Photo: Dylan Freeman-Grist

Annual Nelson Mandela lecture held as part of social justice week

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By John James Stranz

On Nov. 2, 2016, the third day of Ryerson’s social justice week, the Nelson Mandela annual lecture took place, titled “A New World is Possible: A Conversation on Anti-Black Racism.” 

Ryerson’s Dr. Denise O’Neil Green moderated the event, and introduced the distinguished Dionne Brand> Brand is a renowned poet, novelist and essayist with many published books, anthologies and several documentaries. Dionne Brand took the stage and sincerely thanked and honoured Winnie Ng, who has been fighting for human rights most of her life, and has played a crucial role in an abundance of social justice movements throughout Toronto.

Dionne Brand proceeded to thank Black Lives Matter Toronto, and read an poetry homage for her support for the new generation of activists.

“Tenderest self, and our most badass self too. To remember that love when you are attacked and when you are beleaguered. This continuing fight is one that is needed. Out of self love, admiration of our history. Out of the need to save our lives,” Brand said.

Brand ending by reminding the group that this fight is of the utmost importance for the future because it is “the struggle for possible new worlds.”

Her words resonated with the room of individuals, many of whom where involved with various forms of activism. Sandy Hudson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto and an award winning community organizers was the last speaker of the lecture. She addressed the difficulties the Black body is going through and that lay ahead, but acknowledged all the support they had in each other, and that the time we live in is unlike any other. Hudson reminder the crowd that they were “in the midst of a new global Black renaissance, and its magic.”

Following the lecture Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Rodney Diverlus performed an interpretive dance for the audience.

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