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    (PHOTO: Rodney Diverlus photographed by Robin Pueyo) Building on its successful fundraising at the height of the pandemic in Toronto, BLM-Canada has launched the Canada Black Mutual Aid Fund nationwide. These are micro-grants offered to Black people across Canada, who have experienced hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The Prime Minister has a media availability for you tomorrow at 8:30 am,” said the voice on the other end of my phone. I was momentarily stunned into silence because no one on my team had requested an interview with Justin Trudeau. 

    The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly known as Caribana, launched an interactive virtual timeline for Black History Month. The timeline project is said to be the first initiative for preserving and developing a permanent archive of Toronto’s Carnival history, a key chapter of Black history in Canada.

    “Our immediate priority is to ensure the businesses stay online, which is a key part of their viability and sustainability, and we're working hand-in-hand with local businesses to hear their concerns and address their needs." - Nadine Spencer (President of the Black Business and Professional Association)

    “Black lives are so incredibly valuable and no effort must be lost to reduce the risk; you come from a culture where respect for others is a permanent value so protect your elderly because elders are encyclopedias for family and community and we have lost too many elders in the past year. The loss is immeasurable.” Dr. Akwatu Khenti, Chair of the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity

    Dunia Nur is the president of The African Canadian Civic Engagement Council (ACCEC), which aims to “address the needs of African Canadians most affected by the perpetuation of poverty, civic apathy, structural, and systemic inequity.” ACCEC does this by focusing on advanced programming for racialized youth, who are overrepresented in the justice system. Through data governance and civic engagement, ACCEC works to see Black Canadians be better served in all institutions. 

    The last year has taken its toll on the mental health of all Canadians, and research shows that racialized youth have been the most impacted by the decline in mental wellness. The Africa Centre is addressing this mental health crisis through a new counselling initiative in partnership with the Alberta Black Therapists Network (ABTN). Black Albertans will have access to free, one-on-one counselling right from their living room.

    As a parent of a young, Black, school-aged child in Ontario’s public school system, I’ve had my fair share of challenges trying to navigate the system.

    Upon turning 19 in Ontario, teenagers can look forward to a few firsts. The exciting prospect of winning some money from their first lottery ticket, buying alcohol for the first time, or voting in their first election. However, what 19-year-old Branksome Hall graduate Renee Jagdeo is looking forward to, is making history. 

    The sudden closure of one of Pickering, Ontario’s most well-known marketplaces has left several Black business owners wondering how they will survive.

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