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Cultivating Black Joy: Critical Literacy Through Student Voice

Cultivating Black Joy: Critical Literacy Through Student Voice

By Paul Junor

It will be an empowering and elevating Summer 2023 as the Nubian Book Club (NBC) celebrates its 16th anniversary. It is one of the highlights of the summer as students and staff from school boards in the Greater Toronto Area as well as Ottawa celebrate the power of literacy to energize minds, empower souls, encourage hearts and elevate spirits.

In addition: parents, community individuals, and educational stakeholders have been a vital part of each summer session. These summer sessions will continue the tradition of uplifting and building community through literacy. The NBC is a network of students, parents and community members who are engaged in the academic and social well-being of students. Furthermore, it uses literacy as a tool for advancing student success, leadership skills, and community engagement among youth, particularly those of African-Canadian heritage.

The four stated goals of the Nubian Book Club are:

  • Motivate students by getting them to engage in what is most important to them
  • Promote social literacies such as networking, authentic engagement and discussions around high-interest and non-fiction texts
  • Stimulate discussions, speakers and participants make connections to different texts and share various experiences
  • Expose students to people they may not otherwise meet and reinforces the value of reading and gaining knowledge and experience. They learn that literacy is something that enriches and creates community

Prior to the pandemic the summer sessions were held at Donna Cardoza’s home in York Region. The theme for 2023 will be “Cultivating Black Joy: Critical Literacy Through Student Voice.” The promotional material for the NBC 2023 mentions that the sessions will delve into the power of cultivating Black Joy and centering student’s voice. Together they will explore literature, engage in critical discussions and uplift the narratives that celebrate Black excellence. They want to create a space where our youth and community can: heal, grow and thrive. Black Joy is an excellent focus to highlight its vital power.

The dates and themes of each session are:

Session 1: Thursday, July 6th (Virtual): Understanding Black Joy

Guest speaker, Ginelle Skerritt, Chief Executive Officer, York Region Children’s Aid Society

Session 2: Thursday, July 6th (Virtual): Cultivating Black Joy

Guest speaker, Dr. Andrew Campbell (Dr.ABC), Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in Leadership for Racial Justice in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the University of Toronto-Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Session 3: Thursday, August 20th (In-person): Embodying Black Joy

The list of facilitators for Nubian Book Club 2023 includes the following:

  • Camille Logan – Associate Director of School Engagement & Equity at PDSB
  • Vidya Shah – Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University
  • Clayton La Touche – Assistant Deputy Minister, Student Support and Field Services
  • Cecil Roach – Associate Director of Education, Equitable Outcomes and Schools at York Region District School Board (YRDSB)
  • Jeewan Chanicka – Director of Education at Waterloo Region District School Board
  • Alison Gaymes – Superintendent at Toronto District School Board
  • Ramon San Vicente – Principal of Dixon Grove Junior Middle School in the TDSB
  • Prince Duah – Superintendent of Instruction for Central Schools with the OCDSB
  • Carl James – Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora
  • Deanna Heron – Principal in York Region District School Board (YRDSB)
  • Phiona Lloyd-Henry – Coordinating Principal for System Transformation & Capacity Building
  • Pierrette Walker – Educator at YRDSB and Performance Plus Teacher
  • Bethel Soressa -Technical blogger at bethel soressa
  • Jacqueline Lawrence – Diversity and Equity Coordinator at Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)
  • Mubarek Baker – Middle School Success Counsellor with Toronto District School Board

Everyone is welcome to attend the NBC. Visitor can make registrations: For more information contact Donna Cordoza:(647)-403-5821

Article originally published via Toronto Caribbean on July 12, 2023.