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Planning in Toronto: Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University is officially open for registration

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word love here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace–not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

-James Baldwin, The First Next Time


Greetings and Salutations,

We are super excited to announce that the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University is now open for registration, there has been a lot of love, hard work and collaboration in curating this course over the past 12 months. The Black Daddies Club has partnered with a series of critical thinkers, educators, artists, agencies, institutions and many others to co-create a curriculum that is relevant to the Black and African Canadian community in the Greater Toronto Area, this approach is not a traditional approach by academia standards, however this approach falls into the theory of an Un-Conference.

The purpose of the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University, as I recognize that in many graduate classes there are a handful of Black students, even less with Black men occupying the space, our goal with this course is making education more accessible to the Black community in Toronto and to reimagine the idea of who are the educators and who are the learners, and to also interrogate the idea of what should be considered as knowledge production?

Please find the syllabus for the fall 2017 Planning in Toronto workshop here –> Black Love Matters 2017 Un-conference Syllabus

The workshop is taught by Brandon Hay (Founder, Black Daddies Club) and Nigel Barriffe (President, Urban Alliance on Race Relations).  This is a dynamic course and sessions will take place at a variety of locations around the GTA.  The course also incorporates a strong current of community-participation.  Here is a short description of the course:

The Planning in Toronto workshop will focus on developing a symposium entitled “Blackness, Gender, Work, and Love” that will be the closing event of the year long initiative called Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference. This course investigates how urban planning is informed by and closely related to the overarching, infrastructural challenges faced by the African, Caribbean & Black Canadian community in the GTA. The workshop will provide insight into alternative, anti-racist planning strategies and projects that promote community development in the GTA. Students will learn about these strategies and projects, the methodologies around which they were designed and the various challenges that they aim to address. The course will also furnish students with an overview of anti-Black racism in Canada and how it intersects with other forms of discrimination. In addition, students will be introduced to the movements and organizations that seek to respond to the peculiar violence of Canadian-style, anti-Black racism. The students will be responsible of co-creating the Blackness, Gender, Work, and Love Symposium in December 2017; working with community members, community based organizations, government agencies, community based artists and activists to create a plenary apart of the symposium.

This course will be held at York University, in the Faculty of Environmental Studies; however, we will also be visiting various locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area throughout the term. This course is open to graduate students at York University of all race, genders and nationality; the course is also open to community members that identify as Black or African Canadians. For community members, the course is free.

For community members who are interested in applying for the course, you are required to submit an application for the course, answering the following question:

What does Black love mean to you? And why is it relevant in 2017?

Your options for your response

–       Writing an essay (500-1000 words)

–       Video Blog (five minutes- 10 minutes)

–       Podcast (five minutes- 10 minutes)

Deadline for community member’s submissions is September 1st, 2017 at 4pm.

For more information please email Nigel Barriffe, or Brandon Hay,




Brandon Hay, MES (Business)

Founder, Black Daddies Club


Upcoming Black Daddies Club Initiatives

I Hope your summer is going awesome, just want to send you all a quick update regarding some upcoming Black Daddies Club initiatives.

Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference Summer Series:

Family and Friends Summer Hikes

Apart of the Black Daddies Club 10th year anniversary initiative Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference, the 2nd installment of the Family and Friends Summer Hikes will be taking place this Sunday, July 23rd at 10am to 2pm at Glen Rouge Camping grounds located at 7450 Kingston Road. The conversation themes for this upcoming hike will be grandparents, elders, courage and confidence. CBC came out to cover our hike in June, you can read more about it here.

The final hike of the year will be Sunday, August 13th, 2017. This will conclude the summer series component of the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference

Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference Fall/ Autumn Series:

Planning in Toronto: Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University (September 2017 to December 2017)

This 12 week course is open to graduate students at York University of all race, genders and nationality, the course is also open to community members that identify as Black or African Canadians, for community members the course is free. If you are a community member and are interested applying for the course, please submit one of the following that answers the question: What does Black love mean to you and why is it relevant in 2017?

  • An essay (500 to 1000 words)
  • Video blog (5 to 10 minutes)
  • Podcast (5 to 10 minutes)
  • Deadline for community member submissions is Sept. 1st at 4 PM to

* Full course schedule will be a released on our website in a few weeks.

Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference & CaribbeanTales Film Festival (CTFF) (September 2017)

#BLACKLOVEMATTERS Short Film Challenge:

This challenge explores stories of black masculinity, fatherhood, and black love — romantic, familial, fraternal and otherwise. The deadline has been extended, for more info check CTFF website


This latest documentary of British-Barbadian film legend Menelik Shabaaz discusses what it means to look for love in contemporary society and the difficulties black men and women face in their search. Featuring spoken word artists, therapists, comedians, journalists and activists, alongside real and raw discussions among Black people (young and old), Looking for Love tries to dig to the heart of why love appears to be.  You can purchase tickets here.

