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Extraordinary Lives Start With a Great Catholic Education

DPCDSB hosts its 15th Annual Black History Month Student Symposium




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​Posted on: 2/5/19 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic schools will host many engaging events and activities to celebrate Black History Month, including the Black Futures Symposium, a board-wide Black History student conference on February 21 for secondary school students. This event will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus.

Now in its fifteenth year, the symposium will emphasize how the experiences within the black community relate to all cultures and can help inform and evolve our concepts of equity while moving our society forward towards breaking systemic barriers for all. The theme for the symposium is "Human Dignity, Human Rights: Living as Joyful Disciples", which is inspired by the Catholic Education Week theme for 2019, "Living as Joyful Disciples".

More than 350 students are expected to attend the event, which will include a keynote address by Father Tony Ricard from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, a panel discussion on race, black identity and black consciousness, followed by a series of workshops.

"When most of us think about Black History Month, we focus on historical events. But Black History Month gives all Canadians the opportunity to learn not only about the rich History, but the many contributions black Canadians have made, and continue to make," said Michelle Coutinho, DPCDSB Principal of Equity and Inclusive Education. "This year, the ten-dollar Viola Desmond bill was released. She is honoured because she stood up against injustice, and in doing so, inspired change. Our hope is that, through the symposium, our own students will understand that they, too, can effect change and work against the injustices that still exist."

Symposium presenters include:

  • Father Tony Ricard, Archdiocese of New Orleans
  • Hugh Lawson, Director of Business Development for Staples
  • Ohenewa Akuffo, Olympian, World Medalist, Wrestler, Entrepreneur
  • Lydia-Joi Marshall, Vice President of the Black Health Alliance
  • Anthony Morgan, Community Development Officer for the City of Toronto's Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit
  • Jesse Jones, Founder and President of TEN81 Lifestyle Inc.
  • Rania El Mugammar, Artist, Educator and Writer
  • Ekow Nimako, Artist
  • Dr. Solange Ngambia, Physician – Family Medicine
  • Afua Anku, Human Rights Advocate
  • Valerie Williams, Motivational Speaker and Parenting Coach
  • Angella Mignon, Mechanical Engineer and Adeola Olubamiji, Biomedical Engineer
  • Dr. Cheryl Thompson, University Professor and Writer
  • Matthew "Testament" Jones, Spoken Word Artist​

​WHAT:   Black Futures Symposium: Human Dignity, Human Rights: Living as Joyful Disciples

WHEN:   Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 9:15 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

WHERE:   University of Toronto Mississauga – Instructional Centre (UTM), 599 Outer Circle, Mississauga, Instructional Building #334 – Lecture Hall #110

In addition to the symposium, schools will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of events, speakers and in-class activities.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board is one of the largest and most diverse school boards in Ontario. It serves over 81,000 students in 151 schools located throughout Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon and Orangeville. With over 11,000 employees, DPCDSB is also one of the largest employers in the region. For more information about DPCDSB, visit

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