Power of Black Media Conference

June 8 and June 10, 2021
9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Online​​​ (WebEx)

Black communities have been underrepresented in mainstream media, and there is an urgent need to amplify Black voices and present more positive Black images in the media.

This two-day conference will educate Black young adults about various careers in media, and the process, challenges, and benefits of owning their own media companies and platforms. The conference will seek to educate on the importance, responsibility, and power of Black media. It will explore the role media plays in eradicating anti-Black racism and the development of cultural, social, political, and economic status. 

These conversations will also serve as an educational and networking opportunity for Black media professionals, media students, community organizations, and businesses.​

Tuesday, June 8 Conference Agenda

Thursday, June 10 Conference Agenda​


Speakers Include:

Royson James 

Guest speaker: Royson James​

Bio: Toronto Star Columnist; G98.7 FM Host and Producer

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.

Royson is an active member of the Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has directed the pathfinder club for kids 10 to 16. He also writes and produces an annual Easter Musical and dramatic presentations. The pathfinders, like Scouts but co-ed, plant an annual community garden and engage in community work.

In 2013 he received Canada’s premier award for African Canadians – the Harry Jerome Award for media. In 2014 he was a finalist in the National Newspaper Award for columnist of a Canadian newspaper.

Royson is married with four children.

Dr. Carl B. Mack 

Guest speaker: Dr. Carl B. Mack

Bio: Author; Former President of the Seattle King County NAACP; Former Executive Director, National Society of Black Engineers. View video.​

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 Convention. He also has a daughter, LaShaundra Johnson, who resides in Jackson, Miss.

Travis Dhanraj 
​​Guest speaker: Travis Dhanraj

Bio: CBC News Reporter

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.

Spider Jones 

Guest speaker: Spider Jones

Bio: Radio Talk Show Host

Jones is a three-time former Golden Glove Champion and was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of fame in 1996. Spider was recently voted “Boxing Commentator and M.C. of the Year” by the Board of Governors for the World Boxing Federation.

Spider is also a highly popular motivational speaker who is much admired for his diligent work among the youth. His inspirational life story “Out of the Darkness” reveals his amazing rise from the impoverished, gang infested, inner-city projects of Detroit and Windsor and how, as a grade five dropout, he eventually returned to school at the age of thirty to become an honor student. Spider’s favorite thing is talking to his Nighthawks, whether it be about sports, entertainment, or hot issues.

Over the past 20 years, Spider has interviewed such notables as Muhammad Ali, Mark Wahlberg, Jesse Jackson, LL Cool J, Ron Howard, Scott Grimes, Doug Gilmour, Cito Gaston, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones, Kris Kristofferson, James Brown, Guy Lafleur, Carlos Delgado, Jim Brown and countless others. Among his other claims to fame was to act as a sparring partner for such boxing legends as George Chuvalo and former World Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Ellis. Spider was also a member of Muhammad Ali’s training camp back in the days when ‘The Greatest’ fought Chuvalo.

Jojo Chintoh​ 

Guest speaker: Jojo Chintoh​

Bio: Former CityTV Reporter

Born in Ghana, Chintoh moved to Canada in 1969. He became editor of several newspapers, including Contrast, before joining Citytv in 1978. He was hired at a time when Moses Znaimer was making efforts to have television personalities reflect the diverse cultures of the city, and Chintoh was the first black reporter on the station. He focused on crime reporting for the station in the early 1990s.

In 1985, Chintoh received a CanPro award and a Gemini award nomination for his series Down and Out in Parkdale. He received the 1984 Sovereign Award from the Canadian Racing Community for his Quest for the Plate series.

Fennella Bruce 
​​Guest speaker: Fennella Bruce

Bio: Media Consultant; Founder, FKB Media Solutions; former CTV News Producer​

Fennella Bruce is a veteran television producer and writer, she is now at the helm of FKB Media Solutions – a media consulting business. Having worked in the field of journalism for over 20 years, Fennella has produced both of Canada’s national morning shows – Your Morning and Canada AM. She has been the senior writer or producer at numerous major market television stations including CTV News Channel, CTV National, CP24, CityTv, Toronto 1 and BET. Fennella received her Graduate Degree in Journalism from Ryerson University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. For six years, she taught Media Theory at Centennial College. Fennella is the Vice-President of the Board of Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, a member of Women in Film and Television – Toronto (WIFT-T) Foundation Board, a member of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the 2020 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women Award.

