We are two months into the new calendar year of 2021, and we are gearing up for the Black Daddies Club, Sunday Dinners online gathering for Black men series, which takes place Sunday, February 21st, 2021 from 5pm to 7:30pm.
There have been a few instances over the new year that I have missed having a space to connect with other Black men to talk about some of the things that have been impactful and I know I am not alone in this sentiment.
You can register for this free event on Eventbrite.
What: Sunday Dinners, monthly online gatherings for Black men Where: Zoom platform When: Sunday, February 21st, 2021 from 5pm to 7:30pm Actions: If you are a Black man register on Eventbrite, if you are not a Black man, please share with those that maybe interested Cost: Free
Eight years ago (2013), The Black Daddies Club partnered with Dr. Carl James (York University), Dr. Lance McCready (University of Toronto, OISE) and the City of Toronto do a research project called Gathering our voices (report can be found on the report tab on the Black Daddies Club website). In our conversations around marketing and promotion for the research project, in where we wanted to capture the voices from Black fathers in the Greater Toronto Area. We landed on the idea of creating a series of video montages in where we would speak with various Black fathers in Toronto about some issues that we wanted to talk about in the research project and hear what they would have to say. The result was three videos that was created and edited with Toronto photographer Steve Carty.
The videos are still relevant 8 years later, and the issues that Black men were navigating in 2013 are still issues a lot of Black men are still navigating in 2021. The fact that we are navigating a pandemic with Covid-19 and we are not able to gather in our usual spaces and be able to speak freely with other Black men (i.e. barbershops), we have to think of innovative ways of creating spaces where Black men have the freedom to speak authentically and most importantly a space where Black men can resonate and even see themselves in the words that are said by other Black men.
One of the outcome from the research project, was that Black men in Toronto repeatedly said they wanted more spaces to connect with other Black men, for them to talk about various issues that they are navigating amidst other Black men and also to share their experiences as Black men and listen to other Black men’s experiences that mimics their own or that they can learn from. The Black Daddies Club has continued co-creating various spaces for Black men and the Black communities as a result of the recommendation from the “Gathering Our Voices Research, 2013”. The newest Black Daddies Club initiative Sunday Dinner, is creating this virtual space for Black men (Straight, Gay, Trans, Bi-sexual and Non-binary).
The Black Daddies Club co-presents Sunday Dinners, are monthly online discussions for Black men that takes place on the Zoom platform, these conversations takes place on the last Sunday of each month. The next Sunday Dinner will take place Sunday, February 21st, 5pm to 7:30pm. You can register for this free event on EventBrite
York University Alumni, Brandon Hay was featured in York University’s Alumni newsletter which came out in February 2021. Here is an excerpt from the article.
“I think barber shops have been these traditional spaces for Black men to talk and to get therapy, and it’s good for Black men to talk – but your barber is not a trained therapist. And we were suffering in silence. I think the struggle is definitely ongoing, but BDC has been an immense change in the way I parent. My children are definitely informed. Over the 14 years there have been a lot of changes within the community, but also a lot of changes within me. The saying really is right – it takes a village.”
Going to visit a therapist has been a bit of taboo for myself and for other Black men, or atleast amongst the Black men I grew up around. The idea of unmasking in front of a stranger and sharing all your deep secrets, seemed terrifying to me. This changed four years ago, once I began going through a separation from my 16 year marriage and found that I needed to find a space that I could speak honestly about what pain and shame I was navigating.
After deciding that I was going to visit a therapist, then came the issue of finding the right therapist for me, as I wanted to find someone who l would feel comfortable with, and someone who looked like myself, a Black man. I went to see a few different therapists, until I came across Gestalt Therapy. Even though non of my therapist has been a Black man, i have found spaces where I can share more than i can in the “regular world”, it has also made me go on the journey of becoming a Gestalt therapist myself, as I have been attending the Gestalt Institute of Toronto for the past 2 years apart of their 5 year program.
The work Black Daddies Club has been doing for 14 years has been focusing on creating safe spaces for Black men and Black folks to speak unapologetically about their Blackness and their perceived positionality in the world that we live in.
Take a listen as I speak to Talia Singer, PhD RN RP (She/Her) Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, and Podcast Host for WhateverWorks about my journey to become a Gestalt Therapist, listen to this episode on Spotify.