O Canada! Our August issue is a destination issue on Canada. Check out profiles from The Passport Party Project, Olympian Aaron Kingsley Brown, Oneika The Traveller and My Wander Year.

This issue also includes a Black Lives Matter Special Section.



Takes Toronto

Black Lives Matter,


& Africville




Archivists Note

We’ve literally been chasing Canadians all across

North America. From training facitilities in Florida

and up into Toronto, everyday was a “Canadians

are everywhere” moment.

With the Olympics broadcasting, we absolutely

had to find one of Canada’s medal contenders.

So we chased down Aaron Kingsley Brown (pause

- he allowed us to catch him) before he left for Rio

to compete in track and field. Two days before

our interview he had just set a sub 10 record in

the 100m and yet he was one of the most humble

guys you could ever meet.

Along with Kingsley, we finally chased down (1)

Oneika The Traveller (2 ‘L’s” - she’s Canadian).

She brilliantly discusses the wonders of growing

up Canadian and how it contributed to her wanderlust.

She also talks about travel elitism and

how we often use travel as another way to separate

ourselves. She sat down for our interview

and then immediately raced home to get

ready for another trip around the world.

We also got an opportunity to talk

to Canadian photographer and

artist (2) Stacey Tyrell. Her

work which deals with identity,

race and heritage in

post colonial societies

is stunning. Writer


Tiffany Em’s interview

with Stac-

ey is one for the books.

Writer Bill Young, a contributor to

the Society of American Baseball Research,

was also happy to share the

story of (3) Jackie Robinson’s time

with the Montreal Royals. If you’re

a historian or baseball fan then you

will love it.

So, here’s a little story of our own...

We’re eyeball deep into the Canada

issue and we get an email from overseas.

“I have a job opportunity in L.A,

but I’m scared to move to a country

where the government is killing its

black citizens and no one is being

held accountable.” That was the gist

of the email and with that everything

stopped for us.

Each month we put this publication

together with one major goal: to discuss

and expose black travelers to

the cultures, issues, and places they

encounter while out on the road. But

this wasn’t on the road. This was

at home - at least for us it is..

Our B.L.M section (4)

is our way of using

this platform to

continue the





The effects of SCD on the

Global Black community.

By Brittany Hayes

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), an inherited condition in

which there is not enough healthy red blood cells to

carry adequate oxygen throughout the body, is the

most common genetic disorder in the United States.

With 100,000 individuals currently diagnosed with

SCD within the U.S. (approximately 1 out of 365 being

African-Americans) the effects of the disease can be


Symptoms include severe pain, vision loss, hand and

foot syndrome, anemia, acute chest syndrome, stroke,

and in many instances death. SCD is particularly common

among those whose ancestors come from sub-Saharan

Africa, Spanish speaking regions in the Western

Hemisphere, Saudi Arabia, India, and Mediterranean

countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

Globally, SCD is the most common in

West and Central Africa where as many

as 25% of individuals have Sickle Cell

Trait. Worldwide, the disease is thought

to affect more than 500,000 babies a

year approximately 1,000 of those being

born within the United States. Today,

Sickle Cell Disease has become an

international health

problem and truly a

global challenge.

While scientific advances

have led to

effective approaches

for the management

and treatment

of SCD and the prevention

of complications,

much is still

needed to help bring

awareness to this

painful disease and

ultimately bringing

about a cure. In efforts

to bring awareness

and a cure for

SCD a call to action

is required.

For the global

black community

collective advocacy,

education, and

playing a hands

on role in

finding a cure

(i.e. participating

in clinical trials)

is vital.

For the global black community, collective

advocacy, education, and playing a

hands on role in finding a cure (i.e. participating

in clinical

trials) is vital. The value

of knowing if people

are carrying the

SCD, or not, is insurmountable,

and holds

the solution needed

to further enhance

awareness around the

globe. Heightened

awareness increases

the ability to capture

public attention

through sharing the

personal experiences

of people who live

with SCD each day,

makes SCD a community-wide


and places the significance

of this disease within the realm

of national consciousness. This is precisely

the focus of SCDAA.

The Sickle Cell Disease Association of

America, Inc. (SCDAA) has been the

leading nonprofit, patient focused organization

100% dedicated to Sickle Cell

SCD since its conception in 1971. SC-

DAA has worked nearly four decades to

develop a coordinated

national approach and

partner with community-based


to provide information

and support to people

affected by SCD and

their families. With a

mission to advocate for

and enhance our member’s

ability to improve

the quality of health,

life, and services for individuals,

families and

communities affected

by Sickle Cell Disease

and related conditions,

and promoting the

search for a cure, SC-

DAA has more than 40

community-based member organizations

located in over 30 states serving

throughout various communities in the


To date, the organization

holds multiple

events throughout the

year to bring awareness

and promote

better treatments for

those living with SCD

including its National

Advocacy Day on

Capitol Hill, the Annual

Sickle Cell Convention,

and the National

Walk with the Stars

Sickle Cell Walk and


To promote awareness

of Sickle Cell Disease

in your local community

and to learn more

on how you can help, visit our national

website at



Terry McMillian is back with a new book,

I Almost Forgot About You.

Review by Natalie Blake

In her signature flavor, Terry McMillan

takes us on a journey into the life of

Dr. Georgia Young, a mid-fifties, twice

divorced woman who has all the trappings

of success; great friends, family,

and a thriving career. However, all that

glitters isn’t gold.

Georgia is unsatisfied with her lot in life

and decides to take a trip down memory

lane when she learns about the death

of a man she once loved. On a whim,

she decides to locate all her old flames

to talk about her lessons learned and

possibly rekindle a flame or two.

Adding a little more fuel to the fire,

Georgia impulsively decides that she

wants to sell her house and optometry

practice, and try her hand at a career

McMillan weaves a

tale of love, regret,

betrayal, hope,

failure, and success.

The characters

come to life

and are so relatable

that images

of your mom,

daughter, sister,

girlfriend, and ex

loves will surely

come to mind.

With just enough

flair and drama we

join Georgia as she

ponders some of

life’s age old questions

and attempts

to create her ideal


change. Not knowing where she wants

to go or what she wants to do, Georgia

plunges head first into what appears to

be a midlife crisis.

Set against the San Francisco backdrop

I almost forgot

about you is a feel

good, tell it like it

is story of a woman who decides not to

settle for the safe life she has created.

As Georgia journeys into the unknown,

she realizes that the life she always

longed for isn’t so far away after all.

Where were you when the inspiration for a

documentary on the Green Book sprung?

Gretchen Sorin, an extraordinary historian

who is a professor and the Director of the Museum

Studies program at the Cooperstown

Graduate Program, has been researching the

history of African American

travel for years. She

has an amazing archive

of oral histories and

photographs and is just

completing a book about

African Americans, car

culture, and “automobility”

in the era of Jim


The Green Book, is the

best known of a number

of travel guides, which

beginning in the 1930’s were written specifically

for African Americans. The guides were

meant to provide information for black travelers

about safe places to stay, to eat, and to fill

their gas tanks, while moving through towns

and cities in this country that were incredibly

dangerous for black people.

One afternoon, after telling me about some of

the stories she had gathered over the years,

Gretchen said, “we need to make a film about

this,” and I knew she was absolutely right.

What steps do you take in developing a historical


First and foremost

we want to do justice

to the stories that

people tell.

more – from all across the


Projects like this require an incredible amount

of research on the front end. Gretchen Sorin’s

extraordinary research and archive have provided

a jumping off point and we are now

drawing on all

sorts of archival







signs, maps,








The narrative will be shaped by oral histories

and the on-camera insights of scholars, writers,

musicians, artists, religious leaders, and

others with strong stories to tell.

What are you hoping viewers will take away

from the film?

We hope the personal stories and the history

that they illuminate will provide people with



A Q&A with Ric Burns, director and producer of the

feature-length documentary, Driving While Black.

new ways of looking at and thinking

about the complex nature of freedom,

mobility and race in America.

We want the film to be a catalyst for

discussion about race and equality

and with that ultimate goal in mind,

Gretchen and our team have been

working to develop a number of

wonderful partnerships.

As an example, we are partnering

with the International Coalition of

Sites of Conscience, a global network

of historic sites, museums,

and memory initiatives whose mission

is to connect past struggles to

today’s movements for social justice,

to develop a dialogue program

that will involve training facilitators

and conducting community discussions

throughout the country.

Our hope is to create a space in

which all Americans can reflect on

shared experiences and values—the

freedom to travel, the joy of driving,

the sense of wonder and adventure

on the open road, the fear of seeing

police lights in the rear view mirror

— but also on those experiences

that divide us, which document a

powerful and deeply troubling, but

often inspiring, history of struggle

and perseverance.

How does this documentary compare

to your previous work? How

does it feel different?

Although my colleagues and I have

a very systematic approach to research,

each time out a film, very

early on, develops its own specialness

– it demands a certain stylistic

approach, for example. In this

case, I am very excited about the

oral histories. Hearing from people

who were “there” so to speak,

who have first-hand knowledge and

experience, is always thrilling and

often very moving. And of course

the opportunity to collaborate with

Gretchen on this project, which she

has really been developing for decades,

is a privilege.

What type of response do you receive

from people when you tell

them about the film?

It is interesting the way that some

projects come about, just at the

right moment. Our sense is that all

of us need and want to be talking

about race in this country. Open

any paper on any day and you’ll

very likely find a story that in one

way or another resonates with the

title of our film – which is “Driving

While Black.”

The Green

Book, is the

best known

of a number

of travel




in the

1930’s were



for African


First and foremost we want to do justice to the stories that

people tell. We also want the film to provide historical context,

and serve as a catalyst for discussion. What we hear

from people when we tell them about the film is – “Wow! That

is so timely.”

When will it be completed? And where can viewers see or

buy it?

We’re aiming to complete the film in late 2017 when it will

be broadcast on public television.We will have a very comprehensive

and active website and community outreach campaign

leading up to the broadcast, and PBS will be creating

material for classrooms as well.

What’s next for you?

We are completing a film about the Chinese Exclusion Act of

1882, which is another fascinating story about terrible racial

prejudice and injustice in this country. And we are completing

a film about the history of the Department of Veterans

Affairs, which is far, far more interesting than it sounds. Stay



12 th ANNUAL

Taybeh Oktoberfest


September 24 & 25, 2016


Tel: +972 2 289 9440

Taybeh-Ramallah, Palestine

Make your reservations today

Book Now!



Motherland Connextions’ Tours Explore the

Shared Black History of the Canada region

By Kevin Cottrell

Motherland Connextions interprets the history and follows the serpentine

path of the Underground Railroad through the United States and Canada.

Neither underground nor a literal railroad, it was a secret network of individuals

with numerous “stations” that helped an estimated 100,000 enslaved

blacks make their way to freedom.

We began our cultural pilgrimage back in 1993 with 12 people from the

U.S. and Canada. One Canadian was a direct decedent of Harriet

Tubman. We used a broken down church van and carried $1,500

worth of t-shirts following the Old Harriet Tubman Trail from Guildford

North Carolina along the Eastern Seaboard to St. Catharine’s

in Ontario, Canada. The journey spanned 15 cities in 18 days.

Little did we know the die was cast.

Today, guides donning the attire of the period,

escort tours to the historic sites in

the Buffalo/



Falls region

- an integral location

where slaves could reach the “promised

land” of free Canada.


lovers, we

make sure to

interpret the

story beginning with the

movement of the African. This story

begins with the Age of Discovery, the

Italian Renaissance, and the search for

a water route to the Middle East for spic-

es by Portuguese and

Spanish explorers. They

stopped in on the western

shores of Africa and soon

turned to dealing with African

Kings and trading for

Africans slaves. These

slaver ships sent from

Spain, Portugal, Denmark,

Sweden and Great

Britain soon engaged in

large-scale human trading.

As they made their

way to South America, the

Caribbean and ultimately to

North America, conditions

aboard the ships marked a

dark history of transatlantic

brutality and chattel slavery.

We make a point to compare

and contrast the history at different

points (i.e. African men

and boys were desired to make

the transatlantic voyage that lasted

3-12 weeks because of their

strength to endure such a long journey

compared to the 20th & 21st centuries,

where black men and boys are

driving the criminal justice system to the

unprecedented numbers we face today).

