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Home » Rising Up: Race, Power, and Movement Building w/ Parents

Rising Up: Race, Power, and Movement Building w/ Parents

Presenter: Diana Grimaldos & Amanual Melles

Workshop Description

Parent involvement generally implies schools leading, while engagement involves building a partnership, an intentional and collaborative effort where parents can be seen as assets. This workshop will examine the ways in which building with parents goes beyond traditional parent involvement. Our conversation will explore race, racism, power, leadership and barriers to parent/caregiver engagement. The session will present findings of the research: Lies, Denials and Cover-ups; a study that uncover parents’ stories of pain and suffering to transformative leadership. Follow by a panel discussion with parents leading movements of change and their experiences of contributing to an anti-racist parent and community activism in Ontario. In recovery and post-pandemic, the challenges that face racialized students will require active parental support and involvement.


Diana Grimaldos
Parent Engagement Lead - Parent Ambassador Project - Working Women Community Centre

Diana Grimaldos is a driven community leader, researcher and a human rights advocate with over 20 years experience in community engagement. She brings an anti-racist approach to education, she is committed to sharing her own experiences as a racialized immigrant and parent navigating the education system. She currently leads the Parent Ambassador program at the Working Women Community Centre, a training designed for parents and caregivers to deepen their understanding of school governance, equity and social and racial justice.

She has co-designed equity knowledge webinars; convening scholars, school administrators, parents and community leaders to explore conversations about race, racism, power, leadership, advocacy and barriers to parent/caregiver engagement in Ontario schools. Follow Diana on Twitter at @grdianak.

Diana is a founding member of the Coalition for Alternatives to Streaming to Education (CASE), where she provides key leadership support to advance their mandate and to inform policy with community-based research, in addition, to support school boards in Ontario with knowledge mobilization to eliminate academic streaming in all grades and to promote an inclusive education system in Ontario that welcomes all students.

Amanuel Melles
Executive Director of the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Principal of Aman Consulting

Amanuel Melles brings more than 27 years of management and senior management experience in various sub-sectors of the non-profit sector: settlement and immigration, community health, social services and community development, and funding & sector capacity.  Aman was on the Senior Management Team at United Way Toronto and the Director of Programs & Capacity Building where he led the development of the Organizational Capacity Building Unit and was responsible for leading the introduction of several innovative and creative leadership, capacity building, evaluation and granting programs aimed at building various capacities of non-profit agencies and communities in Toronto. Prior to his role at United Way Toronto, Aman held various roles at OCASI, Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre and Family Service Toronto. 

Over the years, Aman has contributed to the vibrancy of the non-profit sector and communities as a Board member, executive officer and civic leader: Distress Centres Toronto, Social Planning Toronto, Ontario Council for International Cooperation , Inclusive Cities Canada’s Toronto Civic Panel, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, African Canadian Social Development Council, In 2018, Aman was appointed, for a two-year term, by Toronto’s Mayor to sit on the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit’s, City of Toronto, Partnership and Accountability Circle. He’s currently the President of InterChange Community-Based Peacebuilding International Institute, sits on the Boards of the Centre for Social Innovation Institute and chairs the Board of Institute of Change Leaders. Aman is an alumnus of the Maytree Foundation Leaders for Change and the Maytree-York University Management programs. He is the recipient of the Jane Jacobs Prize, the New Pioneers Award and the African Community Leadership Award.