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5 Black Canadians that are leading the change


Background in image by Goumbik from Pixabay

Black history is everyone's history. And it is happening now. From writer/director R.T. Thorne, to leader of the Green Party of Canada Annamie Paul, to president of the Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri — Black Canadians are making history today and every day.

How many of these contemporary agents of change do you know?

Annamie Paul

Annamie Paul holds a press conference in Ottawa.
New Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a press conference in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

In 2020, activist and lawyer Annamie Paul became the first Black person and Jewish woman to lead a major political party in Canada.

A descendant of immigrants from Dominican and St. Kitts and Nevis, who was born and raised in Toronto, Paul now leads the country’s Green Party.

Fun fact: Paul speaks four languages: English, French, Catalan and Spanish.

Cameron Davis

Cameron Davis poses for a picture on a dock on a lake.
Photo courtesy of Heather Greenwood Davis

Activist, YouTuber and teenager Cameron Davis shares videos on his social profiles about his experiences traveling throughout the world, cooking new recipes and dealing with racism as a Black person in Canada.

Davis advocates for change for youth in the York Region of Ontario through his organization BYRYOUTH.

Fun fact: Davis teaches his gaming fans how to improve their Minecraft skills.

Masai Ujiri

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri receives his 2019 NBA championship ring.
The Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri receives his 2019 NBA championship ring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

In 2013, Masai Ujiri joined the Toronto Raptors basketball team as general manager. Six years later, Ujiri led the Raptors to the NBA Championship, the first for Canada.

Ujiri is also the founder of Giants of Africa, an organization that promotes basketball to improve the lives of youths in Africa.

Fun fact: Ujiri was raised in Nigeria.

R.T. Thorne

R.T. Thorne behind the camera.
R.T Thorne behind the scenes of Utopia Falls, a new CBC Gem original series. (CBC)

Randall Thorne, who goes by R.T., spent years directing award-winning music videos before becoming the writer, director, producer and creator of Utopia Falls, the first hip-hop sci-fi show.

In 2020, R.T. was named the first chair of the BIPOC members committee for Directors Guild of Canada, advocating for Canadian directors who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of colour.

Fun fact: Growing up, Thorne wanted to be a comic book creator.

Sedina Fiati

Headshot of Sedina Fiati.
Photo credit by Robert Obumselu

Born and raised in Toronto, queer Black activist Sedina Fiati produces, directs and performs in plays, web series, films and television shows.

In addition to appearing on a screen near you, Sedina also advocates for equity, diversity and inclusion for marginalized peoples in the arts.

Fun fact: This multi-talented creator’s family comes from Trinidad and Ghana.