“Covert forms of racism are the worst. I think most people don't even realize that they may be contributing to racism by participating in the system that facilitates it.”
- David "Click" Cox
TESSEL is a short film magnifying the stories and lived experiences of 14 Black Canadian dance makers.
In early August 2013, Ricardo McRae never imagined that his daily walk from the subway to his old apartment on Yonge St. and Davisville Ave. would land him in hospital.
For Irene Ekweozoh, a Nigerian-Canadian currently finishing her Ph.D. in Law at the University of Ottawa, home is no longer a safe place. Ekweozoh is now living with PTSD after she says she was harassed and targeted by her neighbour Erin Farrow, who is an employee in the office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Waterloo.
As two Black women in academia, nothing irks us more than seemingly well-meaning colleagues presenting racism as an unfortunate outcome of history. A stubborn moral irritant that simply requires hardy dialogues and cross-cultural potlucks. However, to broach the insatiable echoes of Eric Garner and George Floyd rasping ‘I can’t breathe’ requires an understanding of the violence that is inordinately mapped onto Black lives that cannot be simply talked away nor commodified ‘one dish at a time’. In fact, far from accidental or incidental, anti-Black racism was birthed to sustain white supremacy by design.
There’s a misconception of this current moment, a misplaced assumption that Black people have been waiting for white people to emotionally break open in front us. No, we’ve been asking you to be our co-conspirators in dismantling systemic and institutionalised racism. We’ve been asking you to sit in the discomfort that comes with this work.
Picture this. Over the course of several weeks, social media feeds are saturated with images and news of the murders and victimization of Black people. You bristle at the word of them being gunned down in their homes (Breonna Taylor). You watch videos of them being shot in the streets while running, literally, for their lives (Ahmaud Arbery). Closer to home, you read the trial of two off duty police officers who maimed a Black teenager (Dafonte Miller), with a lead pipe will begin, only to be tried in relative silence (the verdict now suspended due to Covid-19 closures).
Alexander Gallimore is a 17-year-old Jamaican Canadian actor and writer with an impressive trajectory. Represented by Fountainhead Talent he’s already made appearances in both theatre and film roles. He co-founded the first Black Students Union at his high school and he sits on the Toronto International Film Festival Next Wave Committee. Recently, he was accepted to New York University Tisch School of the Arts to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama beginning in fall 2021. But this actor and budding filmmaker can’t wait until next year to start making movies, he has a story he needs to get out now.
I caught on to a troubling story on Instagram last week about a Black student named Genesis. The photo of her bloody and bruised eye gave me pause. She reportedly suffered ongoing bullying by a white male peer at Glenview Public school, which is located in a wealthy Toronto neighborhood.