A Motherland Connextion tour covers

the history of slavery in the United

States, particularly the 19th century, the

movement of slaves seeking freedom,

and the introduction of the Black Cowboy.

We cover the black church, Negro

spirituals (the original rap songs) and

their role in aiding those to escape on

the Underground Railroad – speaking in

riddles and singing in code. Lastly, we

cover the federal legislation that began

the movement beyond the northern United

States borders –The Fugitive Slave

Law of 1850.

This law began the Freedom Seekers

migration to Canada and brought in two

states to the union, California, a free soil

state, and Missouri (Ferguson), a slave

state. It lessened our count from a whole

person to 3/5 of a person regarding the

electoral vote and ultimately the creation

of bounty hunters, who were deputized

to capture fugitive slaves, as well as,

free persons of color (12 Years a Slave).

We refer to Canada as Canaan due to

the fact that Sunday was the slave’s

only day off, in most cases. Slave were

given a choice to either attend their socalled

owner’s church or their own –

where they would request to be read to

from the book of Exodus and its story

of Moses leading the Hebrews out of

Egypt to the land of Canaan, the land of

milk & honey. This was their story, one

that they could relate to. From this biblical

story, Tubman earned her nickname

“Grandma Moses.”

Phonetically, Canada and Canaan

sounded similar. Border cities like Buffalo,

Niagara Falls Ny, and Detroit,

Michigan have a shared story. Those

freedom seekers escaping from the

American south naturally made a life for

themselves and their families in a landscape

similar to the environment they

had escaped from (the southern Ontario

landscapes are like the American south,

only the south is not as cold).

After the passage of the Fugitive Slave

Law, the risk of being sent back to slavery

or being kidnapped as a free person

and shipped into slavery was just

too risky. The federal government’s actions made this

possible through legislation.

My region played host to thousands of freedom seekers

seeking the promise of permanent freedom with the

aid of our Canadian neighbors opening up their lands

to those weary freedom seekers. It’s at this point on

the historical time line that American history becomes

North American history and the African-Canadian story

begins. Motherland Connextions ensures that the

complete story is told with honor and care.

See what’s


l’Experience NOIR:

An interest session on the Black Peace Corps experience

Celebrate and hear the life-defining experiences of currently-serving and returned African American/black returned

Peace Corps Volunteers.

Meet Natalie Felton, who served in Vanuatu from 2011- 2015, and hear her personal story from her

Peace Corps service in the South Pacific. Learn how it changed her life, and how Peace Corps could change yours.

Saturday, September 24, 5:00- 6:00 p.m. EDT

HOTEL RL DC, 1823 L Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

After the event, follow Natalie over to the National Black Peace Corps Volunteer Social Mixer and mingle

with black returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

Questions about Peace Corps service? Need more information about this event? Contact Natalie Felton at






The Passport Party Project is a National Geographic

award-winning global awareness initiative

providing first passports to underrepresented

American girls 11-15. The Passport Party

Project helps plant the seeds of community

service, international exploration, study abroad

& global citizenship.

The founder, Tracey Friley, is an award-winning

travelpreneur & travelanthropist (with stories

published on sites like Oprah’s Angel Network,

American Airlines’ Black Atlas & TravelChannel.

com). She is also the face behind “One Brown

Girl in Paris” and has been taking teen girls on

travel adventures to places like the U.S. Virgin

Islands, Belize, Lake Shasta, Paris & Toronto

since 2010.

A self-proclaimed culturalista and Francophile,

Tracey is also a lifelong entrepreneur with an

MBA in Global Management. She enjoys planning

and hosting trips to Paris for women & girls,

and has owned & operated a French-themed permanent

pop-up boutique for close to 10 years

where she sells the treasures she finds while

travelling. The creator of The Phantasmagorical

Adventures of Buttercup Bottletop, Tracey finds

magic wherever she goes.

Bio taken from their website:




Take one look at the series of photos

in Stacey Tyrell’s Backra Bluid and prepare

for those haunting images to stick

with you. Tyrell, a photo-based artist,

boldly reimagines herself several times

over in portrait form, posing as imagined

distant Scottish relatives. What

exactly is she getting at? The fact that

most people in post-colonial societies

can point to moments in their lineage

where racial or ethnic mixing occurred.

She compels the viewer to confront the

fact that blackness and whiteness in

the Americas share such entangled histories

and are perhaps not as distinctive

as we’d like to believe. By blurring

the line between black and white, who

then is the other?

Tyrell grew up in Toronto, the child of

proud West Indian parents originally

from the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis.

Tyrell remembers

her father This feeling of

reading “The being the “other”

Castle of My was present, even

Skin” and though you can’t

authors like put it into words

Frantz Fanon; when you’re

he was constantly



firming her,

“Don’t believe

what they’re telling you [in school],

sometimes they turned those slave

ships right around!”

Up until age eight, she grew up around

first generation Canadians just like her.

After being put into a gifted program

however, she found herself surrounded

by mostly white students from a

vastly different economic background.

This tension, being proud of who she

was, yet feeling the pang of wanting to

blend in and assimilate was probably

what pushed her to explore heritage

and identity in Backra Bluid. “Most of

my time in school, I was the only black

female in my year. This feeling of being

the “other” was present, even though

you can’t put it into words when you’re


Tyrell’s exploration of race, identity,

and memory in her photographic work

is deeply personal and by her own admission,

she creates work selfishly to

grapple with big questions she harbors

deep within. “I don’t make the kind of

work that doesn’t have meaning or is

only meant to be pretty. It’s trying to

say a lot.”

Tyrell’s sharp intellect and sense-ofself

evidenced in her work was evenly

matched by her warm curious spirit. A

conversation with her will include frequent

cackling, excited interjections,

and maybe even an amen or two. She is

well-traveled from frequent family trips

to England and the Caribbean growing

up and even still, exudes a fervent tourist-like

curiosity at home and abroad.

Tyrell is a self-proclaimed history nerd

and loves visual references of life in past

times. Take a look at her portfolio and

you will find that most of her work is

concerned with memory, constructions

of the past, and stories of people in her

life. Tyrell bears the true mark of an

artist: the ability to find inspiration anywhere

and in everything. Being an artist

is central to who she is as it gives her an

outlet for her curiosity and a reason to

engage with others. After studying photography

in college and working in the

commercial photography industry for

15 years, she can still fondly recollect

the early days when her father introduced

her to film and credits the camera

with keeping her out of trouble during

a rough


“Slow down. Think for

a couple seconds

and really look at

what you’re putting

in that frame.”

of teen




lives in



York. It’s not too far from home, but far

enough that she is living her own kind

of immigrant experience.

“My parents once told my sister and

I that they felt bad because we didn’t

know what it was like to function in a

society where everyone looked like us.

Slipping into life in certain neighborhoods

in Brooklyn, I recognize how

much I missed out on that.”

She credits her move to Brooklyn as being

hugely influential in the work she’s

begun making in the last seven years.

Being able to leave the house feeling

comfortable in her skin has given her

access to a reality she’s never known

while simultaneously reminding her of

all the ways Canadian and American

culture are not one in the same. One

of the social theories school children

in Canada are taught is that we are a

cultural mosaic. This is in direct opposition

to the U.S., which sees itself as a

melting pot.

“You can come to Canada and build

community around your culture without

having to conform to some uniform

Canadian identity.” One of her earliest

works, Position As Desired, expresses

her mother’s life as a mosaic of old

photos and spaces between photos in

an album that when combined, tell a

fuller and perhaps more precarious

story. This work is included in Heritage

Canada for its unique expression of the

Canadian cultural mosaic ideal.

As a photo-based artist in the age of social

media, Tyrell has fascinating views

on the similarities between the photo

albums of yesterday and the curated

realities we live online. “People’s life

events are reduced to archetypal images

that others can relate to. The only

reason these images have currency is

because they’re being exchanged.”

For those who lament the days of hard

copies of photos and aged sticky photo

album pages, Tyrell would contend that

the value of any image (or collection of

images) comes from the emotion embedded

within, or the emotion one is

trying to convey through it. That it isn’t

the medium at all that makes an image

valuable, but the intention and emotion

within it.

Next time you find yourself ready to snap

a photo, consider taking a page out of

Stacey Tyrell’s book. “Slow down. Think

for a couple seconds and really look

at what you’re putting in that frame.”

Avoid the tendency to snap-snap-snap

and look for the inspiration in every corner

of the frame. She would advise that

you try raising the camera or going in

for a tighter shot.

“The craftsmanship comes from looking,

but you have to do more than simply

look because the goal is to tell a story.

You don’t know the next time you’re

going to be in that place. What will the

story be?”

Tiffany Em is a trained dancer currently studying

international urban planning and development

at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

To combine her love for travel, culture, and

social justice she began writing about urban

development, curiosity, and tourism on her

personal blog:

She hopes to one-day work with artists, businesses,

and local residents to develop sustainable tourism

enterprises around the world, but especially in

Sub-Saharan Africa.



aroma of


hits you first. As

you enter from the

street into the warehouse-like


your eyes adjust from

the shining sun to the

darkened shadows of

the Marché Jean-Talon.

It is a place of parallel

paradox. Light streams in

from glass paneling near

the roof and from all sides

of the open-air design,

aisles widening and narrowing

according the bounties

they border, the volume of

foot traffic. Scent and color

are very important to the vendors

and their customers at

Jean-Talon. And also flavor.

When one thinks of Canada, flavor

might not be the first consideration,

but do not be mistaken:

not just Toronto, but Montréal has

very diverse and vibrant popula-

The Flavor of Montreal’s Markets

By Selome Brathwaite


tions that contribute to the current

foodie havens in several neighborhoods.

International spices, localized

condiments and cosmetics,

and straight-from-the-source

animal and vegetable produce

all have their moment to shine


Jean-Talon Market, located at

7070 Avenue Henri-Julien in

Montréal has been open and

running since May 1933,

when it was called the

Marché du Nord (north-end

market), later renamed after

the first Intendant of

New France, Jean-Talon.

New France, as its name

implies, was the name

of the area colonized in

North America by the

French Monarchy and

held between 1534

and 1763.This area

included modern-day

Louisiana and as far

north as Newfoundland,

with vibrant

emnants and communities even

as the political territories shifted


The market is located in Montréal’s

Little Italy community, which has

itself changed with the times. At

Jean-Talon, evidence of this mélange

is available in the dairy and bakery

items, oils, vinegars, spices and

herbs, as well as the faces of the vendors

and customers themselves- immigrants

from Asia, French-speaking

Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern


Per the Montreal Gazette, as of

2015, Montréal’s over four million

residents have statistically included

several immigrant populations, with

over 40,000 new immigrants between

2014-2015, which accounts

for 18% of all new immigrants to

Canada during this time period.

Today, Jean-Talon is an official member

of the Montréal Public Markets

(Marchés Publics de Montréal), and

has fed several generations of visitors,

immigrant locals, and vendors

alike. About 300 vendors populate

the market, coming in from the Quebec

countryside, while nearby outside

stores like William J. Walter

boucherie (butchery) benefit from

the hungry shoppers. If you are in

the mood, try one of their spiced

sausages, grilled on the spot with

your choice of sauerkraut and mustard

fixins, stop by and say “hello”

to the friendly staff!

In the winter, one can expect steaming

hot metal pots of apple cider by

the cup, and an extra emphasis on

the locally-produced maple syrup in

all its Canadian iterations. The summer

market is the best time to enjoy

Jean-Talon, as a festive air includes

a variety of street performers nearby

for the children and their parents,

while they stock up on supplies.

Many vendors show off their stone

fruits (peaches, nectarines, two kinds

of cherries, three kinds of plums!),

and make fresh slices as quick as

the samples are eaten. In a far corner,

you can choose freshly laid eggs

from chickens, quails, ducks, and

even geese. A favorite haunt of mine

has its own four walls and door within

the market: Épices de Cru.

Husband and wife Ethné and Phillipe

de Vienne are spice trekkers, starting

Épices in 1982 as a catering endeavor

that evolved into a food-centric

pilgrimage of sorts. Having made

regular international trips with their

children to learn from the native

users and eventually source their

wares, this small spice shop boasts

an impressive collection of teas and

hard-to-find spices, alongside the

art of traditional preparation, ceremony

and a humble respect for the

knowledge shared to them.

