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January-February 2021

Portraits of Black excellence

Simone Elizabeth Saunders uses a traditional technique to make contemporary masterpieces

Christelle Saint-Julien

Simone Elizabeth Saunders’ work is remarkable. She uses tufting—a traditional rug-making technique—to bring fabric to life by mixing fibres, colour, and portraiture. The Calgary-based artist creates scaled-up artwork averaging 70 inches squared, equipped with what is called a tufting gun, which is an automatic hand-held device. “It is such a beautiful process to have this […] More »
January-February 2021

I can’t say her name

On Black mental health during the pandemic

Venus Noirre

Breonna Taylor. I’m tired of hearing her name, I’m tired of seeing her face everywhere. It seems like 2020 has been the year for everything and everyone to break down. The complete isolation that so many of us have been forced into has destroyed any semblance of the old selves that were left. With numerous […] More »
January-February 2021

Reality bites

Edmonton podcast investigates anti-Black racism and policing

Sofia Osborne

When George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered by police in the United States, sparking protests across the world, Avnish Nanda, an Edmonton lawyer, approached Bashir Mohamed and Oumar Salifou with an idea for a podcast investigating anti-Black racism and policing in Edmonton. Within a week of launching in June, Is This For Real? had […] More »
November-December 2020

We have done enough

Reflections on creative practice and its role within movements for Black life

Jessica P. Kirk

The energy that fills the room at a book launch surrounded by community is a feeling like no other. Walking into a reconfigured venue with familiar faces, soulful melodies, and warm hugs is one of those experiences I’m grateful to have been a part of before everything changed amid the pandemic. These are the kind […] More »
November-December 2020

We want abolition in our lifetime

Activists are demanding an end to prisons and police

Syrus Marcus Ware

We are living in revolutionary times. The ground is shifting beneath us every day. We are seeing a radical shift in our collective consciousness about ideas pertaining to abolition and defunding the police. We are beginning to awaken to the idea that we can solve issues of conflict, crisis, and harm in ways that do […] More »
November-December 2020

What’s in a name?

On names, naming, and name-calling

Minelle Mahtani

“Give your daughters difficult names. Names that command the full use of the tongue. My name makes you want to tell me the truth. My name does not allow me to trust anyone who cannot pronounce it right.”       — Warsan Shire   “Mama, why do you always give out Dada’s name at […] More »
November-December 2020

A Black queer feminist press is born

Introducing Hush Harbour

Christelle Saint-Julien

Alannah Johnson and Whitney French know the world needs more Black literature. That’s why the Toronto-based writers have launched Hush Harbour, a literary press dedicated to imagining Black feminisms and uplifting works of short fiction. “There are so many Black writers and storytellers to uphold and affirm,” says French. “Among the many nuanced stories within […] More »
November-December 2020

Feeding Black and Indigenous families

New volunteer-based project tackles food insecurity during the pandemic

Christine Jean-Baptiste

  Sequestered in each of their own homes, neighbours Antonia Lawrence and Emily Carson didn’t have family around when COVID-19 hit. All they had was the group chat shared between their friendly neighbours. Often, involving inquiries for grocery trips, wanting to share food items, and recipes between each other—a system built on the sentiment that […] More »
September-October 2020

The code to success

Black boys to get involved in STEM

Kevin Philipupillai

Bryan Johnson, CEO and Founder of Black Boys Code · photo by Sean Anthony Photography   As the Black Lives Matter movement spread across different industries this year, 5,874 scientists around the world signed an online pledge in support of #ShutDownSTEM. The one-day strike in June was a call to action against anti-Black racism in […] More »
September-October 2020

A certain swanness

On Korean adoption and beauty

Jenny Heijun Wills

A quarter million Korean adoptees live (or have lived) around the world. Aren’t our black eyes so cute when they get pushed up by our cheeks as we smile for the photo displayed at the office? Don’t we garner the most likes and applause on those mommy blogs when we’re sent to show-and-tell in a […] More »
September-October 2020

Black art matters

Spotlight on Shaya Ishaq

Francesca Ekwuyasi

Shaya Ishaq’s work moves fluidly between mediums—words, ceramics, fibres, jewellery—while maintaining a central locus of honouring Black lineages and sparking light toward liberated Black futures. Tenacious and ever-evolving, Ishaq walked away from journalism school and signed up for a hand-building course at a pottery studio in her hometown of Ottawa. “I really fell in love […] More »