Students from across GTA participate in summer program about African diaspora

As part of its focus on the histories and experiences of peoples of African descent, the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples launched the “Spotlighting and Promoting African Canadian Experiences” (S.P.A.C.E.) Initiative in 2009, followed by the Harriet Tubman Student Summer Program in 2010. This year’s summer program is just wrapping up with some 25 young people from across the Greater Toronto Area.

The two-week program’s closing event will be held on Friday, July 12, from 1 to 2pm, in the Archives of Ontario, Keele campus.

Drawn from a variety of schools, youth programs and community-based organizations the students are guided through classes and cultural tubmanactivities focused on the African diaspora conducted by faculty and graduate student members of the Harriet Tubman Institute, as well as researchers and interested persons in the community.

Young people from across the GTA participate in a summer program at the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples

The summer program addresses concerns about development of educational initiatives, community outreach and advocacy work that have been leveled at institutions, such as York University. “It brings together students, parents, educators, facilitators, performers and volunteers from a wide cross-section of communities in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond and has proven to be significant bridge across some of the barriers that exist in our communities,” says Michele Johnson, director of the Tubman Institute.

“The program is an important youth/community initiative in the Greater Toronto Area and the youth who have attended the programme have said that they have had potentially life-altering experiences,” she says. They have also been exposed to wide variety of histories, experiences and possibilities.

“That this early engagement has proven to have had great impact can be gleaned from the fact that several of the students who participated in the program have entered York University,” Johnson adds.

The Harriet Tubman Students Summer Program is sponsored by the Archives of Ontario, G98.7 FM, Laurie Jacklin and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Department of History, and through several Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada grants (CERLAC and the Tubman Institute).