By Lidia Abraha
The co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) was on a panel discussion Wednesday night, about political education for Black students. Students had the opportunity to talk to Pascale Diverlus, a former Ryerson grad, on the challenges of navigating the university’s campus as a Black student.
The event is called Political Education 101 and it’s one of the many events happening this week for Black Frosh. Black Frosh offers Black students an alternative week of welcome that’s inclusive and relevant to them.
Kardeosha Provo is a first-year biology student from Nova Scotia. She spoke about how hard it was to come to campus and not find a Black community that was visible to her. Diverlus responded by saying that going to events like Political Education 101 is one way to start building a community on campus.
“These were conversations that were never really meant to happen, but that’s what resistance looks like, that’s what political education looks like,” said Diverlus.
The panel took questions from the audience, and many Black students had the opportunity to ask about how they could find their community on campus and how to maintain politically aware at Ryerson.
Diverlus spoke about how a photo of her brother, who is also a Ryerson grad and co-founder of BLMTO, was posted outside the walls of Jorgenson Hall. It was ironic because his photo was used to highlight Ryerson’s diversity, even though he had multiple experiences with inequity at the university.
“Ryerson was so quick to take his picture of a hip-Black man [and] make Ryerson seem so encouraging,” said Diverlus. “[Black Liberation Collective] and Black people on this campus still have to fight for actual support and help on campus.”
Other topics that were explored during the talk were ways students can connect themselves to the broader community in the GTA, educating themselves outside of the classroom, and how to keep the resistance alive on campus.
The BLC is hosting more events this week like the Black and Indigenous Solidarity Cafe Thursday, and an open mic on Friday.