serial currently under development. Julie’s new book, a collaborative project titled, Leadership AIM will be released on March 1st. 

    • Justice Gregory Regis

      Guest Speaker: Justice Gregory Regis​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Justice Regis was appointed Regional Senior Justice for the Central East Region in 2007 exercising the powers of the Chief Justice and becoming the first non-white person to hold that office.  Prior to studying law, Justice Regis held positions within the journalism industry, including as editor in Saint Lucia and Canada.  He has also always been engaged in leadership positions of various boards and committees within the black and Caribbean community.  Justice Regis has a long history of community involvement in Saint Lucia and Canada including serving as director of several community organizations including the Saint Lucia-Toronto Association, The Black Resources and Information Centre, and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation among others.  ​

    • Kathy McDonald

      Guest Speaker: Kathy McDonald​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#Remembering George Floyd;#

      ​A long-time Brampton resident, Kathy McDonald has been actively involved with the Peel District School Board as a parent volunteer since 2001. She began her four-year term as trustee of Wards 3 and 4 in Brampton on Dec. 1, 2014. 

      Kathy’s key priorities are to help each child realize his or her full potential, to work with the community to support student success through increased funding, to work with the board to improve student success in math and to advocate for increased teaching assistants for students with special education needs. 

      As school council chair at Agnes Taylor Public School and Sir William Gage Middle School, Kathy led parents in organizing events, supporting school initiatives and helping parents become involved in their child’s education. In her role as co-chair of the Peel board’s Parent Involvement Committee from 2012 to 2014, she promoted and encouraged parent involvement by organizing workshops, speakers and activities to help families best support their children. 

      Outside of the Peel board, Kathy is a dedicated volunteer. She is a coordinator for a community youth steel band, a children’s storyteller of Jamaican folktales, a member of the Congress of Black Women Brampton Chapter and the United Achievers’ Club and was previously chair of the Caribbean pavilion for Carabram, Brampton’s multicultural festival. 

      Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science from McGill University and a post-graduate diploma in the Theory of Teaching Practices from the University of Guelph.

    • Kenneth Jeffers

      Guest Speaker: Kenneth Jeffers ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#Remembering George Floyd;#

      ​Ken Jeffers' career spans over 45 years in which he has worked with diverse communities, individuals, agencies and organizations in the field of recreation and community development providing training, program design and implementation.

      Ken was the manager of the Access and Diversity Unit in Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto with management responsibility for all aspects of equity, diversity and human rights as they relate to the delivery of programs, services and activities.

      Through his work, Ken has recognized the need for greater outreach and participation by culturally and racially diverse communities. Some of his major responsibilities included but were not limited to, training on the benefits of diversity and inclusion for all levels of staff, including senior management, active leadership on the Interdivisional Staff Teams on Access, Equity and Human Rights, chaired and trained the Corporate, Staff Team on Immigration and Settlement, and the development of a succession plan with an emphasis on equity and diversity.

    • Kevin Yarde

      Guest Speaker: Kevin Yarde ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Kevin Yarde was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton North in June 2018.  

      Kevin understands that our communities need and deserve good leadership that will bring change for the better to our neighbourhoods of Brampton North. He continues to be our champion at Queen’s Park to ensure affordability for Brampton North families through housing, integrating new Canadian into our economy, lower hydro rates and lower auto insurance rates. 

      Kevin obtained a political science honours B.A. degree at York University and has made a name for himself as a weather expert on The Weather Network for over 17 years. Kevin has been involved with the National Association of Black Journalists and volunteered at Covenant House – helping at-risk and homeless youth. 

    • Kirk Mark

      Guest Speaker: Kirk Mark ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Kirk Mark is a recent retiree as Senior Coordinator of the Community Relations Department in Toronto Catholic District School Board.  He has been involved in diversity programs in corporations, communities and schools for over thirty-five years with extensive travel to and consultation within the Caribbean, Europe, The Continent of Africa and the United States of America. 