In its colorfully decorated corner, the

store commands awe as you pour

over the meticulously labeled metal

tins of whole and finely ground

peppercorns, making hard choices

between Masala Curry from several

regions of India and Indonesia.

Needless to say, if you are coming

to Montreal for the first or thirtieth

time and enjoy fresh foods, a lively

atmosphere with some down-toearth

offerings from people from all

over the earth, Jean-Talon Market is

a must. Vendor prices range from

reasonable to specialty rate, and

there is an on-site ATM available, as

many but not all vendors prefer cash

payments. So come prepared and


Selome Ameyo (Brathwaite) likes to look

back at history while she moves forward in

her travels and advocacy. Having studied

environmental sustainability, human rights

and international affairs policy, she is quite

aware of the value of knowing and engaging

the people of the world and their genuine

connection to the spaces in which they move.

Selome seeks to encourage women of varying

backgrounds to be curious and critical, all

the while empowering them to get out there

and never settle when they have a passion

to manifest and share with others. This is her

first written article for Griots Republic.



Working The Games:

An outsiders inside view

of the 2016 Olympics.

By Dave Reynolds

Brazill is such a beautiful country with so much history and culture. So

imagine spending three months here is a dream come true. The people,

the food, and rich history leaves you longing for more. When I first

heard the Olympics were coming here, I knew I had to come. However,

I never thought I would be working it. This is my first Olympics and I

must say it is truly an amazing experience. After spending so much

time here, I have learned that what most folks see is a much different

place than what the local Brazilians see.

Like many other countries in South America, the Caribbean, and Central

America there is a high poverty rate, a corrupt government and a

lack of resources for urban inner city communities. So one would think

the Olympics would bring about more

than just exposure, but opportunity and

revenue for the country.

The cost of hosting an Olympics is very

expensive; so much so, that there are

several countries that have re-considered

the opportunity and declined to

put in a bid to host. It was definitely

quite an undertaking for Brazil. The impact

has taken such a heavy toll on this

country’s financials and has left many

of the residents very unhappy. This

historic event might have been a little

more to handle than this country would

have thought.

Many of the locals feel that the government

has pulled away too many financial

and local resources from the people

to support this event. As we see in the

media, many people have taken to the

streets in protest. Although the financial

toll has been quite heavy on this

country they are still managing to pull

the games together.

Looking deeper, there is much truth to

how the country and many of the poorer

neighborhoods are being affected.

Many of the favelas have been impacted.

Residents have been relocated, so

the country can build new housing,

hotels and buildings in support of the

Olympic Games. The local transportation

has also been exhausted in support

of this event. Much of the financial

resources, that would normally support

local infrastructure, have been diverted

to ensure that the Games go on.

Now that you have heard some of the

negatives, lets look at some of the positives

that I see coming from this experience.

This is not to say that I am

disagreeing with the plight of many of

the locals.

The World Cup and the Olympics have

brought many jobs and opportunities

for a lot of the local residents. Industries

such as construction, transportation,

service, banking, and the local industries

have all ben affected. The hosting

organizations of these events FIFA and

IOC (International Olympic Committee)

have also employed many of the residents

in cities being impacted by the

games. The IOC trained hundreds of

local Brazilians in many different areas

from general business operations

to technical operations. Manu of the

workers who I have spoken to, are very

happy for the training and subsequent

work opportunity.

While in Brazil, I have had the opportunity

to visit many of the beautiful and

historic sites, meet local folks, that I

have grown close to in this short time,

ate amazing food and partied it up as

well. Spending three months here is

definitely an eye opening experience

and I won’t forget it. I will remain a huge

fan of this country, its people, culture

and beauty and I am looking forward to

definitely coming back.

Born in Jamaica, Dave Reynolds spent

his childhood my traveling. After migrating

to the U.S at 18 and getting

his Electrical Engineering Degree,

he followed his passion and now

works in the TV and Film industry. He

is still just as passionate about traveling,

photography, cooking and fitness

and makes time for those as much as


Music Director,



For concert dates visit @orchestranoir @orchestranoir






Aaron Brown made his Olympic debut at London

2012 where he came within one spot of qualifying

for the 200m final, finishing ninth by 0.05

seconds. One of the country’s top sprinters,

Brown is a former Canadian record holder in the


On June 11, 2016, he became just the fourth Canadian

man to ever break the 10-second barrier

in the 100m, running 9.96 at a meet in Florida.

Brown made his senior IAAF World Championship

debut in 2013, where he was part of the

bronze medal 4x100m relay team. He ran the

leadoff leg when Canada successfully defended

that bronze in 2015. Earlier in 2015 he was the

anchor of the 4x100m relay team that appeared

to have won gold at the Pan Am Games in Toronto

before a lane violation led to disqualification.

Brown had previously won 200m bronze at

the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships

and 100m silver at the 2009 IAAF World Youth

Championships. At the 2011 Pan American Junior

Championships, he won 100m bronze and

4x100m relay silver. Brown raced collegiately

for the USC Trojans. As a senior, he won 100m

bronze and 200m silver at the 2014 NCAA Championships.

(Bio from the Canadian Olympic Team




T h e y

came to the table.

Seventy years ago this

autumn (2015), Jackie Robinson

came to Montreal and started a journey

that changed the face of baseball forever.

On October 23, 1945, the young African-

American shortstop, fresh off an allstar

season with the Negro American

League’s Kansas City Monarchs walked

into the Delorimier Stadium offices of

Montreal Royals’ team president, Hector

Racine, sat down, and signed a contract

to play for the International League club

in 1946.

Never before in the 20th century had

such a thing happened in baseball. Never

before had an African-American been so

openly invited onto the playing fields of

Organized Baseball.

And never again would the game be the


Up until this moment, all of Organized

Baseball had unflinchingly adhered to

a strict, albeit unofficial, colour barrier,

what author Art Rust, Jr. described as a

series of “private agreements [intended]

to maintain the game’s ‘white purity.’”

Its roots reached back into the 1880s




certain of

baseball’s opinionsetters

began taking

brutally vocal exception to the

small numbers of blacks then entering

the game. Perhaps the most notorious

bigot was the legendary Cap Anson who

one time in Toledo, when confronted

by Moses Fleetwood Walker, one of two

blacks on the home team, is famously

reputed to have yelled, “Get that nigger

off the field.”

Rust maintains that because of Anson’s

popularity and power in baseball circles,

he, “almost single-handedly sped up the

exclusion of the black man from white

baseball until 1946.” That was the year

Jackie Robinson first suited up for the


By 1890, at all levels, from the major

leagues to their affiliated minor leagues,

segregation ruled. Occasionally, teams

might try to pass off an especially

talented African-American as a Native

Indian, or declare that a dark-skinned

Latin was actually Caucasian, but these

ploys always failed. Organized Baseball

was white, end of discussion.

Over the years, African-Americans

looking to play the game banded

together to form their own teams and

leagues. By the 1930s, a loose but

functioning structure of Negro leagues

had developed, with two loops, the

Negro National and American Leagues,

considered major league.

Their showcase event was the annual east

west All-Star game. Usually played before

a full house at Chicago’s Comiskey Park,

these matches increasingly revealed the

sophisticated skill-levels of many of the

participants. It was getting ever harder

to claim that blacks were not talented

enough to play the white game. Change

was inevitable, but when?

Attitudes began shifting during World War

II as large numbers of African Americans

enlisted in the United States military to

fight - and die - for their country. For many,

the contradiction was unacceptable. A

black man could be asked to surrender his

life in the defence of freedom: he was just

not free to play baseball.

But still, the colour barrier could not

be breeched - not until Branch Rickey,

president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided

to take matters into his own hands.

A devout man, Rickey considered that

segregation in all its forms was abhorrent,

especially in baseball. The practice

offended his Christian principles and by

1945 he was ready to challenge it head on.

He was also a brilliant baseball tactician.

Responsible for a number of the game’s

advances, most notably the development of

those holding pens call the ‘farm system,’

Rickey was relentless in his hunt for new

talent. Well aware of the riches buried in

the Negro Leagues, he was determined to

be the first to stake a claim.

The Dodgers’ president fully understood

that breaking through baseball’s colour

barrier would be a delicate operation -

one wrong step and the damage would be

incalculable. The player selected to lead

the way would have to be capable enough

to leave no doubts as to his playing ability

and strong enough to withstand the bitter

vituperation that would come his way from

all sides. It took some time - but when

Rickey met Jackie Robinson he knew he

had found the man he was looking for.

Although born in the Deep South, Robinson

had grown up in California where he soon

developed a reputation as an outstanding

athlete. At UCLA, he had the unusual

distinction of earning a letter in four

different sports - track and field, basketball,

baseball, and football.

Robinson joined the army following Pearl

Harbour and earned the rank of second

lieutenant. It was here he encountered the

full force of white supremacy for the first

time - he faced a court martial for having

refused to move to the back of a bus - and

by the time he received his honourable

discharge in 1944 he was firmly resolved

to combat racism in every way possible.

Robinson began civilian life playing

shortstop for the stellar Kansas City

Monarchs. Although he shone on the field,

he recognized that this was not enough - he

was searching for a bigger challenge. Thus

when Branch Rickey summoned him to

Brooklyn and outlined his plan, Robinson

was ready.

There was never any question as to

where Robinson would begin his career in

integrated baseball. Before he could even

consider joining the Dodgers, he would first

have to prove his mettle and gain acceptance

in the minor leagues. To accommodate

this transition, Rickey selected the relative

obscurity of the International League,

and what he considered to be the most

accepting of all cities on the Dodgers’ map,


“There was never any

question as to where

Robinson would

begin his career in

integrated baseball.”

Noted sports writer, Tom Meany, wrote,

“Rickey felt that he had the ideal spot in

which to break in a Negro ball player, the

Triple A farm in Montreal where there was

no racial discrimination.” And Dink Carroll

of the Montreal Gazette echoed, “the

absence here of an anti-Negro sentiment

among sports fans . . . was what Mr.

Rickey doubtless had in mind when he

chose Montreal as the locale of his historymaking


In fact, Jackie Robinson was far from the

first African-American to play professional

baseball in Quebec. As baseball historian

Christian Trudeau has pointed out, blacks

were part of the local semi-pro and

independent league scene as far back as

1924, if not before. Chappie Johnson, a

veteran of the Negro Leagues, frequently

brought his touring All-Stars to the province

where they were so well received that he

eventually sponsored an all-black team

in a Montreal circuit. By the mid-1930s

there were several blacks, including locals

Charlie Calvert and Chico Bowden, playing

in the independent Provincial League and


Rickey, who had left no stone unturned in

his crusade to draw African-Americans into

mainstream baseball, would have known

of this history. He understood that while

racism was certainly present in Montreal,

it was not the virulent factor of daily life

that so dominated much of America. If

Robinson was to have any chance to gain

acceptance, he believed, Montreal was the

best bet available to him.

Robinson himself acknowledged the

importance of this choice. “I owe more

to Canadians than they’ll ever know, “ he

once said. “In my baseball career they

were the first to make me feel my natural

self.” William Brown notes in his excellent

Baseball’s Fabulous Montreal Royals how

Robinson declared years later that had

Montreal not supported him in 1946, “I

might not have had the courage to go on.”

Rickey had been very deliberate in his

march toward baseball integration, but

when in the autumn of 1945 he was finally

ready to act -when he had selected the man

to break through the wall - he acted quickly.

On very little notice, and without tipping his

hand, Rickey arranged for Robinson to be in

Montreal on October 23 and formally sign

with the Royals. The press were summoned,

but not told why.

And so when Hector Racine introduced

Jackie Robinson as the newest member of

his baseball team and invited him to sign a

contract, the reporters in the room reacted

with stunned silence. Baseball was about

to be integrated - and they had not seen it


Then, almost as one, they broke for the

telephones, clamouring over each other

in their haste to be the first “to relay the

incredible news to their editors.” What

Le Petit Journal would call a, “ veritable

revolution in the world of baseball,” had


And it had begun in Montreal.

BILL YOUNG is co-author with Danny Gallagher

of Remembering the Montreal Expos

(2005) and Ecstasy to Agony: The

1994 Montreal Expos (2014) and author of

a number of articles about baseball in Quebec.

