Throughout February, UCC has been celebrating the richness and variety of the Black experience in Canada.
Year 12 student and co-president of the College’s Black Excellence Society Toni Agbaje-Ojo gave the introduction at a kickoff assembly on Feb. 1, emphasizing the importance of looking forward. Dwayne Morgan, a spoken word artist and two-time Canadian Poetry Slam champion, performed virtually and also participated in a compelling interview with Agbjae-Ojo and fellow graduating student Abdulsalam Oladimeji.
Toks Ayinla, a Nigerian-Canadian poet and podcast host, joined Agbaje-Ojo the following week at another assembly to perform some of her poetry and talk about her book, a collection called Through My Brown Eyes.
Ayinla offered students valuable advice about how she keeps herself grounded when she receives attention and acclaim – by being true to herself. "It’s important to think about what you represent and what you want to represent," she said. "If people are coming to you for what you represent and what you bring to the table … I’m not going to be that quiet person in the corner who doesn’t ruffle any feathers."
Daniel McDonald, Year 10, contributed a different kind of poetry: music. His awe-inspiring virtual performance of Caprice on the steel drums brought to life the Caribbean heritage that many Black Canadians share.
Our youngest students were also engaged in celebrating and finding inspiration. Programming at the Prep included the Senior Kindergarten class learning about Marley Dias, a young girl from New Jersey who started #1000BlackGirlBooks, a campaign to find, accumulate and share 1,000 children’s books with Black female protagonists.