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How to be an Ally: Anti-Blackness at the Intersections, Rania El Mugammar and Social Innovation Institute

Toronto, Ontario
November 23, 2017

5:30 to 9:00 p.m (EST)

This event explores the experiences of diverse Black Canadians at the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, faith, ability, class and beyond. Panelists will reflect on anti-Black racism in a Canadian context, connecting interpersonal and institutional experiences. The panel will explore approaches to addressing anti-Black racism, including allyship and community based interventions.


  • Huda Hassan is a writer based in Toronto and Montreal. Exploring race, gender, and black diasporas, her work has appeared in The National Post, CBC, NOW Magazine, BuzzFeed, The Fader, Gawker, and more. As a public speaker, Huda has conducted lectures, workshops and keynote speeches in various spaces (such as Toronto International Film Festival, McGill University, York University, Women’s Health Centre, University of Toronto, and more). She has appeared on CBC's Metro Morning, CBC's The Current, and CTV News as a cultural commentator. Huda is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto. Her research areas of interest include black studies, cultural studies, transnational feminism, media theory, and post-colonialism.
  • Ian Kamau is an artist, writer, and designer raised in the Esplanade neighbourhood of Toronto to pioneering filmmaker parents Claire Prieto and Roger McTair. He has released many music projects including the Love & Other Struggles Mixtape and the 2011 album One Day Soon. He has toured extensively in North and South America, Europe and six countries on the African continent. He is the co-founder of Nia Centre for the Arts and served for many years on the board of the Manifesto Festival. He was recently selected by Dionne Brand to be published in the Unpublished City Anthology, has contributed to Subdivided edited by John Lorinc and Jay Pitter, and is a currently a writer in residence at The Theatre Centre in downtown Toronto developing a live arts piece called 'Loss.' Ian has an undergrad in fine arts and design and a masters in Environmental Studies from York University and is currently working on a second masters at OCAD in Strategic Foresight and Innovation where his focuses are actualization, critical city building, and storytelling.
  • Just John—real name John Samuels is a Toronto Rapper-and formerly the Owner of Blank Canvas Gallery, a popular downtown spot known for showcasing the creations of marginalized and low-income artists and musicians at a Professional level. John juggles cool with his experiences as a black youth dealing first hand with Police Brutality and rapid gentrifying neighbourhoods. With a new music E.P on the way and plans of curating around the city and abroad, John is gearing up for a new chapter where he can share his story and hold space no matter where his vibe takes him. His curated exhibits and events like Dead Poet, The Alley, and some of his latest art shows with Toronto's best  (Oluseye, Fucci, Maria HateCopy, Dahae Song, Benny Bing, Jordan Sook). John has been instrumental to contributing to Toronto's scene. Look out for his upcoming programming and his forthcoming EP. @justjohnforreal
  • Kim Ninkuru is a multimedia artist from Bujumbura, in Burundi, currently residing in Toronto. She uses performance art, digital art, spoken word and movement to create pieces that give her the chance to explore and express rage, love, desire, beauty, or pain in relation to her own body and mind. Her work heavily questions our preconceived notions of gender and sexuality and is grounded in the firm belief that blackness is past, present and future at any given moment. She started creating performance pieces in 2014 and in late 2015, began to experiment with digital art. Since then, her work has been exhibited in art galleries around Toronto and she has performed on many stages in both Montreal and Toronto. She is dedicated to creating spaces where trans and gender non conforming people of color can thrive, and to the liberation of black women, especially black trans women, around the world.
  • Rania El Mugammar is a Sudanese Canadian Artist, Arts Educator, Equity and Anti-oppression Educator & Consultant, performer, speaker and published writer. Her work interrogates notions of home, belonging, womxnhood, blackness, migration/exile as they intersect with the identities and places she identities with. Rania is an advocate for womxn's rights, racial justice/black liberation and youth. Social justice anchors Rania's work as she is deeply committed to anti-oppressive practices and inclusion. She is the current co-chair of the Outburst Advisory Committee at the Barbara Schlifer Clinic, former curator of D’bi Young’s Watah School “Art(is)t Shaman” Series and a member of the Kandake Performance Collective. Rania is deeply passionate about gender/race justice and organizing locally and globally. She is the editor of SpeakSudan’s youth arts magazine and a contributor to a variety of blogs and publications.


  • Elisa Smith is the Manger of Stakeholder Engagement at the Centre for Social Innovation, a co-working space, community and launchpad for people who are changing the world with four locations in Toronto, one in NYC, and 1,000 member organizations. With a focus on corporate partnerships, investor relations and the development of the charitable 'Toronto For Everyone' fund, Elisa works to strengthen CSI's existing relationships and unearth new partnership opportunities to further CSI's mission on inclusion & diversity. Elisa has over 10 years of private sector and non-profit experience where she has served as an equity champion on various advisory committees and consulted on community projects to raise awareness around social issues affecting marginalized groups, visible minorities and LGBT+ communities. In addition to her work at CSI, Elisa is a member of Akin Collective, a Toronto-based arts organization, and is the Founder of elisa+COMPANY, a design and consulting firm specializing in consumer goods and services.

Register online at


To make it as financially accessible, the Social Innovation Institute is covering the cost of this panel discussion. To support future workshops and create access for more people to attend, you can donate while registering and the raised amount will be used to continue these conversations! You can receive a tax receipt for donations above $20. For other accomodations required to attend the workshop (i.e., tokens, child minding, etc), please email Shilbee ( We’re constantly learning and exploring different ways to live up to our value of creating healthy cultures and we’re always open to feedback.

Will there be more “How to be an Ally” events? To get on the mailing list for How to be an Ally series and provide feedback on topics, submit your contact information by clicking here:

Have questions about How to be an Ally: Anti-Blackness at the Intersections? Contact Rania El Mugammar & the Centre for Social Innovation at (via Contact the Organizer, right hand panel).