He served as dean in the Quebec community

college system and is a founding

member of SABR’s Quebec Chapter. Married,

with adult children, he lives in Hudson,







Manifesto Festival of Community

& Culture​will celebrate ten years

with ten days of music, art exhibitions,

community summits, and

more across the city of Toronto,

September 9 - 18, 2016.

Over the past decade Manifesto

Festival of Community & Culture​

has become Canada’s premier

celebration of hip hop culture

and beyond – a multi disciplinary,

world class festival with a positive

social and economic impact. Manifesto​is

committed to addressing

the challenges faced by urban artists

including systemic exclusion

and under resourcing of marginalized

and racialized communities.

Highlights of the 10th Annual

Manifesto Festival of Community

& Culture​(MNFSTO10) ​include

an opening night party on Friday,

September 9 at the Drake Hotel

with art installations, dance crews,

and DJs Sophie Jones​and Boi 1da​.

On Saturday, September 17 MN-

FSTO10​will present the largest

show in Manifesto history with

rapper, singer and producer An-

derson .Paak ​and Polaris Music

Prize short lister Kaytranada ​at

Echo Beach

MNFSTO10​will end with a massive

block party at Yonge Dundas

Square on Sunday, September 18

with A Tribe Called Red. The MN-

FSTO10​block party will feature

multiple stages on all sides of the

Square, creating an intimate space

to celebrate with DJs, dance crews

and MCs, plus a community market

and tons of food vendors.

More programming for all MN-

FSTO10​elements including art

exhibitions, community summits

and additional music will be announced

in the coming weeks.

Manifesto Festival of Community

& Culture​was created after a small

group of local artists, community

organizers, and event promoters

gathered at Toronto City Hall

to discuss ideas for establishing

a new urban arts platform. Identifying

the challenges they faced,

those young leaders pooled their

passions, talent and resources to

create opportunities to showcase

local artists and organizations.

Since then, Manifesto​has become

a non profit, youth powered platform

designed to put local artists

on the map and unite, inspire and

empower diverse communities of

young people through arts and

culture, year round.






Roundtable on building

and sustaining the Black

liberation movement




A case for the

revitalization of the Back

to Africa Movement





Africville... The recap.





Roundtable on building

and sustaining the Black

liberation movement



Against a backdrop of high-profile police

brutality and violence in the killings of

Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Andrew

Loku, and Jermaine Carby, we are in the

midst of a recharged protest movement

led by Black people, particularly young

folks, who are angry with the systemic racism,

sexism, transphobia, homophobia,

and economic inequality legitimized by

the state.

Armed with the power of social media,

feminist and womanist literature, and

grassroots organizing communities, activists

are spearheading intersectional

movements that cast light on issues of police

violence, violence against trans folks,

and systemic discrimination in the labour

and education systems.

It is frustration with the current state of

race-based discrimination in Canada that

has pushed me to look beyond my own

experiences and toward others for their

perspectives. We convened a roundtable

discussion to get at the heart of issues

that are specific to Black folks who are

engaged in the Black liberation struggle;

their responses highlight the varied beliefs

and complex problems facing Black

peoples in Canada.

Are you an activist? If so, what kinds of

organizing or resistance work are you (or

have you been) a part of?

CHUKWUMA NWEBUBE: Yes, I would consider

myself a politically conscious citizen.

During my last two years at the University of

Guelph, I was deeply involved with the C.J.

Munford Centre, a resource centre for students

of colour that served as a place of refuge

on a white-dominated campus.

CASSANDRA THOMPSON: I would definitely

consider myself an activist. The first act

of resistance that I take every day is waking

up. I’m a queer, Black, radical womxn and I’m

alive. This subverts the prescribed systemic

plan. Period.

I work on grassroots initiatives, on campus

and in the Toronto community more broadly,

and I’m on the path to becoming a midwife

and a doula for Black and Indigenous queer

individuals, which is not only resistance to the

patriarchal medical system, but is also an act

of reclamation of an African and Indigenous

healing and creation practice. I engage in resistance

art, as both a writer and a subject in

visual art pieces, and I work with Black Lives

Matter – Toronto when possible. For me,

political consciousness and action is not

separated from my everyday personhood.

Just as my queerness isn’t, my Blackness

isn’t and my femme womxnhood isn’t.




is a Vancouver-based writer and organizer. He currently writes for, a Canadian

labour news site.


is a diasporic Somali storyteller, writer, and strategist. She is a master of environmental studies

candidate at York University, where her research incorporates traditional Somali stories

with discourses of constructed identity while pulling from archival histories of resistance

and radical curatorial practices.


is a community educator, activist, published writer, and creator. She is currently the store

manager of A Different Booklist, is working on a queer children’s book, and is pursuing her

dream of becoming a midwife and doula.


is an artist and social change agent who is passionate about using a creative approach to

discussing mental health and the human condition. He is a founding member and curator of

Spoke N’ Heard in Toronto.


attended the University of Guelph, where he was involved with the C.J. Munford Centre, a

campus resource center for people of colour. He is committed to dismantling the systems

that disenfranchise Black communities.

HAWA Y. MIRE: I tend to stay away from

terms like activist because the name itself

comes laden with additional baggage and

is increasingly co-opted by systems that

don’t work in my communities’ interests. I

have had far too many experiences of “activist”

being used as a shield against critique

and reflexivity for the harms that are

committed in the world. I am more interested

in what we do when we believe no one is

watching us. How do we treat those we are

intimate with? How do we treat those we

believe to have little power over us? How

do I continue to support Black peoples in

all of my interactions? I know myself intimately

to be a storyteller, to believe deeply

in the work of African feminisms as I follow

in the footsteps of my ancestors.

I am currently curating, with Luam Kidane,

NSOROMMA, a pan-African arts initiative

that incubates, supports, and amplifies insurgent

African art and artists. We politicize

art as a site for experimentation and

building our freedom dreams.

DUANE HALL: These days, anyone who is

socially or politically conscious and engaged

in dialogue about issues that plague

our community is seen as an activist. I am

not an activist; that is a very specific role.

There are many different roles to play in

the progression of our people, and activist

is just one of them.

DANIEL TSEGHAY: These days I’m wrapped

up in the ongoing refugee crisis. I’m from

Eritrea, the country producing the third

largest number of refugees crossing the

Mediterranean. There are so many stories

of what this particular moment means for

Eritreans, and many Africans as a whole.

It means languishing in refugee camps,

being smuggled across the Sahara, some-

times held for ransom, held in detention

centres, and risking drowning in the sea,

only to reach a continent that doesn’t want

you. Lately I’ve been organizing around

this, trying to connect individuals and organizations

across the country who have

noticed that Africans are treated differently

than refugees from elsewhere. I’m hoping

to make this issue central in Canada.

What is “anti-Blackness,” and what

does the term capture that is different

from “racism”?

CASSANDRA: “Anti-Blackness” is a prejudice

rooted in colonial and capitalist ideology.

“Racism” is similar in its roots, but

it is necessary to acknowledge that anti-Blackness

is a specific prejudice that is

targeted at those who identify as being a

part of the African diaspora.

HAWA: The language of anti-Blackness

helps us understand the layered complexity

of white supremacy and the ways

in which collapsible terms like “people of

colour” or “racism” do not get at the specificity

of the experiences of Black communities.

Anti-Blackness also helps us to

understand the ways in which racialized

communities, in a bid to legitimize themselves

within white supremacy, actively

contribute to the ongoing dehumanization

of Black peoples. The intricacies of racism

require us to think of context as part

of racialization; it is the failure of thinking

through that context that necessitates the

conceptualization and widespread use of

a term like anti-Blackness.

DUANE: Anti-Blackness is a specific form

of racism directed specifically to African

peoples. To be “anti-,” to be against someone,

is different than preferring your own

kind, being elitist, or thinking someone is

beneath you. With racism, especially in

Canada, it can be quite subtle, something

not always obvious. Police brutality, systemic

oppression, KKK, institutional discrimination,

groups of drunk white people

– all these are forms of anti-Blackness

and are life-threatening situations. But the


moments will always catch you by surprise.

DANIEL: I agree with everybody that

there’s something specific about the forms

of racism Black people face. Hawa rightly

points out that there are hierarchies

within racialized communities. But I don’t

know if that means anti-Blackness captures

something different from racism. It

seems like it’s just another way of saying

racism … against Black people. Regardless,

racism against Black people is definitely

different because the conditions of

Black people are the product of a history

which is different from that of other people.

Chattel slavery in the United States,

for instance, has brought certain, specific

conditions for Black people in the United

States. At the same time, a general concept

of racism against Black people may

not be nuanced enough. What I face as a

second-generation immigrant and what my

“Black, as an identity, is

experienced differently

all over the world, and

all of our experiences

are relative.”

relatives in Eritrea face will be different;

the generalized concept of anti-Blackness

just doesn’t seem to work. It helps, and it

speaks to some shared struggles and understandings

and commitments, but, as

should be unsurprising since it’s a term

attempting to capture such complexities,

it’s simply not big enough.

What do you say to the notion that anti-Blackness

is less prevalent, or “not

as bad” in Canada compared to the


DANIEL: In the United States, anti-Black

racism is certainly more palpable than

here. Black people here are less likely to

face some of the more newsworthy forms

of racism, from the police brutality to the

rhetoric of even candidates for president.

But racism has always been more than

these extreme acts. “Attention is drawn to

the ‘spectacular event’ rather than to the

point of origin or the mundane,” write Tamara

K. Nopper and Mariame Kaba in a

Jacobin essay. “Circulated are the spectacles

– dead lack bodies lying in the streets

or a lack teenager ambushed by several

police officers in military gear, automatic

weapons drawn.”

The point of origin, of course, is the basic

relationship – whether economic or psychological.

It’s a relationship which is inevitably

exploitative and damaging to the

psyche of the people at the bottom. And I

believe it’s one which exists in Canada. The

brutal and obvious forms of racism are

less prevalent here, but the logic of racism

knows no border between Canada and the

United States.

“I’m tired of seeing

Black bodies on

my timeline.”

HAWA: The myth of race respectability

continues to plague Canada. Comparing

and contrasting which Black people have

more or less violent experiences based on

the nation state they live in does exactly

what it is meant to do: it absolves all of

us from feeling pressure to do the work to

change the places where we live.

Anti-Blackness is global, from the

Dalit caste in India to the Somali

Bantus in Somalia, to Afro-Brazilians

in Brazil, to the erased historically

Black settlements in Grey

County, Ontario. There is nowhere that anti-Blackness

is less prevalent, including as

part of conversations on shadeism or colourism

within Black communities themselves.

To say anti-Blackness is less prevalent

anywhere is to suggest that white

supremacy, imperialism, and colonialism

ha[ve] places where they do not function.

These are all systems that require a Black

body from which to position themselves.

CASSANDRA: Black, as an identity, is experienced

differently all over the world,

and all of our experiences are relative. I

think to compare oppression is to put emphasis

on each other’s pain, as opposed to

uplifting each other and working together

to combat anti-Black racism as it is enacted

internationally. The concern should be:

how can we strategically work with other

cities to learn how they have resisted

state-sanctioned violence, and how we can

assist them in their resistance and revolution?

DUANE: Canada is a tricky little country.

Slaves living in America struggled hard to

make it to Canada, where they could finally

be free to live the life they preferred.

But what they found once they made it

over was a nightmare. This is what Canada

does best: subversion under the guise

of charity. Gentrification is the perfect example

– the blueprint, actually. From colonialism,

displacing Indigenous peoples

onto reserves and taking their land, to

historically Black land, such as Africville,

where the residents were evicted, their belongings

relocated in garbage trucks, right

up to this day where residents of Regent

Park and Eglinton West [in Toronto], for example,

are forced to leave their homes to

make room for condos. There is simply no

regard for our lives.

How have your personal politics been

influenced by the work of the Black

Lives Matter (BLM) movement combatting

anti-Blackness in North America?

DUANE: BLM has commendably brought

awareness to the diaspora. But what is

needed now, more than ever, is internal

organizing, not external pleading with the

“powers that be,” not external media campaigns

and news headlines. It would be

interesting to know what would happen if

the Black community went completely silent

for a period of time, if we had a Blackout,

and that time was spent developing

internal systems of economy, political organization,

education, employment opportunities,

business infrastructures to support

each other’s initiatives, building and

owning our own entertainment outputs,

where Black culture could be experienced

only on our platforms, building relationships

with other countries who support us,

the list goes on and on. The country, the

world, would have to pay attention. We’ve

been sold the idea that Black movement =

taking it to the streets.