Anthony Joseph 

Guest speaker: Anthony Joseph

Bio: Publisher, The Caribbean Camera

He immigrated to Canada 1972 and is graduated in Marketing and Sales at George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

After graduating from George Brown College, he began his own machinery business selling tool-room and manufacturing equipment.

In 1992 he became involved in the newspaper world in different capacities.

The newspaper idea was always in his blood and his mind, therefore, in 2013, he was able to acquire ownership of The Caribbean Camera newspaper.

His aim was not to focus only on one particular Caribbean area but decided to focus on all aspects of the Caribbean home and abroad.

In the last few years, he enhanced the newspaper to include anything from Health and Nutrition Sector, Entertainment, Sports in all the Islands, Community news, politics and business.

Publishing a weekly newspaper is very difficult subject but he devotes all his time to achieve his objective and improve the product.

As a result, the newspaper has attracted far greater interest among readers outside the Caribbean community, including readers, tourists and those planning to visit the Islands.

Ginelle Skerritt 

Guest speaker: Ginelle Skerritt

Bio: Author and Community Advocate

Ginelle Skerritt is a graduate of York University in Toronto and Carleton University in Ottawa. Throughout her career, which spans over 25 years in the non-profit sector, she focused on community development with youth, women, and families, while fundraising with the United Way of Greater Toronto and UNICEF Canada. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Warden Woods Community Centre, a vibrant and healthy multi-service community-based agency in Southwest Scarborough. She promotes a participatory and asset-based service delivery model for the agency. The Centre has plans to relocate a cluster of seniors’ services to more accessible locations and seek support to expand services to children and youth. Under Ginelle’s leadership, Warden Woods offers over 50 programs and services for over 6,000 clients across Southwest Scarborough. The Centre is evolving steadily to meet the needs of the community and ensure their relevance in the changing society

A member of the Social Planning Toronto and Toronto Neighborhood Centres’ Boards, Ginelle contributes to the strategic leadership of the non-profit sector.

Patricia Bebia Mawa 
​​Guest speaker: Patricia Bebia Mawa

Bio: Afroglobal TV; Silvertrust Media

After launching a successful career as a TV personality in her native Nigeria as the host of the show Lunch Date, Patricia Bebia Mawa relocated to Canada and essentially started her media career over from scratch. She’s now the executive vice president of the Afroglobal TV channel as well as host and producer of the long-running TV show, Planet Africa, which is broadcast across Canada on OMNI TV and syndicated to Europe and Africa. She is also the executive vice president and editorial director of Afroglobal parent Silvertrust Media, which she co-founded with her husband, Moses. Their media empire includes magazines, TV shows, awards, and an expanding online presence. She spoke with creating her own opportunities in the competitive media landscape.

Neil Armstrong 

Guest speaker: Neil Armstrong

Bio: Journalist

With over 20 years of experience in journalism, Neil Armstrong has worked as a reporter at Radio Jamaica Ltd. (RJR), a reporter, news director and program director at CHRY Radio at York University, an editor at the Jamaican Weekly Gleaner (North American edition), and currently freelances as a writer with the Weekly Gleaner and Pride News Magazine, an African Canadian online publication. He was a regular interviewer/reporter on the now defunct Caribbean Headline News, Rogers TV.

Sarah Onyango 

Guest speaker: Sarah Onyango

Bio: TV and Radio Host

A translator by trade, Kenyan-born Sarah Onyango is a well-known fixture on Ottawa’s community television and radio scene. She has hosted the monthly African cultural program Fonton from, on Rogers TV Cable 22 – Ottawa since 2002 as well as the weekly radio programs, Black on Black and Afrika Revisited on CHUO 89.1FM (University of Ottawa community radio) since the late 1990s. In 2003, she created BlackOttawa411, an online "virtual hub" providing information about the National Capital Region's black community, businesses, organizations and events.

