Virtual colloquium explores racialized implications of COVID-19 in Toronto

Black female student working on a laptop

On April 7, the next session in York University’s “Reciprocal Learning in Times of Crisis” monthly virtual colloquium series will feature a panel of educational experts and activists who will discuss the racialized implications of COVID-19 in Toronto.

The next session, titled “Racialized Implications of COVID-19 in Toronto: An East African Perspective,” will take place at 10:30 a.m. EST/5:30 p.m. EAT via Zoom.

Head shots of four panellists participating in the colloquium
Kherto Ahmed (top left); Sam Tecle (top right); Ekram May (bottom left); and Tesfai Mengesha (bottom right)

The past year has presented unprecedented challenges to students and educators across the world. It has also provided new spaces of opportunity. This session will feature a panel of young people who are both activists and educational experts who work with Success Beyond Limits (SBL), which is a collaborative, youth-led, community-based movement in Toronto’s Jane-Finch community that provides youth with holistic supports to complete their education and facilitate their trajectories of success. Panelists will discuss their experiences navigating schooling, scholarship, and community work amidst COVID-19, which has disproportionately influenced racialized communities like Jane and Finch where SBL is located. Panelists will also reflect on new possibilities for justice and connection that have emerged in Toronto, among East African diasporic communities and beyond.

The panel will feature:

  • Kherto Ahmed, a fourth-year life sciences student at McMaster University, who founded McMaster’s first Black Students Association;
  • Sam Tecle, an assistant professor of Community Engaged Learning at New College, University of Toronto, whose work focuses on Black and Diaspora Studies, Urban Studies and Sociology of Education;
  • Ekram Maye, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Westview Centennial Secondary School, who is a past SBL mentee and volunteer, and current SBL mentor; and
  • Tesfai Mengesha, executive director, Operations at SBL.

York University’s Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project, Faculty of Education, and Centre for Refugee Studies are partnering to present the “Reciprocal Learning in Times of Crisis” colloquium series that examines the intersections of refugee education, anti-Black racism, and COVID-19 in Canada and East Africa.

This colloquium is the first of its kind to feature experts from York University and from institutions that are comprised of or work with refugees in equal measure. Together, this series will: (1) deepen connections among refugee communities, educational leaders, and scholars within and across institutions; (2) foster a sense of reciprocity in learning; (3) recognize and validate the unique expertise that refugee communities bring to time- or resource-constrained situations; and (4) educate all attendees on a range of topics relevant to refugee education, COVID-19, and anti-Black racism.