      His areas of expertise, while residing in the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario, are: Systemic Change Management, Development of Boards of Directors, Professional Learning, Equity and Inclusive Education, Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy, Student-Athletic Development, Parent and Community Capacity Development. 

    • Knia Singh

      Guest Speaker: Knia Singh​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Knia Singh was born and raised in Toronto, and he has spent most of his life helping others in need and has carried that trait into his professional life as an adult. Mr. Singh regularly gives support to youth in need by talking their problems out with them and showing them there is a better way to do things. Mr. Singh has been a major influence on the Toronto music scene by inspiring young artists to take matters into their own hands by starting their own businesses. Mr. Singh has also attended court regularly to assist youth that find themselves in trouble due to their circumstances. Mr. Singh is a volunteer to the community always available to help youth in need and does his best to provide opportunities for them to change their life around and find some direction. 

      1991 – Initial member of a pilot peer assistance counseling program at George S. Henry Academy called H.U.G.S. (Henry's Understanding Group of Students) 

      1993 – Founded Hip Hop recording studio in Toronto to assist under privileged youth and pave a way for independent Hip Hop artists in the city. 

      1994 – Member of community group “Breaking the Cycle of Violence” which aimed to prevent violence in the community through learning and eliminating its root causes. 

      1996 Trained co-op students from the Scarborough, Peel, York, and Durham school boards. Taught students how to own and operate a recording studio, provided mentor ship training as a role model, and assisted them complete high school credits. 

      1997 – Ran for Metro Council in 1997 Municipal Elections. Platform was to improve education for youth, reduce drug and alcohol abuse, attend to homeless, and improve drinking water quality in the city. 

      1997 – Helped organize and start the Marcus Garvey Centre for Leadership and Enterprise. 

      1998 – Attend high schools for various music related assemblies, such as “Addressing the objectification of Women in Music Videos” 

      1999 – Participated in various job fairs and leadership programs with Harriet Tubman community organization. 

       2001 – Was hired as Production Manager at Canada's first urban radio station Flow 93.5 FM, and was an integral part of community station relations. 

    • Kofi Achampong

      Guest Speaker: Kofi Achampong ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Kofi is Principal Lawyer and Government Relations (GR) Advisor at Achampong Law. As a lawyer, Kofi’s practice focuses on general matters in civil, human rights and criminal law. In GR, he focuses on providing support to non-profits and groups that traditionally lack access to government decision-makers. Prior to joining Achampong Law, he was Senior Policy & Stakeholder Relations Advisor to 3 Ontario Ministers in Government’s led by former Premiers Dalton McGuinty & Kathleen Wynne.

      Kofi has extensive experience advising senior officials and office holders in public and private institutions concerning policy, legal precedent, strategic decision-making and equity issues. Most recently, he was the lead Advisor to the Minister of Government & Consumer Services on the development of SME procurement and Workplace Discrimination & Harassment Policies. He was also lead on the development of the Delegated Administrative Authority model and principal liaison assisting with World Bank’s efforts to lower global remittance fees. He also led efforts within the Ontario Liberal Party to increase diversity at all levels of the party's decision-making apparatus.

      Kofi is a member of the Board of Directors for the Youth Employment Service, the Canadian Muslim Lawyer's Association and the Black Muslim Initiative. Kofi has appeared as commentator on current affairs in Canadian politics for the CBC, CP24, CTV, Real News and elsewhere. 


       ​

    • Kofi Hope

      Guest Speaker: Kofi Hope ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​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. 

      Previously he was 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 125 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.

    • Larry Rousseau

      Guest Speaker: Larry Rousseau​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Larry Rousseau was elected as CLC Executive Vice-President at the CLC’s  

      28th Constitutional Convention in May 2017. Previously, he served as the Regional Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s National Capital Region, and as the Regional Vice-President of PSAC’s Union of National Employees. 

      Larry’s first experience in the labour movement (and his most meaningful in his opinion) was when he was hired as a filing and stockroom clerk in the mail room of the Canadian Labour Congress at the age of 18. Shortly thereafter, he was elected shop steward for the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 225 (now COPE). 