A tireless promoter of African and Caribbean culture and activities, Sarah has for many years been actively involved in public relations work for various African and Caribbean diplomatic missions as well as numerous community organizations such as Black History Ottawa (board member since 2002), Fête Caribe, Dream KEEPERS, various Caribbean and African associations, OCISO, OLIP, and the United Way (member of the CBA Recognition Team since 2009).

Sarah's community service has been recognized with various awards including the United Way East Community Builder Award (2008 & 2011), the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), the Ontario Volunteer Service Award (2012), the Leading Women Leading Girls Building Communities award (2014), the Ontario Black History Society's Mathieu Da Costa Award (2016), the #OC150 award (2017), and 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women (2018).

Charles Matthews Jr. 

Guest speaker: Charles Matthews Jr.

Bio: Social Media, TV and Radio Host​

Charles Matthews oversees many special events around the city of Toronto. He is trusted be some of the top companies in the industry for his style and open ideas. With more than 25 years of entertainment experience, Charles has worked on several valuable projects, including JN Bank outlook, Carabram and Pan am Games.

Before opening CMJ Entertainment, Charles launched his career at CHRY 105.5fm where he was responsible for co-hosting one of the top-rated shows.

Charles has contributed to several different industries including Publications/Charites/Events/Organizations, including Peel Police, Sickle Cell of Ontario and much more.

His expertise and commitment to his audience has allowed him to be recognized as the voic​e of Toronto.

Brian Daly 

Guest speaker: Brian Daly

Bio: Journalism Professor; Atlantic Director, Canadian Association of Black Journalist​

Brian Daly is the Atlantic Director at the Canadian Association of Black Journalists. He oversees multiple CABJ programs at the grassroots level including a media-training seminar called J-School Noire, focused on teaching journalism skills to Black high-school students.

Brian is also an Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax. He joined the King’s faculty after 26 years as a reporter and producer for all three Canadian television news networks and The Canadian Press wire service.

Brian is passionate about helping schools and media companies to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals. The Montreal native is a fluently bilingual consultant who has led D&I seminars in both official languages.

Last year Brian created a database, and an accompanying tutorial video, for journalism faculty entitled Understanding Journalism and Systemic Racism.

He also co-authored the federal policy paper Amplifying Voices, Protecting Lives: Addressing Systemic Racism in Media, presented at the Global Conference for Media Freedom.

Awards and Honours

  • One of CBC’s “Diverse Emerging Leaders"
  • Finalist – RTDNA 2019 Diversity – Adrienne Clarkson Award
  • Finalist – RTDNA 2017 Trina McQueen Award
Emily Mills 

Guest speaker: Emily Mills

Bio: Journalist; Founder of How She Hustles

Connecting people is a life-long passion for Emily Mills, an award-winning creative entrepreneur, public speaker and the founder of How She Hustles.

In addition to those duties, Jones appears on a weekly basketball show hosted by Smith on the Fan 590, Hoops, which is simulcast on Raptors NBA TV. Jones and Smith also appear together on another show on Raptors NBA TV, Double Dribble.

In 2010, Emily launched How She Hustles, a Toronto-based network that connects diverse women through social media and special events. With a small but mighty freelance team, Emily leads this community with a digital reach of 18,000 diverse women.

Through her network, Emily has produced 20+ sold-out events and Startup & Slay, the digital series for diverse female and non-binary entrepreneurs sponsored by CIBC, Rogers Sports & Media and Shopify produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. These online & offline events attract women from across North America and beyond, with up to 400 guests from Olympians to CEOs. Guests attend to get inspired, informed and connected with other entrepreneurs and leaders. Watch a :60 sample event video or a replay of our EPIC 10-year virtual celebration.

Most recently, Emily hosted a women’s roundtable with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and was invited to meet former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Before becoming her own boss, Emily was a senior communications officer at CBC, one of Canada’s largest media companies. In 2017, she created HERstory in Black, a digital photo series featuring 150 inspiring black women. The project earned national press coverage, became a 1-hour TV documentary, lead to an unprecedented celebration and won CBC’s President’s Award. She has also worked as assistant diversity producer at CTV, at Corus and as a freelance music/culture writer.

