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.
Toronto artist recently released a very important poetic piece about what is deemed essential and non essential work. Ian has been creating great music in Toronto for decades and this video is a good reason to pause and thank Ian for his thought provoking work.
Ian is not a Black father himself, however has mentored thousands of artists over his career, and he is the son of Roger McTair who is one of Canada’s pioneering Black documentary filmmakers and author. Ian, the Black Daddies Club is hailing you up and giving gratitude for the work that you have done, and the even the work that goes unrecognized, we see you and love brother.
You can find Ian Kamau’s music on Spotify, YouTube, I-Tunes and other platforms.
As the founder of the Black Daddies Club, I first got introduced to the Ecoversities Alliance in 2015, when I connected with them at Tamera in Portugal, and the idea of Un-conferences and un-learning really spoke to me. Most importantly, the idea of re-imagining education really resonated to me as a community activist here in Toronto, where community based education approach is something that Black Daddies Club has been doing since our inception in 2007. Meeting folks from all around the world and finding out more about how we differ but more importantly what do we have in common, made me think about the opportunity to network with like minded folks and to grow the work that I wanted to do, ever since then I have been apart of the network.
Fast forward to 2021, and I am on the planning committee for the first North American Turtle Island Ecoversities Gathering taking place on January 22nd to 24th 2021, which is taking place virtually due to Covid-19. You can see the schedule here and register for the free gathering by filling out the short form. For folks who are interested in hosting a session over the weekend, you can do so by filling out this form.
Also a part of this weekend’s gathering will be the Black Daddies Club co-presentation of Sunday Dinners virtual discussions (The Black Liberation edition), the online forum will focus on Blackness, Gender and Race. This special session will be open to the general public and not only to Black men, which the Sunday Dinner online gatherings are usually known for. This special edition of Sunday Dinner is a collaboration with Michael Roberson Maison-Margiela (New York) and Twysted Miyake- Mugler (Toronto). In 2016, Black Daddies Club partnered with Michael and Twysted to co-produced the Journey to Black Liberation Symposium and the Black Liberation Ball, which was held at the Harborfront Center in Toronto. In 2021 we will be collaborating with quarterly online conversations a part of the Sunday Dinner conversations, these conversations will look at various entry points into the Black communities, to register for the Sunday Dinner taking place Sunday, January 24th 2021 from 5pm to 6:30pm, you can register at this link.
Join us Tuesday, January 26 at 5:30pm! Anthony Gebrehiwot will be in conversation with Brandon Hay and Randell Adjei to discuss Gebrehiwot’s ‘From Boys to Men: The Road to Healing’, currently installed in the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Instructional Center Vitrines.
‘From Boys to Men: The Road to Healing’ challenges how masculinity can fit into today’s society by focusing on the act of care. This series is a continuation of Gebrehiwot’s ‘From Boys To Men’, presented in Scarborough’s 2019 Nuit Blanche. This exhibition features portraits of artists from RISE (Reaching Intelligent Souls Elsewhere), a Scarborough-based, youth-led, movement that provides opportunities and spaces for youth to develop artistically, professionally, and spiritually.
The Black Daddies Club has collaborated with Michael Roberson Maison-Margiela (New York) and Twysted Miyake- Mugler (Toronto) to put on a special edition Sunday Dinner- Virtual Gathering , which will be taking place on Sunday January 24th 2021 from 5pm (est) to 6:30pm (est). This special virtual conversation will apart of the Ecoversities Alliance North American online Gathering which takes place from Friday, January 22nd 2021 to Sunday January 24th 2021. This special gathering is open to the general public, this event will be a free event.
First… Thank you for all your inspiring work in the world. We honor and welcome your commitment, your diverse dreams, your gifts, your struggles and your experiments.
We invite you to gather this January (22nd – 24th) as part of a growing community of learning practitioners from around the world committed to re-imagining higher education. This gathering will be specific to those in Turtle Island/North America, to connect around the unique social, political, and educational ecosystems present here and now. We see these as charged times, with much at stake. This gathering is a place for deep, Earth-based togethering, so while we will use screens, we will also use our feet and hands and roots to learn.
The theme we are centering around is HOPE. Arms open. Fists raised. Hearts ablaze. Breathing together we will find our inner orientation that allows us to more wholly embody the hope we each hold.
Together, anchored by our individual and collective hopes, we will hold questions such as:
How do we practice a politics of care and pedagogy of hope in these times of multiple crises?
How can we learn with/from the multiple knowledges that are found in Turtle Island?
How can we create the kinds of relationships that can hold us as we address the racial, ecological, patriarchal, capitalistic violences of white supremacy and settler colonialism?
What could accountability, reparations, and healing look like in our learning communities?
How can we collectively build learning communities rather than education systems to meet the challenges of the time and to nurture future generations?
How can we be queering education? What can the LGBTQ community teach us about learning?