      He was subsequently hired at Statistics Canada, to which he remains committed to this day. He has a Certificate in Civil Law from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section, and a master's degree in Public Administration from the École nationale d’administration publique in Quebec. 

      Larry has a long history of trade union and political activism, particularly on issues like labour relations, health and safety, human rights, and equity. His involvement in the LGBTQ2SI, anti-racism and peace movements has been an integral part of his engagement and commitment to social justice. 

    • Laura Mae Lindo

      Guest Speaker: Laura Mae Lindo​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Laura Mae Lindo, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener Centre, is a respected activist and educator who holds both a Masters and PhD in Education. Laura Mae is the Official Opposition Critic for Anti-Racism and Citizenship and Immigration. Her commitment to building inclusive communities both within and outside of educational environments is grounded in her knowledge of how to put anti-oppression theories into practice. Recipient of the 2017 Schaus Award, Laura Mae's ongoing work to challenge systemic racism on campus and in the community has positioned her as a knowledgeable advocate for the rights of women and girls, a respected ally to marginalized community members, and, most importantly, a courageous public speaker on issues often left unaddressed in the mainstream.

    • Len Carby

      Guest Speaker: Len Carby ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Len Carby is a Financial Planner with RBC Wealth Management where he helps Mass Affluent clients and Business Owners with Investment, Retirement, Tax and Estate Planning advice. With a sterling record of over twenty years community service in Canada and abroad, Len has been recognized as 2018 Community Leadership Award recipient from the United Way Greater Toronto and 2018/2019 Community Service Award recipient from the Royal Bank of Canada.   ​

    • Leslyn Lewis

      Guest Speaker: Leslyn Lewis ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​I am no stranger to hard work, and watched my parents work long hours to give their children a better life. I too have dedicated my life to excelling in school, employment and serving fellow Canadians with my skills. I am a small business owner, having left the practice of law on Bay Street to start my own law firm.  

      I graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, Trinity College graduating Magna Cum Laude, a master's in environmental studies from York University, with a Concentration in Business and Environment from the Schulich School of Business and a Juris Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School and a PhD in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. 

    • Marilyn Raphael

      Guest Speaker: Marilyn Raphael ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​ Marilyn Raphael is an accomplished leader with a passion for people and advancing public interest issues. She has over 15 years of experience working in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in Ontario and is currently a Vice President, Business & Product Governance at TD Asset Management. Together with her husband, she is also the co-founder of ICON Talent Partners, a not-for-profit talent development organization for high potential BIPOC talent that is focused on closing the opportunity gap and diversifying leadership teams at some of Canada’s largest companies.  

      For the last 10 years, Marilyn has called Brampton her home and has been committed to advancing various public interest issues including, child and maternal health, youth development and employment, healthcare and police reform. In 2019, Marilyn was recognized by the Brampton Board of Trade as a recipient of Brampton's Top 40 Under 40 Award. 

      Marilyn holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from McMaster University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Schulich School of Business at York University. 

      Marilyn is happily married to Derrick and they are proud parents to their sons Harper and Preston. 

    • Maurice Bygrave

      Guest Speaker: Maurice Bygrave ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Maurice Bygrave was born in Browns Town, St. Ann, Jamaica and learned a sense of responsibility at an early age. His father left the family to be part of the farm workers program in the US to better support the family. Maurice’s mother also left Jamaica to work and immigrate to Canada. She sent for Maurice and his siblings in 1954 and his father eventually joined them, and the family was reunited. 

      The family lived in Toronto and Maurice attended Lansdowne Public School for elementary and Harbord Collegiate for high school. 

      Like many in Jamaica, Maurice grew up being terrified of dentists as the introduction to dentistry there was unpleasant. However, as a child growing up in Toronto, Maurice was impacted by Dr. Ralph Stewart a local dentist. Dr. Stewart made Maurice feel comfortable and safe in the dentist’s office and the experience influenced him to become a dentist himself. Dr. Stewart’s office was located in the same building as Dr. Alban Liverpool’s office. Maurice looked up to both of them and sought to follow their positive example. Maurice went on to attend the University of Toronto for Dentistry, receiving his dental degree in 1966. 

