TOES Niagara in Support of Black History

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This past week, TOES Niagara worked with ABEAN to host a fundraising dinner to support the post-secondary education needs of black youth in the community.

Founded in 2013, TOES Niagara is a not-for-profit organization that works to provide at-risk women with the resources to empower and enhance themselves in their personal, professional and social lives.

“TOES (Tools of Empowerment for Success) Niagara seeks to create a place with activities and support services that would cater to the specific needs of immigrant and marginalized women. The organization addresses the economic, social, educational and developmental needs of immigrant and marginalized women and their families in Niagara and elsewhere,” said Nyarayi Kapisavanhu, the executive director of TOES Niagara.

The organization upholds five pillars of empowerment for the women it works with: economic development, education for sustainable development, leadership development, social development and personal development.

“Our objectives as an organization are: to act as a resource for women, to promote equality for everybody by advancing education and raising awareness in equality and conducting our commissioning research on equality issues, to promote the interest of women in all aspects of daily life and to ensure women have a voice at the highest level within the business, community and political sectors,” said Kapisavanhu.

“We empower immigrant and marginalized women through multi-lens educational workshops, programs and other support services to enable, assist and inspire them to believe in their ability to enhance their role in their own lives, local communities, in businesses and in the wider world.”

On February 1, TOES Niagara hosted an Advocating for Black Excellence Awards of Niagara (ABEAN) fundraising dinner. The proceeds of this event support scholarships and mentorship programs for black youths that are enrolled or plan to enroll in an institution of higher learning. The recipients of these scholarships will have demonstrated high academic achievement, community involvement, leadership skills and financial need.

“ABEAN is an event that serves a variety of purposes. This event is hosted in order to promote the changing of broken narrative of black people’s lives and to educate people about black history by showcasing and celebrating the positive contributions made by black individuals throughout history and those that they continue to still make in Niagara, specifically, and Canada in general,” said Kapisavanhu.

“We seek to promote opportunities for open dialogue and personal interactions between cultures, to instill cultural pride in black youth and to fundraise for scholarships that have the ability to empower black youth towards post-secondary movement.”

ABEAN also provides a mentorship platform for black youth, providing someone to look up to as they learn to carve their own paths in their schools and community.

“When it comes to role models, it’s important for minorities to see people like themselves in those roles, strictly because culture is otherwise telling them there are things they cannot and/or are not allowed to do, because of who they are. We need to impress on our young people that we have a place here and we continue to help to build the community. As Ben Carson says; ‘our children need to see and hear about more black role models in many fields so that they can make better choices’,” said Kapisavanhu.

It is important to educate ourselves on the different aspects and importance of black history as well as the significance that it holds in today’s society. ABEAN is hosted just for this reason; in order to promote the cross cultural interactions and conversations that take place within our society.

Allowing these conversations and interactions to intersect your everyday life can lead to a greater appreciation for the shared daily challenges that we face within the Niagara region and can be used to make a positive contribution to those around you.

To find out more information about this event or black history check out


hosted by Brock University. The event is free to attend and will be held in Welch Hall room 209.

Short Film: C’est Mois

The Niagara on the Lake Public Library will be hosting a free screening of the short film C’est Moi on Feb. 28 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Set in modern-day Montréal, C’est Moi explores the collision of the past as it meets the present in the forgotten story of an important figure in Black Canadian History and her efforts to fight against slavery in 18th Century New France. Interested students can register to see the film via Eventbrite.

African Voices/Voix africaines/ Sauti sa Afrika

On Feb. 28 at the Rodman Hall Art Centre from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Brock’s Faculty of Humanities and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in cooperation with Brock Radio will be hosting an event entitled African Voices/Voix africaines/ Sauti sa Afrika. The event will see members of the Niagara African diaspora community share in manifestos their thoughts and experiences in the Niagara region as visible minorities in English, French and African languages.

This list is by no means exhaustive so interested students are encouraged to monitor ExperienceBU during the month of February for more Black History Month events.

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