Emily was named to WXN’s Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women list in the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders category. She is profiled in the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women book, received the Ryerson University Alumni Achievement Award, was named a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow and is a member of BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network. She was one of 16 Canadians appointed to the national committee for Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls.

A frequent public speaker, Emily has lead conversations for United Nations Association in Canada, Economic Club of Canada, Twitter Canada, YWCA Canada, Lean in Canada, Maytree Canada and more. She has been profiled via the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC, CTV, Flare, Startup Here TO and more. She frequently speaks about entrepreneurship, leadership, and how to better engage women and #BIPOC communities.

A graduate of Ryerson and York Universities, Emily holds degrees in journalism and music, and has studied public relations. She enjoys life in the city with her family. Find her on Twitter or Instagram @howshehustles

Awards and Honours:

  • Winner – ByBlacks.com People’s Choice Awards for Best Virtual Event of 2020
  • Winner – Ryerson University Alumni Achievement Award (2019)
  • Winner – Women’s Executive Network Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award in the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leader Category (2018)
  • Winner – 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women (2018)
  • Finalist – Notable Awards for Entrepreneur of the Year (2018)
  • Winner – 10 Inspirational Women in Toronto Award – Soulful Image Magazine (2018)
  • Honourable Mention – HERstory in Black – Radio Television Digital News Association Award (2018)
  • Winner – President’s Award – CBC Broadcasting Corporation (2017)
  • Nominee – Everyday Political Citizen – Samara Canada (2017)
  • Winner – Regroupement Affaires Femmes (2017)
  • Winner – Award of Excellence – Jerome Henry Foundation (2017)
  • Winner – Women’s Courage Award – Endless Possibilities & Hope Foundation (2016)
  • Winner – Women’s Empowerment Award – Black Canadian Awards (2015)
  • Named – 100 Black Women to Watch – Canadian International Black Women’s Event (2015)
  • Winner – Strength of A Woman Award Women United Network (2015)
  • Profiled – Luminato Mille Femmes Photo Exhibit of 1000 women in Toronto (2008)
  • Winner – Canadian National Griot Award (2003)
Chris B. Bennett 

Guest speaker: Chris B. Bennett

Bio: CEO of Tiloben Publishing Company, Inc.​

Chris B. Bennett, 50, Editor and Publisher of the Seattle Medium Newspaper Group, has been promoted to CEO of the newspaper group’s parent company Tiloben Publishing Company, Inc., according to Chris H. Bennett, Chairperson Emeritus of the 51-year-old media company.

In a statement from Tiloben Publishing Company, Inc., Chris H. Bennett stated that the succession of the publishing company and newspaper group is in place.

“Chris B., as he is affectionately known locally and nationally in the publishing industry, has prepared himself well for the challenging endeavors in the publishing and printing industry,” said Bennett in the statement. “Not just for the challenges we have to overcome with COVID-19 but in general for managing an enterprise that is now in a complete transition and transformation in this era of a media, technology and innovation.”

According to Bennett, Chris B., a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta who holds certificates in advanced editorial studies from the University of Washington, is a faithful community servant who could have done many other things in life but has made it a point to speak for those who may not be able to speak for themselves and to advocate and fight for things that will improve the quality of life for all people in our community.

“Oftentimes, we as parents support our children’s educational achievements and goals in hopes that they will return to the community from which they came with the learned knowledge that they have attained and contribute to the uplifting and well-being of our community,” says Chris H. Bennett.

“He is the epitome of a faithful community servant, who you just have to tip your hat to and say ‘well done,’ and we owe him a tremendous amount of gratitude for it,” added Bennett. “National colleagues and community leaders give high regards to the award -winning and national acclaimed newspaper’s appearance and news content, and that is a direct result of his leadership and hard work.”

“Although, for some time Chris B. Bennett has administratively ran the editorial and day-to-day operations of the newspaper group. His new role gives him control of the publishing company as well,” said Bennett. “I’m am excited and completely humbled by this opportunity,” said Chris B. Bennett, regarding his promotion.