      In the 1950s, recognition and acceptance of people from the islands was not what it is today. At the time there was a real difference between children born here and those that had immigrated. When Maurice arrived, people made him very aware of his difference – pointing out things like his accent. Despite being pressured to assimilate, Maurice always tried his best to maintain his Caribbean identity. Because of this commitment to his heritage, through his connection with Alban Liverpool, Maurice became involved with the first Caribana. 

      For the event, Maurice acted as the publicity and advertising coordinator and promoted all events for Caribbean Centennial Week 1967. He enjoyed this portfolio because it gave him opportunity to access various media, which mainly revolved around radio. 

      In 1967, the Trinidad government sent the steel band group the Esso Tripoli Orchestra to Canada for the Montreal Expo. Maurice secured an opportunity for them to play at the Maple Leaf Gardens to promote the Caribbean Centennial Week. It was the first time many had heard steel pan in Toronto. Harold Ballad was the owner of the Leafs at the time and thus Maurice got to personally meet him. He also got to meet Philip McKellar, a notable jazz music radio disc jockey who would introduce many of the big jazz entertainers at the time. Maurice stayed involved with Caribana and kept the same portfolio for almost six years. 

      Upon graduation, Maurice opened his own dental practice in one of the first malls in North America: Westside Mall. When the mall was being constructed, Maurice approached them and took out a lease. 

      As a Black man, in the beginning owning his own practice was difficult. Many people assumed Blacks could not be professionals, and so when patients would come in Maurice would see the initial hesitation on their face. However, they would eventually relax and accept that a Black dentist was treating them. Maurice believes that this is because we are not socialized to see Black professionals on a regular basis. Over the years, he has even had white associates come to work in his practice who would assume that he was not Dr. Bygrave. Thus, he has had to spend a lot of time convincing people of who he is and his professional status. But despite these struggles, Maurice still practices in the same location today. 

      Thirty years ago, he went to the racetrack with his brother-in-law, and became captivated watching owners celebrate after a win. He then purchased his own horse and he eventually began to breed and race horses. His best success was 10 years ago when he bred some excellent horses which won several Ontario Sires Stakes Races.  These were eventually sold to prestigious establishments, one in Kentucky and one in Ontario. 

      Because racing is “the sport of kings,” and therefore a traditionally “white man’s sport,” being a Black breeder and racehorse owner was challenging because not many Black people were owners. Instead, most Black people were employed as horse grooms known as hot walkers. It also meant that as a Black owner, Maurice had to hope that the white jockey would do his best for him during a race. Still, Maurice enjoyed the extreme competition of the sport and successfully rose to the challenge of horse racing. 

      Maurice has two sons and publishes work on topics such as horse racing and Caribana for publications like the Toronto Daily Star, the Share News, and Canadian Trotting Magazine. 

    • Michael Coteau

      Guest Speaker: Michael Coteau ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Michael Coteau was elected in 2011 as the MPP for Don Valley East. He currently serves as Critic for Infrastructure, Energy, Labour, Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade and was formerly Minister of Children and Youth Services, as well as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism. Previously, he was Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, as well as Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, and before that, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. 

      Prior to entering the provincial government, Michael was elected as a school board trustee for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in 2003, 2006 and 2010. As a trustee, Michael advocated for student nutrition, community use of space and the use of educational technology. He initiated the ‘Community Use of Schools’ motion that drastically cut user fees and made schools more accessible to groups that offer programs for children. He helped introduce nutritional changes in schools that supported healthy food programs and increased awareness of student hunger. 

      Michael worked as an ESL instructor and curriculum developer before becoming a community organizer for a United Way agency in Scarborough. He was also the Marketing Manager for ABC Life Literacy, where he was responsible for the organizing of the Family Literacy Day across Canada, and was Executive Director of Alpha Plus, a national literacy organization mandated to support adult education using technology. 