This event will be also apart of the Planning In Toronto:  Black Love Matters 2017 course at York University

For more information visit

Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference

“We need [Black] communities that we can bring all parts of us to, and not just some parts of us.”

– Syrus Marcus Ware, Black Lives Matter Toronto, 2014


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Black Daddies Club (BDC). When I started BDC in November 2007, it came from a need in my lived experience as a Black father. Living in Malvern, in the east end of Toronto, I was constantly being told that there weren’t any resources or programming for Black fathers in my neighbourhood. I also recognized that the majority of media outlets in Canada, when speaking about Black fathers, spoke primarily of negative stereotypes, painting the spectrum of Black masculinities with broad strokes, and stigmatizing Black men as “deadbeat dads” who are irresponsible, criminal, dangerous, and un-human.

Over the past 10 years, there have been many beautiful people who have supported BDC in a multitude of ways, through sharing their narratives as Black parents in our research projects, or in various documentaries that BDC has co-created with folks in the Black community. We have forged meaningful partnerships that have created fortifying experiences for Black families and community members over the years.  Significant is the fact that BDC has never applied for government funding for any of the over one hundred activities produced over the last decade. We have worked with community partners, volunteers and community members to make this work happen. To all the volunteers that have put in their time, sweat, money and love…the folks at BDC wish to convey our profound gratitude.

I have learned a lot over the past 10 years, and I am still learning a lot about myself.  I earned a Master’s degree by taking my community work into academia and interrogating Black masculinities and Black love. I have made some really dope friendships along this beautiful journey. I have also found, while doing this community work, that it has been difficult to find communities and spaces where I am able to un-mask myself—to take off my armour and be vulnerable—which is such a necessary part of being able to sustain this work. I have gone through depression, and worked multiple odd jobs to sustain the community work that I am doing with BDC. I have been through burnout more times than I can count, and learned that this work requires self-care and self-love.

I have met some awesome people and heard many incredible stories. I have found myself feeling hopeful, as well as hopeless, doing this work. I feel hopeful because I have had the opportunity to witness social activism, in response to anti-Black racism, become more mainstream. Groups, such as Black Lives Matters Toronto (BLMTO), are furthering the Black liberation work in Toronto—work started by groups such as the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC). However, my feeling of hopelessness comes from speaking to elders who came to Canada in the 1970s, faced issues of erasure and oppression attending high school, and now have grandchildren facing similar issues in their school system in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It makes me wonder, is anti-Black racism declining or increasing, on a systematic and political level, in Canada?

For our 10-year anniversary, BDC is celebrating Black love, unapologetically declaring that 2017 is the time for Black folks to love ourselves completely, and more than ever before. As we look at Canadian statistics they show that Black communities are showing up in various Canadian research findings in the areas of criminal justice, unemployment, subsidized housing, children’s aid services, and many more.

In an era in Canada where we see police murder Black people and get no jail time; an era where we see that the intersection of mental illness and Blackness can be deadly; in an era where we see racialized and marginalized communities become erased in the name of revitalization and gentrification—from Africville to Regent Park; in an era that teaches Black children to grow up hating themselves or not seeing themselves as human beings. We, as the Black Canadian community, must push back and resist those racist ideologies. We must re-imagine our Black future here in Canada, while recognizing this is stolen land. It is important for us to do the work of collaborating with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, the original caretakers of this land.

Black Daddies Club will be celebrating our learnings of the past 10 years through the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference. This un-conference is a series of events building awareness about our distinct ways of engaging with each other, as Black people. We began in 2016 with Breaking Bread brunches, where we engaged with the Black community across the GTA to start shaping the conversations the community would like to engage in at the un-conference. After a year-long process of community consultations, requests were put forward that the following elements be a part of the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference:

  • build in an intergenerational focus
  • engage our community in different spaces across the GTA
  • frame food and the arts as part of the community-building process
  • position folks attending these spaces as co-teachers, as well as co-learners—giving
  • and receiving knowledge.

Some of BDC’s upcoming events in 2017 are:

  • A Jamaica Mi Come From (July 1 st , Canada Day)
  • Black Daddies Club Family and Friends Summer Hikes (June 25 th , July 23 rd , August 13 th )
  • Black Love Matters course, York University (co-facilitated with Nigel Barriffe and Urban Alliance on Race Relations, September to November)
  • Un-Masking Black Masculinities, Part Two (Fall, date TBC)
  • What can we learn about Black Resistance and Love from the Black LGBTQ Ballroom communities? (Fall, date TBC)
  • Dating While Black in Toronto (Fall, date TBC)
  • Gender, Blackness and Work Symposium, (Fall, date TBC)

We hope to see you at the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference

– Brandon Hay, MES (Founder of Black Daddies Club)

Black Family Matters

Apart of the Black Love Matters Un-conference, Black Daddies Club will be hosting a summer series called Black Family Matters, apart of these series will be our yearly summer hikes. The Black Daddies Club summer hikes will be a series of hikes that takes place one sunday a month for the Months of June (25th), July (23rd) and August (13th), 2017. The purpose of these hikes are for Black Families to gather at Glen Rouge conservation park (Scarborough/ Pickering border) Sunday morning’s starting at 10AM to 2pm, and spending the early part of the day, walking and discussing topics as a group. Some of the goals of the hikes is to create community at basic level, but on a deeper level, these hikes are about reconnecting with the land and having our children as well adults reconnect with what it means to learn from nature.