“I stand on the shoulders of two trailblazing giants when it comes to this industry and our community, my father, Chris H. Bennett, Chairman/Emeritus, as well as my aunt, the late Connie Bennett Cameron, the former editor and publisher of The Seattle Medium,” continued Bennett. “I am not trying to fill the shoes of those who have set the standard for where we are today as a company, but rather I’m wearing a new set of shoes that I wear until they fall apart at the seams, as I continue to walk down the path that they have laid before me.

“Their shoes should be immortalized in their own right because their impact on our community, both locally and nationally, is immeasurable, and it is my goal to enrich the legacy that they have created through the efforts that we put forward as a company in the near and present future,” concluded Bennett.

Chris B. Bennett, and his wife Kim, live in the Seattle area with their 5-year-old daughter.

Paul Jones 

Guest speaker: Paul Jones

Bio: Toronto Raptors Sportscaster​

Paul Jones is a Canadian sportscaster. He previously served as the colour analyst on Raptors radio broadcasts, a role he had during the Raptors' inaugural season in 1995, with play-by-play man Mike Inglis on CFRB 1010. Currently, he serves as the Raptors' radio play-by-play announcer on Fan 590, alongside colour analyst Eric Smith.

In addition to those duties, Jones appears on a weekly basketball show hosted by Smith on the Fan 590, Hoops, which is simulcast on Raptors NBA TV. Jones and Smith also appear together on another show on Raptors NBA TV, Double Dribble.

Jones has also served as studio analyst and sideline reporter for the Raptors on TSN, CTV, and Rogers Sportsnet. He can now be seen regularly throughout Canada on various programs and networks such as The Grill Room (SUN TV), Off the Record (TSN), and Full Court Press (Raptors NBA TV).

As a basketball player, Jones won three provincial titles (1978, 1980–81) as a member of York University's basketball team. He was a two-time conference All-Star and was awarded the Kitch McPherson Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Ontario championship game in 1981. A two-time Ontario All-Star (1980–81), he participated in the CIAU national championship tournament four times and won two bronze medals (1978–79). In 1983, he won a silver medal as a member of the team that represented Canada in the Commonwealth Basketball Tournament in New Zealand. He also coached at the high school and provincial team levels and served as an assistant coach with the University of Western Ontario for three years.

Daniella Johnson 

Guest speaker: Daniella Johnson

Bio: Federal Liberal Nomination Candidate, Brampton Centre

Daniella has spent her career in the public and non-profit sectors, working to support social purpose organizations to have a greater impact in the communities they serve. Most recently, Daniella held the role of Senior Manager, Social Impact with LIFT Philanthropy Partners as well as Lead, Partnership Investments with the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Daniella is currently seeking the Federal Liberal Nomination for the riding of Brampton Centre (www.daniellajohnson.ca​).

Kirk Mark 

Guest speaker: Kirk Mark

Bio: Coordinator – Race and Ethnic Relations Multiculturalism and Visiting Educati​onal Delegations Department of the Curriculum and Accountability Team, Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Kirk Mark is a Coordinator of Race and Ethnic Relations Multiculturalism and Visiting Educational Delegations Department for the Toronto District School Board. His focus is on student success, inclusive education, staff development, parental engagement, and school-community partnerships. No stranger to issues of equity policy development and implementation, professional learning, community capacity development, race, class, gender, ethnicity, culture, anti-racist education and sport development, he continues to expand his knowledge while presenting his research to local, national and international audiences at conferences such as the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto’s De-Colonizing the Spirit, the Canadian Alliance of Black Educators, the American Education Research Association, the Cheikh Anta Diop Conference and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity to name a few. Kirk has also acquired expertise in the area of banking, life and health insurance industries, as well as human resources management through his involvement with various corporations.

Other: Founding Director, Toronto Basketball Association (1980) and the Willowdale Community Legal Clinic (1985).

Community: Member of the Board of Directors, Toronto Basketball Association (President, TBA); Canadian Alliance of Black Educators (President, CABE); Anti-racist Multicultural Educators Network of Ontario (Treasurer, AMENO and former Chair); Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR); City of Pickering Race Relations Advisory Committee; former Vice-Chair Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC); former Member and International Representative of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE); former Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (Canada) Board Member; former Vice-President Ontario Basketball Association (OBA); former Chair, West Indian Volunteer Association; former Treasurer and Chair of the Negotiation Team, The Association of Professional Student Services Personnel (MSSB Chapter); former President Ontario Public Services Employees (MSSB Chapter).

