TOPIC: BLACK CHANGEMAKERS QC

Missed our special Montreal Porter event? Watch it here!

On Monday, March 21 CBC Quebec and Union United Church presented an exclusive virtual event featuring some of the cast and creative team from the new CBC series.
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Working to support youth at home and abroad

For as long as she can remember, Frontier College's Mélanie Valcin has been passionate about improving communities by promoting literacy, encouraging educational advancement and empowering young people.
2022 Black Changemakers

This community paper connects and empowers Black Montrealers

"We have so many positive stories in our community that [are] not told," says Montreal Black community activist Gemma Raeburn-Baynes. The Contact, a biweekly newspaper and online resource, has been telling those stories for decades.
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She made a space for Black artists and businesses in Quebec

Keithy Antoine was driving her two children to daycare and thinking about her future, when an empty storefront caught her eye. That was six years ago. She's been building spaces in Montreal for Black businesses and artists ever since.
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Creating a safe space for survivors of sexual assault

Tarah Paul always knew she wanted to help Black women. But once she started working in centres for victims of sexual violence, she saw how overwhelmingly white many of those places were and the effect that had on the Black people seeking help.
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Melding art and marketing skills to amplify unheard voices

Navigating the confusing world of NFTs for his master's thesis, Steve Cheldy Assoé has noticed several cultural groups, including Black people, are underrepresented, and he's looking to change that.
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Away from the camera, this longtime journalist still shines

When Elysia Bryan-Baynes retired from her job as a Global News anchor two years ago, she expected to spend her time travelling and catching up with loved ones. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and the police murder of George Floyd. Bryan-Baynes decided she couldn't sit on the sidelines.
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This community and health-care worker helps youth find their passions

Stephen Hennessy grew up with his mother telling him that wherever you are, you should be making a positive impact on those around you. And if that space is too negative, consider leaving it. He now spends much of his time working with young people, passing on that same message and helping them get through difficult times.
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She spends her birthdays handing out gifts of care packages to those in need

Everything Joanna Kanga does is about 'shifting the narrative,' helping Montrealers see past financial and cultural barriers to recognize themselves in others.
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Creating a space for Black comedy in Quebec

The Bad Boys du Rire comedy club was founded by Renzel Dashington in 2017 for one purpose — to create a space for Black comics and other comedians of colour to offer comedy that reflects modern Montreal.
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This hiker is making nature a natural place for everyone to be

After noticing how few Black people she encountered on walking trails, Jamillah Jean founded Hike MTL, a community group that aims to get Black Montrealers and other people of colour to feel comfortable out in nature.
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Gospel choir director says making music 'soothes the heart'

Kimble Sherwood has been leading choirs in Montreal for decades — performing with everyone from Patti Labelle to the Neville Brothers, and for governors general and even Nelson Mandela.
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As a teen, Montreal's Black community saved her — now, she's paying it back

Jade Parkinson-Gayle said a mentor saved her life when she arrived in Montreal as a motherless teen. Now, she's mentoring Black women and girls, with the dream of one day opening a community centre for Black Montrealers.
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This Montreal gym owner uses kickboxing to promote kindness

The owner of Hard Knox Gym in Montreal's Saint-Henri district encourages women to take up boxing and gives back to the neighbourhood in any way he can.
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She created a space for Black students and alumni to connect and support each other

Temilade Akin-Aina, an associate director of alumni relations at Concordia University, said engaging the university community is at the heart of what she does.
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Working behind the scenes, he helped Montreal elect its most diverse city council

Guedwig Bernier says he took a “leap of faith” when he decided to join Projet Montréal in 2018.
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This lifelong activist shows caring for others can be radical in its own way

Mubeenah Mughal says with an "activist heart," you bring the mentality of wanting to enact change to everything you do — whether it's spending time with loved ones or just going about daily tasks.
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He rallied a neighbourhood to open its own grocery store

When Dimitri Espérance moved to Montreal's Saint-Henri district while pursuing graduate studies, he knew he had found his new home. But he was shocked to find out how few places there were to buy healthy groceries. So he changed that.
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This social entrepreneur wants young people to know the sky's the limit

Loreena Gabriel hasn't forgotten what it felt like to work two jobs as she was preparing to graduate from high school. Faced with the expenses of college and prom, she said, she didn't want to put the burden entirely on her mother when money was tight.
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This musician pushes boundaries for people with disabilities

Gift Tshuma has dedicated his life to highlighting the daily challenges faced by people with disabilities and pushing for change. It's a mission he's merged with his passion for music.
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This 9-year-old Montrealer is in charge and giving back

It was the spring of 2020. A global pandemic had just been declared; schools were closed, and nine-year-old Adriana Jackson was bored. So she started a small online business, selling accessories such as bows, headbands and scrunchies.
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He loved his high school so much, he came back to teach. Now he's vice-principal

Leo Scantlebury has walked the corridors of Howard S. Billings Regional High School for more years than its current student population has been alive. From student, to teacher, and now to vice-principal, Leo Scantlebury has devoted much of his life to the high school in Châteauguay, Que., on Montreal's South Shore.
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Putting Black history in Canada on the map

When she was in Grade 10, Dorothy Williams asked her history teacher why he didn't talk about the history of slavery in Canada. Her teacher's answer, she said, served as a turning point in her life and career. "The teacher said to me — and this is in front of the class — he said I didn't have a history," Williams said.
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How yoga helped this entrepreneur leave behind a troubled past and inspire others

In the last decade, Brandon Dawson-Jarvis has changed. A lot. He’s upfront about his troubled past and the problems he used to have managing his anger. That anger eventually landed him in prison in 2013. He spent three-and-a-half years behind bars, which only amplified his struggles.
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Working to feed not just the body, but the soul

Charlene Hunte took over as the head of the Union United Church's food bank after retiring from the health-care field. She said it's important to make people laugh and dance, especially when times are hard.

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