HAWA: BLM adds to the years and years

of work that Black organizers have already

done across the globe. I say this as a reminder

that Black organizing is not a new

concept. While BLM has allowed for more

conversations within the mainstream, the

idea that Black dialogue is only legitimate

if approved by white institutions is

very troubling. BLM also fails to address

the intersectional and intricate experiences

of Black peoples – for example, young

Somali men who are often both Black and

Muslim continue to [be] underrepresented

in anti-Blackness discourse while overrepresented

in the justice system. Until

we look at Blackness as moving beyond a

monolithic identity, we fail to build movements

that engage Black people with differing

experiences. Our work is global, our

struggle is global, and the ways in which

anti-Blackness becomes a unified rallying

cry is only when we can link #BlackLives-

Matter to #RhodesMustFall to #Cadaan-

Studies; anti-Blackness does not begin or

end in North America.

CASSANDRA: It gave me a team to work

with. I know that I am not sitting in isolation

with my pain, frustration, anger; I’m

not grieving alone because there is a group

of people taking disruptive and educational

political action against the institutional

and systemic anti-Black racism that exists

in this world. I really appreciate the affirming

Black transfeminist framework that the

movement works from. This framework asserts

that the healing of our community,

in order to move forward, requires the inclusion

of the queer and trans Black community

in the planning and action. I mean,

shit … it’s been us at the front of most

movements, anyway: Bayard Rustin, Marsha

P. Johnson, Patrisse Cullors … take a

look back at who is really doing a lot of the

mobilizing and advocacy groundwork.

DANIEL: My personal politics have been

profoundly influenced by it, in perhaps

surprising ways. I’ve learned a lot about

how to bring a clear, specific, and pressing

issue onto a major stage. And I’ve also

learned a lot from the many criticisms.

Many have pointed out that there’s a difference

between how Black Lives Matter originated

– organically in Ferguson by people

directly affected by police brutality – and

where it is now. There’s been great work

noting that influential and visible members

of BLM have taken positions that

appear in conflict with the spirit of BLM.

There are, for instance, members who support

the privatization of education. Some

leaders have taken reformist positions and

have, in the view of some activists, been

co-opted by politicians. Whether all of

these criticisms are accurate or not is an

open debate. But what it’s raised for me is

the question of how to organize. We may

agree on goals (ending police brutality),

but how we go about doing that matters.

I want liberation for both myself and my

people badly enough that I don’t just want

quick victories or media attention. I want

to be a part of building something sustainable

and strong – something that can truly

ensure victory. This is the time to think

about how to do this right.

How is racialized policing experienced

in your community or region?

DANIEL: In Vancouver, much of the racialized

policing is directed toward Indigenous

people. Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,

disproportionately Indigenous, is currently

being gentrified at breakneck speed.

The gentrification process means displacing

people in at least two ways: by raising

rents and by physically removing people

from public areas that are meant to appeal

to investors. The police, of course, serve

as the primary enforcer of the latter [displacement].

CASSANDRA: I have been stopped under

the assum[ption] that I was in sex work,

which is not problematic in and of itself,

but conflated with the misogynoir stereotype

that Black womxn are constantly hot

to get fucked, it becomes a race-based

premise and a prejudiced act. I have also

had police assume I might exchange sexual

favours to get out of a bogus marijuana

possession charge. I have known people

who have faced physical violence. I have

known people who have been harassed almost

daily through routine carding practices.

There are schools in communities

across the city that have police presence

regularly, to surveil and curtail “problematic

behaviour.” I know specific communities

that have a disproportionate number

of cruisers and bike cops lingering, again

for surveillance. There are close ties between

Children’s Aid services, welfare, and

other government institutions with the police,

which yield […] disproportionately

problematic ways in which police interact

with racialized people.

HAWA: Mustafa Mattan was a 28-year-old

Somali man who had moved from Toronto

to Alberta, as many have, to search for better

employment. Mattan was shot through

the door of his apartment building on February

9, 2015. No killer has been apprehended

and media (including social media)

have been entirely silent. His death follows

the fifty-odd other Somali young men between

Toronto and Alberta, killed, shot at,

left to rot. The Somali community is notoriously

under-represented in Black organizing

across Ontario but overrepresented

in jails. In the case of Toronto, if we are

speaking about racialized policing, carding,

or over-policing and militarization, we

would be remiss if we did not pay careful

attention to Somali community pockets,

through which these things run rampant.

How is racialized policing not experienced

by Black communities? We need to instead

be asking why Black communities continue

to be subjected to extreme police violence

and the ways in which this can be


For some, sharing images and videos

of police violence against Black people

on social media is an effective tool

to raise public awareness. For others,

it’s painful and violent to have the videos

shared and rewatched. What’s your

take on the role of technology and videos

in the Black Lives Matter movement

and anti-racism organizing?

DANIEL: During the heyday of lynchings in

the United States, the press used to publicize

these murders in gratuitous detail. It

was done to keep people informed about

the actions of the oppressor. It was meant

to tell Black people: “Look at what can

happen to you if you get outta line.” Today,

few things have changed. Black people are

still murdered for nothing. And the media

(with some exceptions, of course) are intimately

tied with corporate and state power.

I wouldn’t put it past the media to – if

only subconsciously – give Black people

that same lesson today. So, in that light, I

don’t know that the seemingly endless parade

of images of Black death is good for


I personally feel deeply and negatively affected.

Some days it’s hard to do much

else other than stew about what I’ve just

seen. Also, I resent that we need to see

such images to make the case. Shouldn’t

we all just get it by now? Why do Black

people have to give their lives for other

people to care? Saying that, of course

technology has helped. It’s helped poke

major holes in what cops say. They lie.

They tell us some Black person, for no

reason, went berserk and started being

a threat to everybody, including the

armed and trained officer. But then we

watch the videos and we know the truth.

So, yeah, it helps in certain cases. But,

we shouldn’t rely on it. We should be

quick to assume the cops, because it’s

the nature of their position, are murderers.

DUANE: I’m tired of seeing Black bodies

on my timeline. I think it needs to stop.

You can have awareness without seeing

blood and guts. Our mental health is at

stake and that’s worth honouring. Our

ancestors deserve better.

CASSANDRA: I can’t watch most of the

videos. To be honest, I’ve still not been

able to watch Eric Garner die. I can’t. It

hurts too much. And there are so many.

So many. Our spirits weren’t made to

withstand watching our family get murdered

on repeat. That’s unhealthy. That’s

trauma. I don’t need the evidence. My

soul doesn’t need the abuse. It’s had


CHUKWUMA: It depends on the person

sharing these videos and images. If it

is coming from a Black individual, then

I am in full support, as they are directly

related to the issue. However, when it

comes from a non-PoC, I don’t necessarily

believe that this is the correct method

of spreading awareness. Oftentimes

posting these articles can re-traumatize

Black people, and it does nothing to

aid in our fight against anti-Black racism.

Instead of posting an article, they

should discuss their role in the system

and find effective ways to support Black

people in their fight.

HAWA: When non-Black people share

videos of police brutality with surprise

and shock, I resent the sharing in and

of itself. Why is the burden of proof on

“For the master’s tools

will never dismantle the

master’s house.”

– Audre Lorde.

Black communities to substantiate their

claims of being racially profiled, of being

killed or already being expected to

die? I confess that my recent quiet on

social media is from exhaustion at seeing

people who look like me, who could

very well be me or people I love, killed

every day. I do not want to be reminded

of a continual refusal to see my humanity.

In sharing these videos, I can’t help

but believe that we demonstrate our

deaths for the white gaze, never fully understanding

that it does not in fact give

us justice. Demanding another police officer

be incarcerated or punished does

not change or remove the death itself, it

does not dismantle a system intent on

Black people’s demise.

We need more conversations as Black

people as to the strategies we use as we

organize. We need more time just among

one another to grieve our dead and our

ongoing dying. While I do not discount

that there is a great power in the use of

technology in connecting Black liberation

and struggle across the globe, there

is also great devastation in being subjected

to [the] ongoing dehumanization

of my peoples.

Some important critiques coming

from the movements targeting anti-Blackness

include the fact that the

experiences of cisgender, heterosexual

Black men with police have dom-

inated the media conversations. What

do you think should be done to ensure

that the voices of women, gender

non-conforming folks, trans folks, and

queer people are amplified in these


HAWA: These critiques are not unusual;

similar critiques were levied at Black nationalist

and civil rights movements. Those

for whom the risk and costs are greater in

our communities should be centralized in

our movements. In all places, at all points

in the process, we should be asking ourselves

who is missing and why? Whose voice

requires amplification, whose experiences

shape our movements? Whose blood is taken

for granted? Whose work do we continually

take and not credit? In whose name

do we forget to march? None of these are

easy questions. We rarely see queer Black

muslimahs at the forefront. We rarely see

people with disabilities or mad, gender

non-conforming folks on the front lines.

We use language and resources to appear

middle class, to legitimize ourselves as we

move. Even within Black communities, it is

the small decisions that expose our ideas

of who we consider disposable.

DANIEL: For the most part, the issue

that’s most recognizable within BLM is police

brutality. And the reality is that Black

men are typically the victims there. So, as

long as that’s the issue, Black men will disproportionately

be the focus of the movement.

I think one way to amplify everybody

else is to widen the number of issues. Police

brutality is, of course, incredibly important

and is something Black people

feel has to be halted immediately, but it’s

not the only pressing issue. Racism manifests

itself in countless ways, many of

which could lead to death in subtle ways.

If we’re talking about housing, that could

affect women as much or more than men.

If it’s austerity measures, that could affect

women more than men. Anti-Black racism

is just a structure but it has countless

manifestations and police brutality is just

one, though the most sensational, form.

CASSANDRA: People who do not know the

lived experience of being trans or queer

cannot liberate us. If you have not lived

through it, you don’t know what we need.

It’s the same idea as having white folks

telling us what we need to feel safe, free,

and supported as Black people. It is counterintuitive

and oppressive in its construction.

We need to publicize queer and trans

experiences and we need to talk about

the womxn and queer and trans people

who have been leading our healing efforts

and our resistance.

We need to reveal

their his/herstories.

We need to prioritize

and frame the

Black trans, Black

womxn’s, and Black

queer struggle as

part of the “Black

struggle.” I think

that Black Lives

Matter is attempting

to do that, but

we need to stand

behind this as a

people. We really

have to start there.

Moyo Rainos Mutamba

has written,

“Racism and

colonialism root

the Canadian nation

state and they

continue to sustain

it.” Leanne


Simpson has similarly

argued that

“Black and Indigenous


of struggle

are deeply connected


our experiences

with colonialism,

oppression and

white supremacy.” What are some

strategies for strengthening the links

between anti-colonial and anti-racism

struggles to dismantle white supremacy?

DANIEL: I’ve thought a lot about why Eritreans

are fleeing the country and risking

death by dehydration in the Sahara, detention

in Libya, drowning in the Mediterranean,

and, after all that, expulsion from

Europe. The main reason is that most Eritrean

adults are, essentially, enslaved labourers,

working on various state-run projects.

They work indefinitely (sometimes

over 10 years) with little pay and terrible

work conditions. The prospect of living

that way is a major reason people are fleeing.

Currently, there are a few mining sites

that employ these workers. One of them

is owned by a Vancouver mining company,

Nevsun Resources Ltd. I personally see

projects like that – extraction of resources

from one country enriching another – as

simple colonialism. And that’s where the

struggles of Indigenous peoples and Black

people intertwine. The reality is we have a

common enemy and it’s time we recognize

it and work together. I think one strategy to

help that happen is to take a specific issue

(like mining in Eritrea) and connect it to

similar struggles locally (Indigenous people

throughout Canada [being] displaced

and poisoned by extraction). to make it to

Canada, where they could finally be free

to live the life they preferred. But what

they found once they made it over was a

nightmare. This is what Canada does best:

subversion under the guise of charity.

Gentrification is the perfect example – the

blueprint, actually. From colonialism, displacing

Indigenous peoples onto reserves

and taking their land, to historically Black

land, such as Africville, where the residents

were evicted, their belongings relocated in

garbage trucks, right up to this day where

residents of Regent Park and Eglinton

West [in Toronto], for example, are forced

to leave their homes to make room for condos.