What kinds of healing practices can be used to support us through times of crisis?
How can we re-build and re-connect our relationships to the places we dwell?
We strive to cultivate human and ecological flourishing in response to the multitude of urgent and critical challenges of our times. Since 2015, the Ecoversities Alliance has hosted 4 international gatherings and regional networks have been active in Latin America, Indian sub-continent, Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Arab World.
We invite you to join us as a co-creator of the 1st Turtle Island Regional Gathering of this planetary alliance. We will be meeting for ~4 hours per day on Jan 22-24th, 2021. Our aim is to keep this first gathering focused on connecting, opening, and exploring how we desire to be a regional group.
Please complete this short form. We will then send more details as they become available.
Note: There is no monetary charge for this event, we recognize it is an investment of your time and energy. We are creating a solidarity fund that will be available to support certain folks’ participation and hope those who are able can donate gifts (money, skills, time, etc.).
The Ecoversities Alliance seeks to transform the unsustainable and unjust economic, political and social systems/mindsets that dominate the planet. We wish to do this by actively transforming the ways we learn, the tools we use to make sense of the world, and the ways we create and share knowledge.
– To support learners and communities around the world to reclaim their own processes of un/learning, knowledge co-creation and community building.
– Inspiring, nourishing, connecting and giving visibility to diverse ecoversities initiatives around the world.
– Building solidarities, collective inquiries, inter-cultural dialogue and new experiments in higher education.
– Nurturing an ecology of knowledges, radical pedagogies and learning commons to expand human consciousness and cultural and ecological regeneration.
We invite you to be part of our Community.
The Ecoversities Alliance is a trans-local learning community of over 100 transformative learning spaces from more than 40 countries around the world who have been meeting and working together since 2015 through international and regional gatherings, learning exchanges, campaigns, workshops, learning journeys, film festivals and publications.
I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Kahmaria Pingue RECE, B.A.(Psych), B.Ed, M.A.Ed, who works with Under the Acacia Tree, which is a program put on by the Somali Centre for Family Services in Ottawa a few weeks ago, and here is the interview for folks who are interested in taking it in.
This upcoming Sunday, December 27th, 2020 from 5pm to 7pm (eastern), marks the final Sunday Dinner virtual gathering for Black men of 2020. The last session which took place, had representation from Black men from Toronto, Baltimore, Chicago,and Bay Area (California) and the consensus that was reached was that this monthly space is necessary for Black men to attend.
The idea behind the monthly Sunday Dinner gatherings which takes place on the last Sunday of every month, is to create a space for Black men to connect and talk about things which are relevant to them.
We will be starting Sunday Dinner back in the new year with a special collaboration edition to start off the new year, more information will come in January 2021.
This time of year can be stressful for a lot of folks, with so much extra pressure being put on buying gifts and spending time with loved ones, however the pandemic has made this even a more trauma induced time, where economics and finances for folks have been impacted, and the ability to spend time with loved ones has also been impacted. The Black Daddies Club recognizes that Black men are going through it right now and a lot of us are suffering in silence, and we ask that we bring all of ourselves into the Sunday Dinner virtual gathering and take of our masks, and share what we are grateful for this year or share what has been challenging for us this year.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
Please have your video on
These conversations will be online, with that being said, we would like for folks to have their videos on, so that we are able to see who we are in dialogue with, this helps with the creation of trust amongst people on the call
We are asking that what happens on the call, stays on the call and that we do not speak about things that comes up during the call outside of these virtual gatherings
This is a gathering not a workshop
The Black Daddies Club intention with these dialogues is that we will be gathering and the dialogue will be co-created by the men who are in the conversation.
Be open minded
There is no set destination that we are going towards. In many ways these conversations will be an experiment, so please come with an open mind and see where the conversation takes us.
No homophobic or discrimination vibes
Black masculinity is not a monolith, all of our entry points are different and valuable. With that being said, these conversations are open to Black men who are straight, gay, trans, non-binary. So if you identify as a Black man, you are welcomed on the dialogue, we will not tolerate any language that seems to be homophobic.
No sexist language
Let us be mindful about how we speak to issues relating to black women and women in general. Not to generalize our experiences but speak specific to the experiences that we have with women and not paint the picture that all women are the same.
Break bread with us
The premise of these Sunday Dinners virtual dialogues is that we will be gathering over food and we will engage with each other throughout the process. So we are asking that we all have something to eat while we are engaged in the dialogue. I know our parents say that we should talk with our mouth full, but we will make an exception for these gatherings.
Please be on-time
We will be connecting from 5pm to 7pm, and I will be letting people into the zoom room at 4:50pm. Please be on for 5pm, so that we are able to get into the dialogue. If you are running late, please drop a line to me in advance to give a heads up.
How to register for the dialogue, if you are interested in attending, please send an email to email@example.com, and put “Registering for Sunday Dinner” in the subject line.