Freedom is Coming

“Nothing has changed and everything has changed.”

Rania El Mugammar

For this episode of The Youth/Elders Podcast, Naomi Bain and Rhoma Spencer are joined by artists and educators Rania El Mugammar and LeRoi Newbold to talk about what’s changed (and what hasn’t) since the global protests and uprisings in support of Black lives following the murder of George Floyd in the spring of 2020. The conversation touches on how we can go beyond solidarity statements to make more meaningful change, and how they both ground their work in resistance movements of the past, and hope for the future.

About our guests

Rania El Mugammar is a Sudanese artist, anti-oppression consultant, and liberation educator based in Toronto. Rania’s artistic and community work is deeply rooted in Black Liberation, Rania is a published writer, award winning organizer, speaker, arts educator, and multidisciplinary performer.

photo by Ebti Nabag

LeRoi Newbold is the co-founding co-director of FreedomSchool – Toronto, and has designed Afrocentric/Black focused curriculum and taught at the Africentric Alternative School for the past 12 years.  LeRoi has worked with children and youth for the past 16 years as a teacher, early childhood educator, youth facilitator and arts facilitator. LeRoi recently completed his masters in Black Liberatory Education at York University.

Glossary + additional reading

Here are some of the references you’ll come across in the episode, with links to more info

  • Marie Joseph Angélique: Marie Joseph Angélique was a Portuguese-born Black enslaved woman, who was accused of, and tried and executed for setting fire to her owner’s home in 1734, starting a blaze that spread to much of Old Montreal. It’s not clear whether she actually started the fire, and if so, why. She’s the inspiration for the play Angélique, by Lorena Gale, which was most recently produced at Factory Theatre in 2019.
  • Black Action Defence Committee: A Toronto-based organizing group formed in 1988 by Dudley Laws, Charles Roach, Sherona Hall and Lennox Farrell, following a string of shootings of Black men by police. Among other things, the Committee helped spur the creation of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit. This CBC article draws parallels between the Black Action Defence Committee and BLM-TO.
  • Chloe Cooley was an enslaved Black woman in Upper Canada. In the late 1700s, when many Canadian slave-owners were planning to sell their slaves to slaveowners in the U.S., Chloe resisted this attempt. Her resistance is seen as a catalyst for the Canada’s first and only anti-slavery legislation in 1793. She was featured in Graphic History Collective’s Remember | Resist | Redraw Poster project.
  • FreedomSchool-Toronto is an educational organization co-founded by LeRoi Newbold and Nauoda Robinson. FreedomSchool-Toronto provides educational alternatives to . LeRoi also shouts out a specific programme: the Black Liberation Comic Book Club. CBC made a short documentary about FreedomSchool.
  • Regis Korchinski-Paquet: Regis Korchinski-Paquet was a young Afro-Indigenous woman living in the west end of Toronto, who fell to her death from her balcony after police were called for a domestic disturbance. The Special Investigations Unit officially cleared police of wrongdoing, but Regis’ family continues to challenge the finding.
  • The Movement for Black Lives is a coalition of more than 50 groups and organizations representing the interests of Black communities in the U.S. Their 2024 strategic plan embrace five key development pillars – mass engagement, local power, building across movements, leadership development, and electoral strategy.

Listen, subscribe, and share!

Read the full episode transcript here (coming soon), and find the episode (and subscribe to the podcast) on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher.

Intro and outro by leZlie lee kam and Ty Sloane, featuring music by Jessie Tollefsen. Sound editing by Denardo Hepburn, with support from Maddie Bautista. Podcast logo by Paul Dotey.

The Youth/Elders Podcast features personal stories, lived histories, and candid conversations between queer youth, queer elders, and lots of folks in between – for more information and to sign up for podcast updates, visit the podcast’s homepage.

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