There is simply no regard for our lives.

CASSANDRA: Anti-Blackness is a result of

capitalism and colonialism, just as Indigenous

oppression is. I’d suggest we look

to parts of Nova Scotia for historical guidance

and study their examples of building

Black and Indigenous communities as an

ideal start. Sankofa – the traditional Akan

concept that teaches us to look back in order

to move forward – reflects this practice.

HAWA: I do not forget that we live in a white

supremacist, imperialist, patriarchal, colonial

society. When we begin to believe

our individual experiences are somehow

more important than our collective liberation

and struggle, we fail again to build

coalition and solidarity in the places that

matter. To deeply understand anti-Blackness

and colonialism as two sides of the

same coin require[s] us to understand that

the society in which we live is sustained

by the dispossession of Indigenous lands

and dispossession of Black labour/bodies.

I believe my work is understanding the

ongoing colonialism on the lands I do my

work. How can my organizing disrupt other

power dynamics that are at play?

Many have brought attention to the

fact that one of the lasting effects of

racism is damage to the physical and

mental health of its targets. How does

this connection between racism and

health affect the way anti-racist work

is organized?

CHUKWUMA: This question could be a

conversation on its own, but to summarize:

Black people have been taught not

to love themselves. Growing up in a society

in which white is the ideal and Black

is imperfect can cause long-lasting damage.

It took a long time for me to be fully

accepting and proud of my Blackness.

To this day, though, I find myself lingering

between feelings of intense anger and sadness

constantly. I am now a man with no

patience and zero tolerance with regard to

issues of race. There is literally a genocide

occurring on Black bodies in today’s society,

and it hurts me so much. I’m unsure

of how to cope.

DANIEL: It deepens my commitment. While

it can often debilitate me (as I said earlier

about the endless images of Black death),

the racism I’ve experienced keeps me angry

and focused. I don’t want anybody else

to experience what those us who’ve come

before have.

CASSANDRA: We need to massage our

DNA strands and excise the post-traumatic

(en)slaved syndrome we all carry as descendants

of the African diaspora living in

the West. We need to have the emotional

and mental strength and empowered

sense of self to fight back as a people, as

a team.

HAWA: This work is exhausting. There are

not enough words to articulate the ways

in which this exhaustion manifests itself.

Black people doing work in their communities

are more often than not doing that

work as a result of wounding. And yet we

continue to survive, persevere, and thrive.

We continue to be magical.

Do you think electoral changes in government,

specifically the Liberal government’s

seeming commitment to

diversity, can have an effect on race relations

in Canada?

DUANE: No. The faces have switched over,

but the bodies remain the same. This ma-

chine has been in effect since colonization

and it will remain in effect, operating under

the very same mandate, trying to achieve

the same goals, until it is dismantled.

HAWA: I do not believe that the Liberal

government’s commitment to diversity

does anything to improve race relations in

Canada. In fact, I believe the Liberal party,

though certainly less offensive than the recent

Harper Conservatives, still functions

largely using conservative values. I don’t

think that appealing to the systems we live

in to recognize and see us is a strategic

method forward. Blow it up. Blow the system

up. I have no interest in conversations

that begin and end with diversity. I have no

interest in conversations that look at me

as little more than a choice on a platter

of other similarly brown-hued people as

a model from which to rebuild our world

and work in the interests of my community.

I have more interest in thinking through

what diversity does to mimic power structures

of the society in which we live, and

what draws racialized people toward ideas

of tolerance and recognition instead of resistance

and revolution.

CHUKWUMA: Anti-Black racism is systemic,

and must be attacked at its root. A new

Liberal government will not do this.

DANIEL: Malcolm X once said, “You can’t

Malcolm X once said,

“You can’t legislate

good will.”

legislate good will.” While I can maybe

agree that electoral changes will be a

part of a bigger project, I don’t want to

emphasize it. Yes, people need immediate

changes and I support reforms if they

have a tangible effect on someone’s life.

But I don’t believe in the political system.

I believe race relations will improve when

communities are empowered, not when

parties are elected. [The Liberals’] policies

are deplorable in nearly every way. Diversity

on the surface is nice, and, maybe in

some limited ways it opens a discussion

and raises consciousness, but it can also

be seen as simple PR. I don’t buy it and I

hope more Black people see through it as


CASSANDRA: “For the master’s tools will

never dismantle the master’s house. They

may allow us temporarily to beat him at

his own game, but they will never enable

us to bring about genuine change” – Audre


Nana Adu-Poku is interested

in philosophy, technology,

science fiction and fantasy,

gaming, and social justice

issues of income inequality,

racism, and sexism. In his

spare time he reads, plays

the trumpet, and takes photos.

This article was presented by and first published in Briarpatch Magazine.

For more information visit


A case for the revitalization of

the Back to Africa Movement

ERIA 2.0

BY Antoine Kinch

The Star Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States

of America. It is sung at the beginning of every major event in the country

and played whenever a U.S team wins a medal in the Olympics. It was

written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombarding

of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland during the War of 1812. The

eighth lyric of the song reads: “O’er the land of the free, and the home

of the brave.” This line has become synonymous with the idea of what

America is supposed to be. Free.

However, for many freed black American slaves at the time, true freedom

was something that they could only hope for. As those lyrics were being

penned there was a movement to resettle freed slaves in Africa. In 1816

the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed specifically for this

purpose. The name of that colony would be: Liberia, which ironically

translates to “Land of the free” in Latin. The history of Liberia is unique

in Africa as it started neither as a native state nor as a European colony,

but began in 1821 when the ACS began funding it for free blacks from

the United States.

You see at this time in our country’s history many White Americans

thought that African Americans could not succeed in living in society as

free people. Some were abolitionists and some were former slave owners

alike. Others considered blacks physically and mentally inferior to

whites, and believed that institutional racism and societal polarization

esulting from slavery were insurmountable obstacles for true integration

of the races. Thomas Jefferson was even one among those who

proposed colonization in Africa: relocating free blacks outside the new


So why didn’t African Americans leave? In the earlier part of the 20th

century Pan-African advocates included leaders such as Haile Selassie,

Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Kwame Nkrumah,

grassroots organizers such as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, and academics

such as W. E. B. Du Bois. Garvey even

founded the Black Star Line, a shipping and

passenger line to promote the return to ancestral

lands. The biggest problem that all of

these movements had was what the initial effect

of slavery already accomplished. It disconnected

us and forever made it hard for us

to unify.

Exactly 200 years

from when the idea of

“Liberia” began, have

things really changed

in America?

Over the years African Americans in the U.S

have had to endure years of inequality like during the Reconstruction

era (1863-1877) which would see freed slaves voting for the first time

and witness the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. After reconstruction, southern

politicians sought to take away the political power of Blacks by removing

their right to vote and introducing laws such as “Literacy tests”, “Poll

taxes”, and the “Grandfather Clause” (if your grandfather hadn’t been

eligible to vote then neither were you) for slaves this made it impossible.

These were also known as “Jim Crow” laws which would last until the

1950’s. In the historic case of Plessy vs Ferguson (1896) racial segregation

was upheld in public facilities under the doctrine of ‘separate but

equal’. This wouldn’t be challenged in the Supreme Court until Brown vs

the Board of Education (1954) that recognized “separate educational facilities

are inherently unequal.”

The 1950’s and 1960’s brought about what is now known as the Civil

Rights Movement where notable figures like Martin Luther King, Malcolm

X, Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, and others helped organize

the Montgomery Boycott, sit-ins, freedom rides, Voter registration,

the integration of Mississippi universities and the March on Washington.

The results being the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 & 1965 and the Voting

Rights Act of 1965.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s we would endure another crisis in the “War on

Drugs” and the rise of the prison industrial complex that would have a

dramatic effect on black families. According to the National Association

for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans constitute

nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population of

the country, and have nearly six times the incarceration rate of whites. If

you are a convicted felon in America, you also lose the right to vote. It is

called Felony disenfranchisement. Thereby having no the power to change

your circumstances.

In America, the rich and powerful have always known that voting has been

the key to real change and that is why they have made it so difficult for

black people to gain any of that power by disenfranchising them. The definition

of franchise is “the right to vote” (as does suffrage), to disenfran-

chise is to “take away the right to vote.” On July 29th, 2016 the Supreme

Court ruled that in North Carolina the practice of “Voter ID” was being used

to discriminate against blacks and other minorities.

Which brings us to today.

Exactly 200 years from when the idea of “Liberia” began, have things really

changed in America? After this 200-year experiment with integration have

we been able to overcome the obstacles that were set before us? After enduring

all that we have, is now the time that we leave in critical mass? We have

witnessed pockets of progress. We have had a black president for the last 8

years. Michelle Obama even so poignantly stated in her speech in July 2016,

“I wake up in a house built by slaves.” But there is a still a lot of work left to

be done. With the steady rise of police brutality provoking the creation of the

Black Lives Matter movement, and now with the black community starting to

shift their wealth into black owned banks with the hashtag #BankBlack, will

we finally start to see change? Or do we go to Liberia and start over?

This much is clear. Our ancestors have fought long and hard for this country

and just to have the right to vote and we shouldn’t take it for granted.

Whether we leave or we stay, nothing will change unless there is UNITY in

our community.

Antoine Kinch has a BA

in Communications from

Boston College and has been

working in Digital Media for

over 16 years. Tweet him:@



In Canada

By Lincoln Blades

Imagine for a moment that you were a young person

living in Africville with your parents. You were

given a small piece of land by your father or your

grandparents. You built your home on that piece of

land. You paid cash for everything. It took you two

years or more of hard work and you put every penny

and every free moment into building this home.

After two years, you had a home, a piece of land,

mortgage free. It gave you an opportunity to bring

up your own family and have a good start. You had

financial security.

My generation has been deprived of this opportunity.

We will struggle for everything we get, because

someone decided that the land of Africville would

serve the city better as industrial land.

- Terry Dixon

As our society

is further inundated with

cell phone videos showing white

folks going on racist diatribes, and Black

bodies being ravaged by guardians of

the carceral state, it has become far

too easy for many people to abridge

the totality of racism down to unkind

words and physical brutality. This is

problematic because it ignores and

under-appreciates the insidious scourge

of systemic racism. Those who constrict

racism to “nigger” and iPhone videos

of death will often miss the nuanced

dehumanization of voter suppression,

mass incarceration, employment bias

and housing discrimination, especially

the type that robs Black folks of their

homes, their land and their wealth.

While the United States has many

communities such as Oakland and

Baltimore where these detrimental

practices destroyed our community’s

wealth, very few people realize that this

form of systemic injustice isn’t just

American tradition, it’s also Canadian

history, and it occurred, not too long

ago, in a place once called Africville.

Just because

our persecution

isn’t televised,

doesn’t mean it

doesn’t exist.

To understand the importance of the

Africville community, located in Halifax,

Nova Scotia, one must understand its

historical significance.

Every July 4th, Americans gather

together to celebrate Independence

Day, an ode to the adoption of the

Declaration of Independence that

solidified The United States removal

from British colonial rule. One aspect of

the story that is rarely discussed is how

escaped Black slaves fought as soldiers

for the British under the “freedom and

a farm” promise, declaring that they

would get to be free and have their own

land if the British beat back the rebel

forces. The British then entered the

names of these Black Loyalists into a

large registry - the book of negroes -

which would allow these men, women

and children to obtain certificates of

freedom. Once the war was over, the

enslaved Blacks were taken, in bondage,

to the West Indies, while those named

in the book of negroes - 1336 men, 914

women and 750 children - were put on

Navy ships and British chartered private

transports headed for Nova Scotia.

The battered and defiled bodies of

these resilient souls landed in Nova

Scotia between April and November of

1783, where they created settlements

in Shelburne, Digby, Chedabucto,

Halifax and along the Bedford Basin on

Campbell Road (which would eventually

become known as Africville.) They

arrived in a country much like the one

they were unceremoniously evacuated

from, rife with racism and slavery.

Three decades later they were joined by

around 2,000 Black Refugees, African

slaves who escaped slavery in the War of

1812. Despite monumental challenges

and obstructionism, they built shacks

into houses and turned a makeshift lot

into an actual community. While the

local and provincial government refused

to support or even legitimize their

existence in a truly quantifiable manner,

they literally bootstrapped their way out

of oblivion into autonomous hardship.

