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ECI Mandela Lecture: Toward 21st Century Black Liberation ft. Robyn Maynard

October 24, 2018
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
RCC-204, Eaton Lecture Hall, 80 Gould Street

Event Description

Building on her critically acclaimed book, Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present, Robyn Maynard provides an overview of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization, and punishment of Black lives in Canada. Drawing on examples from Canada’s immigration, child welfare, and criminal justice systems, this event explores the still-living legacy of slavery across multiple Canadian institutions. Maynard’s intersectional approach to anti-Black racism addresses the unique and understudied impacts of state violence as it is experienced by Black women, Black people with disabilities, as well as queer, trans, and undocumented Black communities. This event serves as a call-to-action to work toward dismantling structures of racial domination and re-imagining a more just society.

This event is moderated by Yusra Khogali and features opening music by AmaiKuda et LesBois.

Speaker Bios

Robyn Maynard is a Toronto-based writer and the author of Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present (Fernwood 2017). The book is a CBC national bestseller, currently in its third printing, and has been widely acclaimed since it’s release, designated as one of the “best 100 books of 2017” by the Hill Times, shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award and the winner of the 2018 Annual Errol Morris Book Prize. Maynard has published writing in the Washington Post, World Policy Journal, the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and Canadian Women’s Studies journal, as well as an essay for Maisonneuve Magazine which won the acclaim of  “most-read essay of 2017”.  Maynard has a long history of involvement in community activism and advocacy. She been a part of grassroots movements against racial profiling, police violence, detention and deportation for over a decade and has an extensive work history in harm reduction-based  service provision serving sex workers, drug users, incarcerated women and marginalized youth in Montreal. Recently, she helped develop the Black Indigenous Harm Reduction Alliance, a group of Black and Indigenous women and two-spirit people providing workshops to incarcerated women.

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery,  Art Gallery of York University and The Gladstone Hotel. His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015).  He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. He is also a part of the Black Triangle Arts Collective (BTAC), a visual arts collective dedicated to exploring disability, racial and economic justice. Syrus' recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay: On the Edge, TSG: Fall to Pieces, TSG: Come Together (Gladstone Hotel, 2016, 2015 & 2014), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). Syrus is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre. He is a facilitator/designer at The Banff Centre, and for 12 years was the Coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus is the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17). Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter- Toronto. Syrus is also part of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership and activism (2012). Syrus is working on a PhD at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

AmaiKuda et LesBois: Described by NOW magazine as a “tantalizing Afro-soul combo of folk, roots, desert blues and African continental music,” AfroSoul Volume Volume III: Re’ is the new EP from Amai Kuda et Les Bois, formally known as Amai Kuda and Y Josephine. It is the powerful follow-up to their full length release, AfroSoul Volume II: MaZai, which was hailed as "earthy and rootsy and good for your ears" by CBC's Errol Nazareth. The positive reviews are no surprise for those familiar with Amai Kuda’s debut album, Sand from the Sea, considered “one of the year's most exciting discoveries” in 2012 (Nicholas Jennings - Canada's foremost music journalist and historian). Amai Kuda et Les Bois have been featured in NOW magazine and on CBC’s Canada Live and Big City Small World, as well as performed at venues like the Jane Mallett Theatre, Harbourfront, The Rivoli, The Garrison, and festivals  such as Luminato, Kultrun, Big on Bloor and Small World Music Festival. They have given workshops on music, decolonization, African cultural knowledge and percussion at public schools, universities, libraries and community centres throughout Southern Ontario, in the Caribbean and Europe. In 2015 the band was selected as one of the ‘101 Standout Artists’ during the nationwide CBC Searchlight competition. They have opened for the likes of Joel Plaskett, Kellylee Evans and Sarah Slean, and collaborated with M1 of the legendary HipHop duo Dead Prez on a call-to-action song called “We Can Do It”.  Most recently the group won the Best Folk/Roots award and also placed 2nd for the Best Song across all categories at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. Whether on the street, the stage or in the studio, for Amai Kuda et Les Bois, music is about healing –the healing of the earth, our ancestors and ourselves. You can find their most recent work at, external link.

Hawa Y. Mire is a diasporic Somali storyteller, writer, and strategist with more than a decade of experience in high-impact community-based initiatives, as well as the co-editor of MAANDEEQ, external link, a collective of young Somali-demics from diverse fields who write about the Somali territories and the Somali diaspora. She holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University where her research was preoccupied with storytelling as a site of social-boundary making, and is currently completing her PhD in anthropology at Carleton University.

Yusra Khogali is a 26-year-old daughter of a Sudanese diaspora from Regent Park, Toronto. She is a black feminist multi-disciplinary educator, writer, performance artist, activist, public intellectual, MC and grassroots community organizer. She co-founded the Black Lives Matter Toronto movement that has shifted the current political landscape of Canada by actively working to dismantle all forms of anti-Black racism. Yusra also co-founded the Black Liberation Collective Canada, a Black student movement through its founding chapter at the University of Toronto which works to create infrastructure for Black students around the globe to build power, using an intersectional lens, to eliminate anti-Blackness on campus. Yusra has also performed for 1000+ organizations, universities, colleges, high schools,  festivals,  and events across the province as a spoken word artist, and has MC’d numerous events across the city for crowds as large as 10,000 plus people. She is a published author and has recently been in conversation with the legendary Dr. Angela Davis.  She currently competed her Master of Arts degree in social justice education at the University of Toronto OISE with a thesis research focus on Black diaspora, Black African, Anti-colonial, Trans*feminist Liberation thought.