Honours: African Canadian Achievement Award – Excellence in Education – Pride News Magazine (2010); Breakaway Relief Care Award of Merit in Community Development (2008); Toronto Catholic District School Board’s Continuing Education Certification of Appreciation (2007); Who’s Who in Black Canada: Black Success and Black Excellence in Canada (2006, 2002); CABE Foundations Award (2005); City of Toronto Black History Award (2005); Toronto Basketball Association Award of Excellence (2004); Human Rights and Race Relations Centre Excellence in Education Award (2003); Honorary Ghanaian Citizenship (2003); Rwandan Women and Young Adults Resource Networking Centre Certificate of Appreciation (2003); Malvern Youth Club Award for Outstanding Community Service (2003); Children Services of Toronto Humanitarian Award of Excellence (2003); City of Toronto African Heritage Award (2001); City of Toronto Race Relations Harmony Award (2001).

Works: OISE/U of T’s Orbit Magazine. Appeared on:T.V.’s Time Out; In the Black; Ondes Africaines.

Works: OISE/U of T’s Orbit Magazine. Appeared on:T.V.’s Time Out; In the Black; Ondes Africaines.

Education: Doctoral Candidate, OISEUT, Education; M.Ed., (1999), B.A. (1978) – York University, Toronto, ON; Dipl. Social Sciences (1976) – Dawson College, QC.

Born: The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Heroes: Spouse, parents.

​​ ​​
Christopher Alexander 

Guest speaker: Christopher Alexander

Bio: CEO of Zhoosh Service Enterprise Inc.

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.

Justice Gregory Regis 

Guest speaker: Justice Gregory Regis

Bio: Former regional senior judge from the Ontario Court of Justice; Appointed distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University

The Honorable Justice Gregory Regis, former regional senior judge from the Ontario Court of Justice, has been appointed distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University. Reporting to the provost and vice-president, academic, he will provide support to advance partnerships and act as an advisor to the law school project. His appointment is for one year.

Regis was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in 1999, and in 2007, was appointed regional senior justice for the Central East Region. He was reappointed in 2010 and completed the maximum two terms in 2013. Regis is the first non-white individual to hold that place in office and is also the first and only Saint Lucian to become a judge in Canada. He retired in 2014 but continues to serve as a judge part-time.

Before earning his Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Regis graduated from Ryerson’s School of Journalism. His experience in the field began in Saint Lucia, where he worked as a photojournalist for Saint Lucia’s national newspaper, The Voice, and later as a news editor for Radio Saint Lucia. He was the correspondent in Saint Lucia for several Caribbean and international news outlets including the Associated Press, the Trinidad Express, Radio Guardian and Radio Antilles. In Canada, Regis worked as an editor for CBC.

“Ryerson alumni are important members of our community, and it brings me great pride, when one of our graduates returns to the university as distinguished visiting professor,” said Chris Evans, interim provost and vice-president, academic. “Justice Gregory Regis graduated from Ryerson in 1977, and returns to share his unique experience in law, journalism and community engagement to help develop partnerships and support university initiatives.”

Regis is an active member of the community and has held leadership positions for a number of groups including the Saint Lucia Toronto Association, the Canadian Foundation for Caribbean Development and Co-operations, the Caribbean Culture Committee, and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. He is a founding member of the Canadian Centre on Minority Affairs, and has worked as a consultant on race relations with the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Board of Education.

“Though Ryerson campus has changed dramatically since my time as a student, the university continues to strive for the highest standards in its programs, teaching and learning, administration and governance,” said Regis. “Returning to Ryerson is an exciting shift in my career, and I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders and representing the university to the wider community.”

Regis is a member of the Association of Ontario Judges, the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Saint Lucia Governor General’s Award, the BBPA’s Harry Jerome Lifetime Achievement Award, the Ontario Medal for Community Service, and the African Canadian Achievement Award for Law.

The Honourable Zanada Akande 

Guest speaker: The Honourable Zanada Akande

Bio: Former Member of Provincial Parliament; Part Owner and Founder of Flow

Zanana was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1990 and was the first black woman to hold a cabinet position in Canada.