      Michael grew up in Don Valley East and attended Don Mills Middle School and Victoria Park Collegiate Institute. He holds degrees from Carleton University in both Political Science and Canadian History. He and his wife Lori live in Toronto with their two daughters, Maren and Myla. 

    • Moy Fung

      Guest Speaker: Moy Fung​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Moy Fung is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity and the Founder/CEO, You Inspire Me Women Enterprise.

      For almost two decades, she has been creating social change through entrepreneurship, with a focus on the education and empowerment of women and minoritized and marginalized groups of people.

      A mother, author, certified coach, talk show host, and a results-oriented entrepreneur, Moy believes that while advocating for the change of societal factors that create limitations for many, major setbacks are often rooted in emotional turmoil from inter-generational or childhood trauma and toxic experiences.

      Driven by the quest for social justice and the needs and well-being of the disadvantaged, Moy leverages her numerous platforms and influence to teach on the importance of personal leadership, self-esteem, developing a godly character, honing entrepreneurial skills, and adopting a simpler lifestyle to achieve peace of mind, relational success, economic empowerment, and overall quality of life.

      Considered a multifaceted woman by a global diversity of clients and associates as a leader who operates proficiently with a spiritual mindset and strategic approach, Moy is the author of Success Is a Journey, The Entrepreneur's Handbook, and the founder of several brands, including STARS Youth International, You Inspire Me Women, Daughters of Royalty, Pray for the Men Global, and Moy Talks Podcast.

      As the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity, Moy liaises with corporate executives, community advocates, academic experts, and government officials to leverage the programs, products, and services of the Congress to develop and execute strategies to foster a cohesive corporate culture where minoritized staff can maximize their potential. 

    • Nishan Duraiappah

      Guest Speaker: Nishan Duraiappah ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      Chief Nishan Duraiappah was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada. He began his career with the Halton Police in December 1995. He served as a Constable for several years in uniform patrol in the towns and cities of Milton, Halton Hills and Burlington and in their general investigative divisions. 

      Throughout his career he has worked in the Regional Drug & Morality Bureau, Guns & Gangs Unit, District Criminal Investigations and with the RCMP Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. He also maintained a strong commitment with many of the Region’s diverse, cultural and faith communities as the Halton Police Diversity & Cultural Relations Coordinator. 

      Chief Duraiappah has served as the Operations Commander for Milton and Halton Hills, the Commander of the Office of Continuous Improvement and Strategic Management (OCISM) and Chief’s Executive Officer. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in the fall of 2015, charged with leading District Operations for all four municipalities, and the Regional Community Mobilization Bureau, Information Technology and Strategic Management Office. 

      In October of 2019, Chief Duraiappah was appointed Chief of Peel Regional Police. 

      Chief Duraiappah holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Toronto, and a Diploma of Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario. Chief Duraiappah serves on the OACP Board of Directors and has served on various OACP Committees throughout his career. He is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), and is a Member of the Order of Merit Canada (2016). 

      Chief Duraiappah has maintained a strong commitment to his community and is involved with several sports and hobbies as well as a volunteer board member for the United Way, and the South Asian Autism Awareness Centre in the GTA. 

    • Odaro Ekoma

      Guest Speaker: Odaro Ekoma​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Odara Ekoma is a 29-year-old DJ/Music Producer of Afro-Caribbean Decent. Odara a had the opportunity to Work with unionized manufacturers while actively participating in union communities such as The Aboriginals, Workers of Colour Committee, and the Young Workers Committee. Odara was eventually elected as the Committee Chairmen for The Young Workers Committee in 2019 to represent Unifor Local 1285.  Odara is also the founder of Music publishing company, Point5ive Sound. 

