Inclusion Day Conference explores past histories and present stories

The Centre for Human Rights will present the Inclusion Day Conference, Past Histories & Present Stories, Jan. 28. The all-day event will feature performances from hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier, and a lunchtime keynote speech by author and journalist Lynn Keane.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 9:30am in York Lanes, followed by seminars throughout the day until 6:30pm. All students, staff, faculty and the wider community are welcome to attend this free conference.

Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal

Jal has won worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its messages of peace and reconciliation born out of his experiences as a child soldier in Sudan. He will perform in the Underground during the reception at 5:30pm. Unsure of when exactly he was born, Jal estimates that at age six or seven, he was taken and trained to fight with the rebel army in Sudan’s civil war. For nearly five years, he was a child warrior with an AK-47 that was taller than he was. He was eventually rescued by a British aid worker who raised him as her own after smuggling him into Nairobi.

In 2005, Jal released his first album, Gua (meaning “peace” in Nuer). The title track was broadcast across Africa over the BBC; becoming the number one hit in Kenya. He has since performed with top entertainers from all over the world and in front of world leaders, including Nelson Mandela. Jal’s life and story has been featured in the documentary film WAR CHILD and his latest album, The Key, was released in September 2014. His music can be heard on the soundtrack to feature film Blood Diamond and in the documentary God Grew Tired of Us about the plight of child soldiers.

Lynn Keane

Lynn Keane

The lunchtime keynote speaker, Lynn Keane, is an author and former broadcast journalist. She will present “Mental Illness and Stigma: Continuing Conversations” at 11:30am in the Underground Restaurant. Since the sudden death of her son Daniel in 2009, she has dedicated her life to sharing her family’s story and educating others about the underlying causes of depression along with the importance of treating mental illness. Keane’s work has been featured in the National Post, the Globe and Mail and Moods Magazine, as well as on CBC, CTV and TVO’s “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin. She has also published a memoir, Give Sorrow Words, where she explores how society treats mental illness while sharing her own story of the last months of her son’s life.

Inclusion Day treeConference sessions will cover a diverse array of topics, including presentations on women’s human rights in Bangladesh, problematizing notions of beauty among South Sudanese, the othering of Aboriginal peoples on CBC.ca, as well as a presentation by Queer of Gender, “Blackness: Our Stories.”

For a full listing of Inclusion Day Conference sessions or to register, visit the Centre for Human Rights website.

For more information, contact Josephine Tcheng at jtcheng@yorku.ca.

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