As Black folks have for generations, they

adopted the tenuous joy of survival.

“Maybe [the living conditions] weren’t

up to standard to the people who set

the standards, but to us, that was home

no matter what the houses looked like,”

said Terry Dixon.

Although they avoided the surety of

enslavement, the British neglected

to follow through on their promise to

provide them with land, food

and utilities necessary

to effectively

begin the process of curating

successful independence. Although

they began paying taxes to the City

of Halifax, the city didn’t provide the

community with the recompense that

taxes should necessitate. Africville

was deprived of paved roads, running

water, garbage pickup, streetlights,

public transportation, snow plowing,

and sewers, amongst other services

granted to mostly white Nova Scotians.

Much like citizens in Flint today, their

water was so heavily contaminated

that they had to boil it thoroughly

before use. Unfortunately, their

collective community

wealth was not

such that



easily provide

these things for themselves

(a la the Black Wall Street in Tulsa).

While some residents operated fishing

businesses and some run farms, 65%

of Africville residents worked as lowpaid

domestic servants, and only 35%

of the labourers had steady wealth.

But, just like Black folks who’ve battled

discrimination at various times in

various countries around the globe, one

of the biggest battles against racism

is resisting state-sponsored plunder.

Whether it’s the government, or some

quasi-powerful white-interest group,

sometimes Black folks things are just

taken. Although Africville residents

were granted the land that they settled

on, and they even signed the first land

purchase agreement in 1848, the city

decided that their records weren’t

official enough, ushering in an era of

nebulous, unrepentant bias.

While gentrification today is done

by financially preying on the less

advantaged, what happened to Africville

was far more odious, direct and brutal.

In the 1850’s, not only were some

Africville residents relocated due to the

construction of a railway but also the

Rockhead prison was built right beside

their community. In 1858, Africville

became home to the city’s fecal waste

depository and, more than a decade

later, became home to an infectious

disease hospital. Eddie Carvery, a

former resident, said “The hospital

would just dump their raw garbage on

the dump—bloody body parts, blankets,

and everything.”

Eventually an open city dump was

placed in Africville and Carvery believes

that assisted in the rat explosion in the

community. Although the area wasn’t

incredibly large, Carvery believes that

the rat population was around 100,000

at any given time. Once the rats reached

the white communities, they came

down and recklessly doused the dump

in rat poison - leaving it for the citizens

to breath in and ingest.

After the 1917 Halifax explosion,

which occurred when a French cargo

ship laden with explosives collided

with a Norwegian vessel, killing 2,000

people and destroying large swaths of

the city, including many of the small

frail homes in Africville, the already

devastated community received little of

the donated relief funds that was given

to rebuild the city. That tragedy also

gave Halifax their opportunity to steal

the land and use it for what they really

wanted: industrial redevelopment.

“There were other communities, and

not just Black communities, that had

also the same type of living conditions,

if not worse. But we were close to the

city and we were predominantly Black

so our living conditions were used as a

reason to move us,” adds Dixon.

In 1947, Africville was officially

designated as industrial land and

the Halifax city council, without

consulting the actual residents of the

community, began discussing the

industrial potential the land held. By

1954, the city manager recommended

shifting Africville residents to cityowned

property so they could undergo

the North Shore Development Plan.

It was not just a proposition to steal

their land, but more importantly, a

plan to steal their ownership to turn

them from land-owners into propertyrenters.

Because of the nature of how

land was given and passed down, only

a handful of families had actual legal

title, and some were offered only $500

to leave the land they owned to begin

renting from the city.

Residents who refused to take the

money found their homes being

bulldozed while they were still inside

them, and the church, which had been

a symbol of Black survival and the

center of their communal universe for

over a decade, was bulldozed in the

middle of the night without warning.

The last building was demolished by


And just like that, it was gone.

The place that former slaves built.

The community that was once visited

by Joe Louis and Duke Ellington. The

home of Black residents who, against

every odd, built a life for themselves

despite the racist intentions of different

governments and fellow white citizens.

Forty years after the last home was

destroyed, the city of Halifax decided it

was time to say “sorry” and they issued

an official apology. But, as with most

Black suffering, the recognition was too

little and too late. Today, the children

and grandchildren of Africville residents

are less likely to be homeowners than

other Halifax natives of their generation.

In fact, in 2004, the UN declared that

Africville residents deserved reparations

for what they endured.

time Black Americans find themselves

flooded under a deluge of videos

detailing racist rants and police

brutality, they’ll resist the urge to post

any “meanwhile in Canada” memes

propagating the ‘Great White North’ as

a land free from systemic racism. Just

because our persecution isn’t televised,

doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

So, hopefully, the next

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is

not writing for his controversial

and critically acclaimed blog, he can

be found contributing articles for

many different publications on topics

such as race, politics, social reform

and relationships.

Lincoln is an author who wrote the

hilariously insightful book “You’re

Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He

is also the host of the upcoming news

show, “All Things Being Equal.”

If you haven’t seen an issue of Briarpatch lately, you’re missing

your bi-monthly dose of feisty, independent reporting and

analysis. Right now we’re offering a risk-free chance to catch up.

Call 1-866-431-5777 for your free trial issue!

Free Trial


If you like what you see, you’ll get one year at a special rate for

Griots Republic readers – only $25.* If you aren’t satisfied, we’ll

cancel your order free of charge.

*Briarpatch offers a low-income rate of $18.05 per year.

For US subscriptions, please add $10 for shipping.

You can also request by email:

Visit us at







Oneika the Traveller is a leading travel website

that provides travel advice, information, and

inspiration to travellers (be them inexperienced

or seasoned). The site is particularly geared toward

female travellers between the ages of 25

to 45, and enjoys a large readership of African

American travellers.

Oneika the Traveller is syndicated on major

online publications such as The Huffington Post

and the author is also a contributor to Condé

Nast Traveler and Yahoo Travel. The Oneika

the Traveller persona and blog have also been

featured on National, CNN.

com, Bloomberg, Yahoo Travel, BBC Radio, and


EasyJet ranked Oneika the Traveller as one of

their Top 10 Travel Blogs in April 2011, and the

author was voted as one of the 11 black women

who inspire travel by Clutch Magazine. More

recently, Oneika the Traveller was selected as’s Blog of the Week. Oneika has

also written for, and been featured in, many

other online travel publications and blogs that

have all linked back to the Oneika the Traveller


Bio Taken from her website



A Look at Toronto’s Booming

Comic Book Culture



Since the start of the new millennia there has been a surge in public interest

toward comic books and the characters that have come from that

genre. Ranging from the classics figures of Batman, Spiderman and

Captain America to the more recent creations like “The Walking Dead,

there has been new life breathed into this world of sci-fi and fantasy.

This current popularity has fueled a media expansion far beyond the

pages of news stand comics to now seeing every platform of communication

as a home for superhero tales. There are tons of events

in the U.S that fans can attend to celebrate the comic book culture

and many cities are breeding grounds for the talented artists looking

to be a part of the industry. One place that is equally immersed in

the comic book world but often flies under the radar is Toronto. It is

a gem within the genre with conventions for the surging tourists and

fans, emerging talent and style all of

its own.

If you’ve made the decision to partake

in the comic book festivities then

you’re in luck as there is no shortage

of events to attend. Unbeknownst to

many, Toronto’s FAN EXPO CANADA

is the 3rd largest event of its kind in

North America. Essentially Fan Expo

Canada has been in existence for 22

yrs now and attracts roughly 130,000

people from around the world. It’s

the next stop for full on Pop Culture

engagement after Comic Con in the

United States. In terms of star power,

it’s attracted many of the industry’s

biggest names like Stan Lee, Patrick

Stewart, Buzz Aldrin, William Shatner,

Christopher Lloyd, Elijah Wood

and Gillian Anderson. In addition to

that, it’s Hollywood’s brightest venture

up north for Fan Expo too.

Stars from hit television shows: The

Walking Dead, Star Trek, The Vampire

Diaries, Arrow and Agents of

S.H.I.E.L.D are just some of the celebrities

to make an appearance. The

overall experience takes place in early

September spanning 4 days of citywide

events with the epicenter of the

Expo being the Metro Toronto Convention


If you’re looking for something earlier

in the year, then perhaps March’s Toronto

Comic Con, which is under the

FAN EXPO umbrella, is what you need.

While smaller in scale than FAN EXPO

CANADA, tens of thousands of guests

attend over the 3-day event which also

takes place at the Convention Centre.

Offering up a more contemporary option

during the spring is the Toronto

Comic Arts Festival. Running for a full

week, TCAF focuses greatly on the lit-

erary aspects of comics and graphic


The Toronto Reference Library hosts

TCAF with a variety of panels, interviews

and readings. The final two

days serve as a huge artist and vendor

showcase for comic book creators

from around the world. One difference

about the Toronto Comic Arts Festival

is that it does not promote itself

as a convention in the usual manner.

Activities like cosplay or scene skit

acting is discouraged. Taking place

within a major library, TCAF prefers

to exist among the every day crowd

rather than the more elaborate show

that most comic cons are. This does

allow people easing into the culture

to experience a lot of quality without

feeling that they aren’t as into the

material as other people may be.

Besides the various comic book focused

events that you can attend,

there is a wealth of talent emerging

from Toronto. Working both independently

and with the major comic

companies, you’ll find many creatives

bringing unique style to the culture.

Freelance artist Sanya Anwar is the

woman behind 1001, which an amazing

recreation of One Thousand and

One Arabian Nights’ central character

Scherezade. Sanya’s has a very

clean minimalist style that captures

depth and detail while often utilizing

only 3-4 colors in a given piece.

On the other side of the spectrum is

Marco Rudy who has brought his intricate,

haunting style to books like

The New Swamp Thing and Marvel

Knights: Spider-Man. Marrco’s signature

layouts will have you looking over

every inch of ink making sure you’re

not missing something.

One of the biggest names coming out

of Toronto is Ty Templeton. His work

can be seen in various mainstream

publications ranging from DC Comics’

Justice League Unlimited and

Batman ‘66, Age of Heroes and The

Amazing Spider -Man and even pop

fixtures like The Simpsons and MAD

Magazine. In the midst of all those

various assignments, locally Templeton

is just as known for his Comic

Book Boot Camp. Holding the belief

that all creative crafts come from

teachable skills, Ty leads numerous

classes to teach students about print

and digital comics, graphic novels

and more.

The talent residing in the capital of

Ontario is not just bubbling within the

comic realm, but it’s also reaching out

to other industry and artistic mediums.

Lamin Martin, whose distinctive

style has graced various graphic art

novels, has transitioned into creative

concept design for various major releases

in other entertainment fields.

Unbeknownst to many, Toronto’s


3rd largest event of its kind in

North America.

You can currently see his enchanting

illustrative style in t.v, film and

electronic gaming with releases like

Heroes Reborn, Pixels, Hannibal and

Game of Thrones. His attention to detail

in both main characters and background

environment imagery truly

puts Lamin in a class by himself and

has earned him recognition and ac-

colades in publications like EXPOSE

that annually presents the best in

digital art from creatives around the


Within the ever growing

space of comic book culture

there is no shortage of

skilled creators of various

ethnicities and dedicated

fans of all backgrounds to

push the art forward.

As you read this article, the Marvel

World is reeling from its’ recent Civil

War 2 storyline and that blockbuster

event is laced with cover work from

another Toronto heavy hitter, Mike

Del Mundo. Many of Marvels best

series feature Mike’s stand art work

like Deadpool, Spiderman, Carnage

and Vision. Del Mundo is a super talent

that has an array of styles to the

point that he believes he has no style

at all.

“If you look at my covers, they always

change, they’re always different.

A lot of artists, they have a distinct

style. With me, maybe because

I have a short attention span, I get

bored of doing the same thing...Another

thing, too, is, if you work on

something for a very long time, when

you start over thinking things, you’re

not showing your honest work.” Mike

Del Mundo via

In many ways Toronto prides itself

on diversity. Within the ever growing

space of comic book culture there

is no shortage of skilled creators

of various ethnicities and dedicated

fans of all backgrounds to push the

art forward. Toronto also continues

to grow as a destination for those

looking for international comic book

pleasure and appreciation. As you

set your annual plans for the Comic

Cons across the U.S., make sure you

take a peek up north and make it a

point to enjoy what the comic geeks

of Toronto have to offer.