    • Orlando Bowen

      Guest Speaker: Orlando Bowen​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Orlando Bowen is a keynote speaker focused on equipping people to get off the sidelines and become difference-makers on their teams and in the lives of those around them. He is a highly sought-after speaker and trainer who works with corporations, small businesses and non-profits. When it comes to building teams, creating momentum and employing winning strategies, Orlando is the real deal. He is also passionate about youth leadership. As a result of that passion, he founded One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization to inspire and to teach resilience, leadership and teamwork to youth.​

    • Patrick Knight

      Guest Speaker: Patrick Knight ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Patrick Knight has specialized in serving inner-city students and their families, primarily in the Jane and Finch, Scarborough, and Etobicoke community. Patrick is also the founder of the mentorship group Brothers Unlimited, which was started in Jane and Finch. The slogan of the group is "When Brothers come together, they have unlimited potential". The group is now operating in the Kingston-Galoway community and is supported by the organization Read2Rap. 


    • Peter Danos

      Guest Speaker: Peter Danos​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      Peter Danos is University of Guelph-Humber Alumni with a bachelor's degree in Justice Studies and 24 years of policing service. Danos has served in uniform, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Break and Enter Unit, Street Crime/Gang Unit and former Crisis/Hostage Negotiator. In May 2020, Danos was promoted to the rank of inspector from the Duty Inspector’s Office, where he served as an A/Inspector.  Short after, he became the Officer-In-Charge of Peel Regional Police Services – Road Safety Services under The Community Safety and Well-Being Services umbrella.

    • Ray Gover

      Guest Speaker: Ray Gover ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Ray Gover has been an All-Star Athlete, Fugitive Recover Agent, Director and Businessman. He holds a BA in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Kentucky. He has been featured in print and appeared on media outlets in the United States. He is a compassionate community advocate with the ability to motivate and inspire individuals to share their gift to help others.

      Ray has an ongoing quest to give, promote positive changes and be a beacon of hope. Empowered by passion, he has a history based on personal and professional experience. Ray has overcome many adversities, challenges and obstacles. His story will captivate, encourage and make you reflect on your own experiences but most of all it will inspire you to never give up.

      In high school Ray was among 125 contestants from 45 states who competed for the title of Mr. USA Teen. He was recognized for outstanding achievements among his peers including scholastic success, service, athletic record and personality.

      In fact, the principal of Jefferson High School was quoted as saying that “Ray is a unique young man with the ability to lead…He has always been a responsible, enthusiastic young man of high moral principles and one with the unique ability to get along with all the people all the time.”

      Ray was a top athlete at Jefferson who lettered in football, basketball and track and field. In track, he was a top high jumper with a 7-foot, 1-inch leap. He was also the junior who averaged double figures in scoring and rebounding in basketball, affectionately known as “Dr. Ray” among his teammates. The team relied on him to ensure the vitality and health of their plays on the court.

    • Rocco Achampong

      Guest Speaker: Rocco Achampong ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Rocco Achampong is a practicing lawyer here in Toronto.  He and his wife Portia have three sons. 

      As a lawyer for the past decade, Rocco has championed the cause of those without a voice in the justice system.  

    • Rohan Thompson

      Guest Speaker: Rohan Thompson ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Rohan Thompson is a Social Work Therapist/Psychotherapist, he runs his own private practice called Breakthrough Counselling and Wellness Services. He works with all populations, but he specializes in supporting men and women from African, Caribbean and Black communities either in individual counseling or group programs. Using a range of treatment methods, Rohan utilizes a client centered, trauma informed, anti-racist, strengths-based approach. 

      Currently, Rohan is the Assistant Director of Indigenous Education, Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression and Community Relationships with the Peel District School Board. Some of his responsibilities are policy development, equitable hiring processes and programs, community/partner relationship building and consulting with Sr leadership on a number of equity and anti-racism issues.   

      Rohan was also the Workplace Equity Manager with the Peel District School Board. Rohan was responsible for developing, implementing and supporting policy development and system wide initiatives that help PDSB achieve equity and address disparity and disproportionality.  

      Rohan has always had a focus and commitment to youth development, crime prevention through social development, community development, anti-racist practice and advocacy. Prior to his current role with Peel District School Board, Rohan worked for the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council where he was the Manager of Communications and Community Engagement. During his time with the Crime Prevention Council Rohan was instrumental in working with the community, the local school board and students to develop Black Brilliance, a Black youth led initiative that brings attention, education and advocacy to address anti-Black Racism that African, Caribbean and Black Identified high school students in Waterloo region face.  