She held the positions of Minister of Community and Social Services and served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier.

Zanana has also served on the boards of many organizations and received numerous awards recognizing her commitment and service to education, equity and social justice.


Special interviews (pre-recorded videos)​

Ben Crump 

Special Interview: Ben Crump

Bio: American Civil Rights Attorney

Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump has established himself as one of the nation's foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice, earning the nickname “Black America's Attorney General.” His legal acumen has ensured that those marginalized in American society are protected by their nation's contract with its constituency. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.

Crump's tireless advocacy has led to legislation preventing excessive force and developing implicit bias training and policies. He has been nationally recognized as the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and Ebony Magazine Power 100 Most Influential African Americans. In 2016, he was designated as an Honorary Fellow by the University of Pennsylvania College of Law.

He has represented families in several high-profile civil rights cases including George Floyd, who was killed by a law enforcement officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, in 2012; Michael Brown, who was killed by a law enforcement officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014; Stephon Clark, who was killed by police officers in Sacramento, California, in 2018; as well as the residents of Flint, Michigan, who were affected by the poisoned water of the Flint River. Crump represented 9 of the 13 black women who were victims in the Holtzclaw Oklahoma City Police rape case in 2015 and worked on the precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case involving excessive police force against Robbie Tolan in 2008.

Crump is the President of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association and previously served as President of the National Bar Association. He was the first African American to chair the Florida State University College of Law Board of Directors and currently serves on the Innocence Project Board of Directors. He is the founder and director of the Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute.

Among dozens of accomplishments, Attorney Crump has been recognized with the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, the American Association for Justice Johnnie Cochran Award, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Eleanor Roosevelt Medallion for Service.

He hosted the critically acclaimed legal docudramas Evidence of Innocence on TVOne and Who Killed Tupac: The Search For Justice on A&E, and served as executive producer of the documentary, Woman in Motion, about Nichelle Nichols, one of the first African-American TV actresses. He is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post Black Voices, CNN, and USA Today.

Crump's book, published in October 2019, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, reflects on the landmark cases he has battled, and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities.

Crump graduated from Florida State University and received his law degree from FSU College of Law. He is married to Dr. Genae Angelique Crump.

Danny Glover 

Special Interview: Danny Glover

Bio: Actor; Film Director; Political Activist​

Actor, producer, and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 35 years.

Glover was born in San Francisco, California, to Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, postal workers who were also active in civil rights. Glover trained at the Black Actors' Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater. It was his Broadway debut in Fugard's Master Harold...and the Boys, which brought him to national recognition and led director Robert Benton to cast Glover in his first leading role in 1984's Oscar®-nominated Best Picture Places in the Heart.

The following year, Glover starred in two more Best Picture nominees: Peter Weir's Witness and Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. In 1987, Glover partnered with Mel Gibson in the first Lethal Weapon film and went on to star in three hugely successful Lethal Weapon sequels. Glover has also invested his talents in more personal projects, including the award-winning To Sleep With Anger, which he executive produced and for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor; Bopha!; Manderlay; Missing in America; and the film version of Athol Fugard's play Boesman and Lena. On the small screen, Glover won an Image Award and a Cable ACE Award and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO movie Mandela. He has also received Emmy nominations for his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove and the telefilm Freedom Song. As a director, he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Showtime's Just a Dream.

Glover's film credits range from the blockbuster Lethal Weapon franchise to smaller independent features, some of which Glover also produced. He co-starred in the critically acclaimed feature Dreamgirls directed by Bill Condon and in Po' Boy's Game for director Clement Virgo. He appeared in the hit feature Shooter for director Antoine Fuqua, Honeydripper for director John Sayles, and Be Kind, Rewind for director Michel Gondry.

Glover has also gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice, and access to health care and education programs in the United States and Africa. For these efforts, Glover received a 2006 DGA Honor. Internationally, Glover has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, focusing on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and serves as UNICEF Ambassador.

In 2005, Glover co-founded Louverture Films dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. The New York based company has a slate of progressive features and documentaries including Trouble the Water, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Africa Unite, award winning feature Bamako, and most recent projects Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan.