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The Black Experience Project

The Black Experience Project
315 Bloor Street West, Boardroom, Munk School of Global Affairs
Time: Mar 22nd, 2:00 pm End: Mar 22nd, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: Law, Faculty of , Diaspora/Transnational, Caribbean, Canada, African
Panel Discussion

The Munk School of Global Affairs presents

The Black Experience Project


The Black Experience Project began with a central question “What does it mean to be Black in the GTA?” From there, the study embarked on a journey of answering this question in an authentic and respectful way. Launched in 2010, the Black Experience Project was led by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, in partnership with the United Way of Toronto and York Region, the YMCA of the Greater Toronto Area, Ryerson’s Diversity Institute, and the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora at York University. The study has received extensive media coverage since its completion in 2017 (see side bar for samples of coverage).

The panel of experts and stakeholders will discuss the main findings of the study and its impact from the perspectives of academic research, community, and policy.

This event is open to the public. For more information, please contact the Ethinic Studies program at 416-978-4783 

Marva Wisdom, Black Experience Project

Marva is a highly sought facilitator, moderator and speaker. With diversity & inclusivity as an imperative, she provides clients with courage to transform their leadership vision. Her volunteer leadership roles span three decades from co-founding President of the Canadian Black History Projects to founding President of the Guelph Black Heritage Society which acquired a historic British Methodist Episcopal Church associated with the Underground Railroad. Marva’s political and policy engagements include a Prime Minister’s appointment as Co-Chair of two policy platform committees and an elected position as National Policy Chair. For her community contributions, Marva  has received many distinguished recognitions including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal; YWCA’s Woman of Distinction; JCA’s Community Volunteer Leadership Award & CIBWE Top 100 Canadian Black Women to watch. Marva has her MA (Leadership) from the University of Guelph and has served on its College of Economics & Business Leadership Advisory Board, receiving its inaugural Alumni with Impact Award.

Marva has been active with the Black Experience Project Team since its 2010 inception, serving as Project Director for Phase 1, and is currently the Director of Outreach and Engagement.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, University of Toronto, Sociology

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, BA (Carleton) MA, PhD (Toronto) is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga.  Dr. Owusu-Bempah’s work focuses on the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a particular interest in the area of policing.  His current projects include: a study of Black males’ perceptions of and experiences with the police in Greater Toronto Area (including the experiences of both civilians and police officers); and an examination of representations of Blackness in Canadian print media. He is also studying various aspects of cannabis legalization in Canada. His research has recently been published in Policing and Society, Crime and Justice, and Theoretical Criminology.

Dr. Owusu-Bempah began his academic career in the United States at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to becoming a professor, he held positions with Canada’s National Judicial Institute, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. He has consulted for various levels of government and served as a member of the Toronto Police Service’s Black Community-Police Consultative Committee and the Service’s Recruiting Coalition. Dr. Owusu-Bempah is frequently sought out to provide commentary and advice to police agencies, government bodies, community organizations, and media outlets on matters relating to policing, justice and social inequality.

Anthony Morgan, Falconers LLP

Anthony Morgan is a graduate of McGill University, Faculty of Law’s bilingual program in which he earned degrees in both civil law and common law. Prior to joining Falconers LLP in 2016, he practiced at the African Canadian Legal Clinic and Humber College. He completed his articles at the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal Canada.

Since being called to the bar in Ontario in 2013, Anthony has appeared at various levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also appeared before two United Nations human rights committees. He is regularly sought out by media, human rights and community-based organizations and academic institutions to provide analysis on racial justice issues in Canadian law and policy, particularly in the areas of policing and the criminal justice system.

While at law school, Anthony was a Research Assistant for Justice Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré of the Court of Quebec and Professor Adelle Blackett. He also worked at the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, volunteered at various community legal clinics, and served as National President of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada.

Anthony currently sits on Legal Aid Ontario’s Test Case Committee which is a committee that provides LAO with expert, independent advice on applications for legal aid assistance for public interest matters.

Anthony is also the recipient of numerous leadership and advocacy awards from organizations such as, Volunteer Toronto, the Black Ontario Public Service Employees Network, the Jamaican Canadian Association, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and the Black Community Action Network of Peel. In 2016 Anthony was awarded a Lexpert Zenith Award for his contributions towards achieving diversity and inclusion, both within the legal profession and in society. In 2016 and 2017, Anthony was shortlisted as a nominee for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s annual survey of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers.

Jessica Yamoah, Innovate Inclusion

Jessica Yamoah is the executive director of  Innovate Inclusion, a non-profit organization that advocates for the entrepreneurial success of underrepresented communities.

Innovate Inclusion conducted a first-of-its-kind scan on ethnic diversity within Ontario incubators, and produced a report entitled “The State of Diversity Within Ontario Incubators”. The objective of the report was to make recommendations designed to better support the challenges that underrepresented entrepreneurs face while launching and growing their business with a focus on technology. Underrepresented communities featured in the report included: African Canadian, Indigenous, and Latin Canadian. Areas of interests that were considered included: Board of Directors/Advisory Boards, Executive and Strategic Growth Teams, Entrepreneurs in Residence, Advisors and Mentors, Programming.The four incubators/accelerators included in the study were: Communitech, Invest Ottawa, MaRS, Ryerson’s DMZ.

After graduating from Waterloo Collegiate, Jessica studied sociology at York University. She then worked for Nike, Nokia and the iPhone department at Apple. She also worked for a number of startups here and in Toronto. Sales, marketing and business development are her specialties. She started working with Innovate Inclusion in the fall of 2017.

The event will be moderated by Jeffrey Reitz, Director, R.F. Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs.

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