Jason is a New York based social media

manager with a passion for the ever

evolving digital space of social media,

blogging and marketing. He has operated

online in various capacities for over

10 years. He is also the Head of Social

Media and part of the overall managing

team, The High Council, of the Nomadness

Travel Tribe. The tribe is a 13,000+

member strong travel network focused

on sharing the value of travel with the

Urban demographic and introducing

travel to the upcoming youth.



Assistant Professor of Music &

Director of Bands at Drexel University

Orchestra music is enjoyed globallyand

yet there are very few professional

black conductors. As such, when we

get the opportunity to interview one, we

take it! Griots Republic had the opportunity

to interview Dr. Wesley Broadnax

about his love of chamber music and

his travels.


I am Dr. Wesley J. Broadnax, Assistant

Professor of Music & Director of Bands

at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.

My duties include conducting the Concert

Band, Pep Band and teaching a

survey course entitled Introduction to

Music. I have held this position since

Fall 2013.

Prior to my appointment at Drexel, I

served on the faculties of the University

of Delaware, California State University-East

Bay, and Michigan State University.

Professionally, I am the artistic

director/conductor of the Mid-Atlantic

Chamber Players, and co-conductor of

the International Wind Ensemble in Italy.

I am a native Texan, born and raised in

East Texas and attended the Texas Public

Schools. Most of my immediate family

still reside in Texas.



Music has been a major part of my life

since being a toddler, from dancing to

pop songs of the 1970s to admiring

my mother singing in our church choir.

I joined my elementary school beginning

band program in the 6th grade as

a trombonist. Learning the instrument

really paved the way for me excelling in

music and developing my musical skills.

I had EXCELLENT music teachers in my

junior high and high school programs in

East Texas, and I was fortunate enough

to be co-drum major of our high school

marching band during my senior year,

perform with our symphonic band and

jazz band, and win such honors as being

selected for various honor bands, and

ultimately being selected for the 1988


Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra!!

My love for music deepened to the point

of wanting to become a conductor, and

this desire led me to attending Stephen

F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches,

TX) and receiving my Bachelor of Music

Education (BME) degree in 1993,

and teaching instrumental music for

two years in the Texas Public Schools. I

would attend Michigan State University

(East Lansing, MI) for graduate school,

receiving both my masters (1997) and

doctorate degrees in Wind Conducting




I currently teach at Drexel University in

Philadelphia PA, conducting our Concert

Band, Pep Band, and Chamber Winds.

In addition, I conduct the Mid-Atlantic

Chamber Players, and I co-conduct the

International Wind

Ensemble each

summer in Italy.

I have served as

guest conductor

for numerous ensemble


and internationally.











I tell you, being a

conductor is one

of the most fascinating


one can ever

undertake! It is a

position of leadership

and music

making (re-creating

the composer’s

music)! Whenever

I conduct, I

am always thinking

of the following:

Am I reaching

the “ audience” with the music? Is my interpretation

both unique and in line with

the composer’s intent? If it is a living

composer, am I pleasing him/her with

my interpretation? Am I inspiring the

players/performers? Do I know my score

(meaning the musical structure/form,

harmonic analysis, when to cue various


As you can see, there are a host of concerns

that go through a conductor’s

mind when he/she is conducting an ensemble!

I’m sure many conductors have

other concerns I have not listed here, but

these are my concerns while conducting.

However, what determines the ultimate

success of a conductor and the performance

is how well the conductor knows

the score/music, as well as how strong

is the relationship between the conductor

and performers.



My conducting engagements have taken

me all over the United States, as well as

Canada and Italy. I am looking forward

to more international travel in the near

future, as I desire to perform in more

places in Europe, South American, the

Middle East, and Far East (China, Japan,




I do travel for leisure, but not nearly as

much as I would like to. Nevertheless,

most of my leisure travel has been within

the US. I do have a desire to see more of

Europe, South America, The Carribean,

Australia, and perhaps Russia! Traveling

is a wonderful experience for anyone,

and to have an opportunity to see and

experience other cultures is exciting all




Some of my most memorable travel moments

included being in Alaska (Fairbanks),

Banff (Canada), Toronto (Canada),

Upstate New York, California (San

Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Mountains,

Yosemite National Park), and of course

Italy (Region of Umbria, Rome, Northern

Italy, and the Adriatic Sea).




Libryia is the type person who will look at the

price tag on a designer handbag or a pair of

shoes and think “Man I could get a plane ticket

to Istanbul for that”. Libryia checks google

flights before emails, her friends and co-workers

don’t ask what she did over the weekend,

they ask she where she went. Libryia keeps a

carry-on packed with travel essentials ready

to go at all times. In between landings and

take-offs, she’s a single Soccer Mom, and an

IT Project Manager, who loves cooking and doing

DIY decor projects at home.

Over the last two years, Libryia became increasingly

passionate about travel, which lead

her to create a solution for a location independent

lifestyle. My Wander Year is a curated

Digital Nomad Program, spanning one calendar

year of Global Travel. “My Wander Year

is not a vacation, it’s a lifestyle. We are facilitating

a Lifestyle for people who want to live

abroad, but do not want to do it alone.” Libryia

has cultivated a community of 30+ people

who will live in a different country every

three months. The inaugural journey takes off

in July of 2016.

Bio taken from press kit. For more

information, visit

Tiki c




with i



and b

With a


es a s


ries fo



The Popularity of Tiki Cocktail Culture

Brings the South Pacific to Canada





say th

bra. O



of co





la or

to so






of On

its ex


ers, m




able r

in Tik



is re

ocktail culture is bold,

, exotically exciting, ining

and yet can sometoe

the Tiki line of tacky

ts bright flower prints,

girl lamps, demi god

ware, flaming cocktails

amboo paneling décor.

ll that said, there is that

l something that enticense

of adventure and

s past tropical memor

us all.

of us have been to a

/ Tiki themed party

g full print Hawaiian

, grass skirts and dare I

e “oh so sexy” coconut

r the time you meticuscanned

a drink menu,

d and then shared a bit

cktail remorse dashed

envy when you saw a

bring over a beautiful,

tic, brightly colored

il with a fancy umbrelflower

adorning its rim

meone other than you

be honest)?

our friendly Canadian

erparts, namely the

nts of the city of Tothe

provincial capital

tario, a city known for

tremely cold winters,

storms, large skyscrapaple

syrup, extremely

people and Drake; have

bitten by the Tiki bug.

to is seeing an undeniesurgence

and interest

i cocktails. You may be

yourself why Tiki in

to or even, how? There

ally nothing remotely

tropical in or even around the

Toronto geographical area

but to understand the roots

of this emerging culture and

why it has been embraced by

the residents of this northern

metropolis, we have to look

at the origins of

Tiki culture.

Let’s look back

to Los Angeles,

1933. One of

the earliest and

best-known Tiki

themed establishments


named “Don the


and was created

by Ernest Gantt.

The bar served

an impressive

array of exotic

rum drinks and

displayed many

trinkets and souvenirs

that Gantt

had collected

on earlier trips

through the tropics

when Gantt

was sent to fight

in World War II.

Even in its humble


TIki culture and

its cocktail was

learned, appreciated and

brought back for others to


This concept of appropriation

is not lost and lives on today

in Toronto, where in this land

of nothing close to tropical,

we find many a Tiki oasis.

This marriage of adopted cultures

has found a huge Canadian

audience and increased

consumer demand in this

ethnically diverse city along

Lake Ontario’s northwestern

shore. A great deal of Canadians

of Caribbean origin

create one of the largest

non-European ethnic-origin

groups in Canada. According

to the 2011 census, the total

of Caribbean Canadians rose

to 2.9% of Canada’s entire

population and continues to

climb, creating an emerging





1279 Queen St. W.,

between Dufferin and



Room 1378 Queen W

Toronto, ON M6K 1L7


542 Queen St W

Toronto, ON M5V 2B5


1775 Danforth Avenue

Toronto, ON M4C 1J1

population looking to redefine the social

landscape of the Canada that they

now call home Like a warm embrace of

a friend, Tiki cocktails have appeased

their island sensibilities.

The Caribbean thirst for fresh tropical

flavors, the combination of potent rum

and aromatic liqueur filled cocktails

that may have originated in the islands

of the South Pacific, oddly gives a fragrance

and slight memento of places

they may have called home. An Island-like

style or wave-crashing culture

that may have more of a significance

to its drinker than what lies beyond the

confines of the beautifully well-crafted

garnish that adorns the rim of the

cocktail glass.

So next time you’re in Toronto with your

Kanaka or Wahine, embark on an island

adventure, making sure you experience

some of the best Tiki Toronto has to offer.


Bruce Blue Rivera, The Urban Mixologist.

is an accomplished Mixologist with

over 16 years of bartending, wine and

spirits experience, boasting an impressive

resume that spans across 12 countries.

He teaches the history and cultural

background, as well as the application

of bartending and has been featured

on Spike Tvs Bar rescue and Wendy

Williams to name a few. To learn more

about The Urban Mixologist check out:


The Making of

Dous Makos

Presented by



This dessert is extremely popular

among the Caribbean

natives of Haiti and has been

growing in popularity within

North America.

Dous Makos has been around from as

early as 1939. Legend has it that it was

created by Fernand Marcos, an entrepreneur

from Belgium, who first settled

in Petit-Goave, Haiti. It was while here

that he decided to produce this unique

dessert and supply it to the market for


As time went by the dessert became

very popular. The original recipe remains

in the hands of the Labarre family

who has transformed its production

into a family owned business.

So what exactly is Dous Makos? Dous

Makos is a sweet sugar based dessert

that is extremely popular among the

Caribbean natives in Haiti particularly

in the town of Petit-Goave. It has fudge

like texture and is made using milk,

sugar, and a variety of ingredients that

are often kept as a secret among the

natives in Petit-Goave.

Market-wise, it can be found in almost

every corner shop in Haiti and also a

selective variety of bakeries within the

United States. However, to get the real

authentic Dous Makos you would need

to take a trip down to the Petit-Goave

as that’s the only place you can find the

genuine dessert.


10 cups of fresh coconut milk

5 cinnamon sticks

4 cups of sugar

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger

4 cans of evaporated milk

zest of one lemon

1 tsp of nutmeg

1 tsp of salt

15 oz. of coconut butter

3 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tsp of almond extract

Believe it or not, the

process of producing

your own Dous Makos is

not hard. Simply start

by combining fresh coconut

milk, sugar, and

cinnamon, among other

ingredients until it

becomes a concentrated

mixture. The mixture

will then begin to

thicken, and during the

last stages coloring is


Next arrange the different

colors to form layers

of how you would

like your finished product

to look. The Dous

Makos is then set aside

to cool using a deep

9x4x4 loaf pan for up

to six hours.

Once the Dous Makos is

ready, this sweet treat

can be cut into squares

and used for family

outings, large events,

as a simple sweet treat

and many other occasions.

Fill your life with

the sweet treat; you deserve

a little sweetness

in your life.

How to Cook

Pour the coconut milk into a medium saucepan over

high heat.

Add cinnamon sticks. Heat until boils, then add in

sugar and stir.

Reduce to a simmer over medium-high heat and add

ginger. Stir occasionally.

After about 1.5 hours, the liquid should darken and be

slightly reduced.

Remove the cinnamon sticks. Bring heat to high and

stir constantly to prevent the sugar from burning.

Add evaporated milk, salt, nutmeg, lemon zest, and stir

constantly for about an hour.

Reduce heat and stir in coconut butter and extracts.

Divide mixture into three separate saucepans over low

heat - 1/5 with brown coloring, 1/5 with red coloring,

3/5 in original form.

Using a deep loaf pan, smooth and flatten each layer.

Place on top of each other. Let it cool then cut into





Griots Republic Vol. 1 Issue 8


Editor in Chief Davita McKelvey

Deputy Editor Rodney Goode

Copy Editor Alexis Barnes

Video Editor Kindred Films Inc.


Brian Blake

Business Manager

Alexandra Stewart


Mail To: 405 Tarrytown Rd STE 1356,

White Plains, NY 10607

Phone: 1 929-277-9290

For Photo Attributions Please Reference

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Published monthly by Griots Republic LLC

All Rights Reserved.

The views expressed in this magazine are those of the

authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect

the views of Griots Republic.

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