The process of the hikes, we gather at 10am at the base camp, near the parking lot. We then form a circle, and speak about the walking agreements of the hikes, such as walking in pairs, not littering, staying clear of poison ivy (staying on the trail), be safe. Each month there will be a topic posed at the beginning at the hikes, and people will speak about these topics during the hikes and at the end of the hike we will speak about the learnings from the hikes, both lessons from the conversations and nature.

People have to engage with three different people throughout the duration of these hikes, this promotes the idea of people speaking with new individuals and getting to know knew people.

What: Black Daddies Club annual Family and Friends Hike

Venue: 7450 Kingston Rd, Scarborough


  • Sunday June 25th, 2017/ 10am to 2pm

  • Sunday July 23rd, 2017/ 10am to 2pm

  • Sunday, August 13th, 2017 (last hike)/  10am to 2pm

Cost: Free, bring snacks and water for yourself and family

Dates and topics for the hikes:

  • Sunday June 25th, 2017

Here are some of the potential questions that we will take up on the hike this week:

    • ( what are three things you have done, or said to someone to show them that you appreciate them and what are three things someone have done or said to you that showed you that they appreciated you?)

    • ( What does love mean to you? What have you done today to take care of yourself?)

    • Grandparents did you treat your grandchildren differently than your own children?

    • How important are your parents in your life, how different do you think your life would be if your parents were not in it?

    • What part does your grand parent play in your life

    • Do you feel that they love or treat you differently than your parents

  • Sunday July 23rd, 2017

Here are some of the potential questions that we will take up on the hike this week: 

    • (Topic: Share an experience when you felt a lot of courage

      • Share a story of when u felt really confident and positive about yourself

  • Sunday, August 13th, 2017 (last hike)

Here are some of the potential questions that we will take up on the hike this week:

    • Topic: What kinds of things would you like to know about adulthood?”

    •  “what questions would you ask your younger self or a child/youth?”

These hikes are open to people of all genders, race and religious background, however the premise of these hikes are on the importance of the Black families, Black community at large gathering and claiming space to have dialogue together. With that being said, we also see the importance of other cultures being apart of these walks, so that there can be mutual learning and sharing in the process of these walks.

A Jamaica Mi Come From

Apart of the Black Daddies Club, Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference, we will be introducing “A Jamaica Mi Come From” jam series, the purpose of this event is to raise funds for Black Daddies Club, to ensure that we are able to continue to do community based initiatives.

A Jamaica Mi Come from is a cultural series celebrating the Jamaican diaspora through various disciplines in arts and culture. In July 2017, we will be having the first ever session of “A Jamaica Mi Come From”, where participants will be exposed to Reggae music  that comes from Jamaica. These musical selections will be spun by various DJ’s from Greater Toronto Area (GTA), these DJ’s will be exploring various eras of reggae, moving from Ska to Dancehall. The night will also feature Toronto based fashion designers who also have roots in Jamaica, and their designs capture the mix of what it means to be African-Jamaicans living in Canada.

The event will take place at Handlebar in kensington Market, located on Augusta, on Saturday, July 1st, 2017(Canada Day), from 9pm to 2am

Cost of this event is a sliding rate starting at $10

Secrets of A Black Boy & Black Daddies Club


We are super excited to announce that, Secrets of A Black Boy, Black Daddies Club and Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference workshop course at York University partners to bring this dope play and important panel discussion around The Politics of Gender and Blackness in the Greater Toronto Area. To Theatre Passe Murialle on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:30pm to 10:30pm.

This event is open to the public, you can purchase your tickets here PURCHASE TICKET INFO

Arts Box Office | 416.504.7529

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TAIBU Community Health Centre and Black Daddies Club

TAIBU Community Health Centre and Black Daddies Club is partnering to get the word out for the Black Men Health Challenge. This TAIBU led initiative is a great opportunity for Black men, fathers, grandparents, etc. to come out and network with each other but also get healthy together and building a stronger community in the process.

For more information please contact Estella
Tel: 416-644-3539 ext. 224


Piece Of Mind Festival and Black Daddies Club

Piece Of Mind Theatre has partnered with Black Daddies Club to offer tickets to their upcoming theatre festival. We will be giving away tickets to Black Daddies Club members and their children to see the play.


Venue: Palmerson Library from
Dates of festival: October 11-16th

For more information please visit their website at and on facebook  FB:

If you are interested, send an email to info@blackdaddiesclub for more information