      Rohan also played a lead role in working with community partners and Black professionals in Waterloo region to develop the ACB (African, Caribbean and Black) Network. The purpose of the network through one unified voice for the diverse Black community, is to address anti-Black racism in Waterloo region through advocacy, policy analysis, community organizing and networking.  

      Rohan possesses a solid understanding of Anti-oppression and Critical Race Theory, as frameworks that informs the practical application of his work.  In addition to his professional work, Rohan is a community volunteer, sitting on several boards, providing front line support and coaching in minor athletics. Currently, Rohan is a board member with North York Community House, a not-for-profit organization that specializes in community development and services for new Canadians.   Rohan holds two degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University including his master's in social work. In his spare time, Rohan is also passionate about the sport of football and has been a youth football coach for over 13 years.  

    • Royson James​

      Guest Speaker: Royson James​​

      Event(s):
        ;#Remembering George Floyd (evening);#Power of Black Media Conference;#

      ​​Royson James is the Toronto Star’s urban affairs columnist and former City Hall bureau chief, recognized throughout the region for his dogged reporting on the region’s governments, and on social justice. He’s a native of Jamaica who immigrated to Canada in 1969, attended Harbord Collegiate in downtown Toronto and had his journalistic training at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. In 2004 he was named an honored alumnus of Andrews University. ​

    • Steve Anderson

      Guest Speaker: Steve Anderson ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Conference;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Steve is the Deputy Mayor for the Town of Shelburne and a Regional Councillor for the County of Dufferin. In addition, Steve is a practicing litigation lawyer with over 16 years with the Toronto Transit Commission where he was received several awards for his distinguished service. Steve has extensive community Board experience serving as the former Vice-President for the Ontario College of Kinesiology, Board Member with Prologue to the Performing Arts, Citizen Appointment for Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), Citizen Appointment for the City of Brampton task and currently serves as a Director for Defence Construction Canada.

      Among his personal accomplishments, Steve was proud to be named by the Toronto Star as one of the Top 50 Jamaicans in the GTA in 2013 and equally proud of his acknowledgement by the House of Commons for his community service also in 2013.

      Steve is a strong believer in family and is a proud father of 2 children Asia and Devante.


    • Travis Dhanraj

      Guest Speaker: Travis Dhanraj​

      Event(s):
        ;#Power of Black Media Conference;#

      Travis Dhanraj has covered a range of major news and entertainment events.

      Travis was part of the core team that brought the number one entertainment brand in the world - Entertainment Tonight, north of the border. As a producer for ET Canada, Travis interviewed some of the top stars in the world of entertainment including Paris Hilton, Sienna Miller, Michael Douglas and Lindsey Lohan.

      When Celine Dion was in the midst of her ground-breaking Las Vegas extravaganza, 'A New Day,' Travis traveled to Las Vegas to produce ET Canada's highest rated episode to date. The episode included an exclusive sit-down with Celine and a behind the scenes tour of the Vegas strip, including a look at Cirque Du Soleil's 'KA' and Franco Dragone's award winning production, 'Le Reve'.

      In November of 2007 Travis traveled to Africa with legendary musician Tom Cochrane producing a 3-part series on the humanitarian efforts of Canadians overseas. While in Africa Travis lead a team from ET Canada and World Vision, traveling to remote villages to document first hand the effects of HIV/AIDS as well as some of the atrocities of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

      From New York to Los Angeles, Travis has covered A-list events including the Grammy Awards, Oscars, New York Fashion Week and The Kids Choice Awards interviewing news makers like Whitney Houston, Oscar de la Renta, Quincy Jones, Larry King, John Meyer, Al Gore and Naomi Campbell.

      As a general assignment reporter for Winnipeg's CKND Travis reported on political and social issues affecting the local community. After the 2005 shooting death of an 18-year-old robbery suspect, Travis exposed the fractured relationship between police and the city's Aboriginal community. Venturing into the city's crime riddled North End, Travis reported from the front line, questioning gang members, community leaders and police officials which helped Global News lead local and national coverage on the story.

      Travis began his career in television at an early age. At 17 he became the youngest reporter ever on Calgary's NUTV. As a host and reporter for the station's "Full Frontal" Travis interviewed Canadian and American celebrities including Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey and Aaron Carter.

      An active member of the community, Travis was presented with the City of Calgary's prestigious "Leader of Tomorrow Award" in 2000. The mayor recognized his leadership, particularly his work on the issue of child poverty -- work that led to a provincially tabled report written by Travis.

      Travis graduated from Toronto's Radio & Television Arts Program at Ryerson University in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in Communications. He has been invited back to Ryerson and other broadcast schools to lecture about his success and experiences in the television industry. Travis was born in Calgary, Alberta and lives in Toronto, Ontario.​​​

    • Valerie Steele

      Guest Speaker: Valerie Steele ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Valarie H.A. Steele has lived and worked in Canada 50 years. Her range of experience includes financial, government, self-employment and Community activism. 

      Valarie Steele has been working in the Black Community for more than 40 years.  Her advocacy began in the schools; assisting parents navigate a system that is stacked against them and their children that were adversely affecting them. Those early days were very interesting because I did not have children of my own, as yet; but, the sting of racism was still there. It was very evident that in order to fix many issues in the community you had to focus on the children and that meant helping parents to deal with all kinds of issues.  Once I became a parent, I became involved with the school and school boards in order to ensure that the school had black teachers that reflected the population of the school. I was Chair of the School Council for many years. I had resounding successes and that was very helpful to the community and school community. 

      That training ground prepared me for the advocacy and activism I do in the wider community. Along the way, I became President of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA). It was during that time that the turbulence of racial profiling raised its ugly head and the spinoff of that was Carding. The mountains are large and wide but we are still here ensuring that we find our rightful space in this society.  

      Throughout my life’s journey, my pride and joy was the beautiful family that I had surrounding me, strengthening me and allowing me to be my authentic self. My children and grandchildren are my absolute pride and joy and I call this time in my life “a sweet spot.”  

    • Yvonne Sinniah

      Guest Speaker: Yvonne Sinniah ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Youth Leadership Conference;#

      ​Yvonne Sinniah is driven to develop communities and individuals to thrive and live to their best potential. Yvonne is currently the City of Brampton’s COVID-19 Youth Support Task Force Staff Lead. She is also Manager, Strategic Community Development and Program Partnerships at the City of Brampton’s Recreation Division.  Yvonne works with community groups, government agencies and private organizations to develop collaborative partnerships that benefit residents.  Previously, Yvonne was Director, Health System Integration at the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), where she led Diversity and Health Equity, Women and Children’s Health, Telemedicine, and Physiotherapy Reform. Her experiences in government, community and private sector institutions informs her holistic approach to partnerships and programs at the City of Brampton.​

    • Zanana Akande

      Guest Speaker: Zanana Akande ​

      Event(s):
        ;#Black Political Empowerment Conference;#

      ​Zanana Lorraine Akande (born c. 1937) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a New Democratic member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1990 to 1994 who represented the downtown Toronto riding of St. Andrew—St. Patrick. She served as a cabinet minister in the government of Bob Rae. She was the first woman from the African Diaspora elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the first woman from the African Diaspora to serve as a cabinet minister in Canada.

      A daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean, she became a teacher and school principal in the Toronto public school system. After her election in 1990, she was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Community and Social Services but resigned because her private financial arrangements appeared to violate cabinet guidelines. A subsequent review cleared her of any wrongdoing. In 1992, she was named parliamentary assistant to Premier Bob Rae. In 1994 she quit politics after a dispute over the handling of an investigation and firing of Ontario civil servant Carlton Masters.

      As of 2009, Akande is retired but continues to be involved in the community, serving as a volunteer on boards and committees of local organizations including the YWCA and Centennial College.