Black Male Mentors Set to Speak to Students in Peel

At a time when activists and advocates are trying to illuminate and discuss the black experience in Peel and beyond, it's good to know that community members are working to make a difference.

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) recently announced that 250 black male students and their allies in grades 7-12 will attend the PDSB's inaugural We Rise Together leadership conference on May 5 at the Sheridan College Davis Campus in Brampton.

Community leader Justice Donald McLeod will deliver the keynote address before students participate in workshop sessions and panel discussions led by black men from various professions.

“This conference will provide our Black male students with an opportunity to connect with and learn from a variety of mentors who truly understand the circumstances they face. Each will offer practical advice through their lived experiences,” says Poleen Grewal, superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “Although this is just the start of our work through We Rise Together: The Peel District School Board Action Plan to Support Black Male Students, we are fully committed to doing what needs to be done to ensure our Black students can truly rise.”

Participating mentors from the business, science, sports and entertainment fields include Justice Donald McLeod, football player Orlando Bowen, poet Al St. Louis, former football player and motivational speaker Jonathan Hood, Ian A. Lake, artist Dwayne Morgan, Eddy Robinson, artist Sean Mauricette (aka Subliminal), motivational speaker Anthony McLean and Geoffrey Rutherford.

According to the PDSB, We Rise Together: The Peel District School Board Action Plan to Support Black Male Students was released in October 2016 to identify, understand, minimize and eliminate the marginalization experienced by black males in Peel board schools. The plan was formulated to engage with the community, deliver anti-black racism and bias awareness professional development, integrate the experiences of black Canadians into the curriculum and inspire black student leadership and engagement.

The board held two community forums to gather feedback on its plan and is working on developing a final plan, which will be shared with students, staff and the community.

Opening remarks start at 9 a.m., followed by the keynote. Sessions run from 10:25 to 11:25 a.m. and 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Panel discussions run from 12:40 to 1:10 p.m.

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