Fourth year Kinesiology student Amanda Lyn is hosting this year’s Black Girl Magic Conference. The conference will speak primarily to the empowerment of women of colour at Brock University.
Black Girl Magic is a movement that began in 2013 as a hashtag and clothing campaign by black activist CaShawn Thompson who was inspired by the black women around the world that continue to persevere through adversity. Thompson started the movement in an effort to acknowledge the achievements of these women, which can oftentimes be swept under the rug. Brock’s Black Magic Girl Conference started with those principles as its foundation.
“At Brock, Black Girl Magic is more than just a name, statement, hashtag or even an affirmation; it’s a movement — a sisterhood of shared experience. The conference focuses on the empowerment and leadership of women of colour at Brock and it highlights a group of people who have often been left out of conversations of leadership,” said Lyn.
Lyn did not intend on creating and running a conference during her undergraduate years. She took action after attending both the White Privilege Symposium and the Niagara Women’s Leadership Summit in her second year and finding neither fully addressed the issues faced by black women.
“I realized that there was a specific set of experiences that was not being explored — the experiences of black women. After speaking to [Brock alumna] Madi Fuller, she decided to support me in organizing this conference. With the support of Brock Student Life, Social Justice Center and clubs like ROOTS, as well as the continual support of Dr. Mogadime, Brock University’s first ever Black Girl Magic Conference [in 2017] was a success,” said Lyn. “I decided to host another Black Girl Magic Conference this year because representation matters, and it is important to continue to recognize black female students.”
Brock’s Black Girl Magic Conference 2019 will be held on March 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. across three rooms in Thistle Complex. The day’s events will be broken down into five segments: an opening keynote and welcome address, two rounds of breakout sessions, a health break and a closing address.
The opening keynote and welcome address will be presented by Adaoma Patterson who serves as Manager of Poverty Reduction Initiatives for the Region of Peel. This segment will take place in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.
After the opening keynote, the first round of breakout sessions in the form of panel discussions, paper presentations and workshops will be held. These sessions will be facilitated by current Brock students and alumni in Thistle rooms 255 and 256.
The second round of breakout sessions will also take place in these rooms following a break.
To finish the day, attendees will make their way back to the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre for a closing address from Brock alumna Tianna Thomas from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It is Lyn’s belief that the Black Girl Magic Conference provides an important service to Brock’s black female population.
“At Brock, there are not many spaces where [black, female] students can share their experiences or discuss important topics that affect [them] without feeling uncomfortable or judged. The Black Girl Magic Conference creates that safe space,” said Lyn. “[The conference] is important because through sharing experiences there is a sense of familiarity, togetherness and belongingness that is created, providing support that can be important during the difficulties of university.”
Though the event is geared towards the black female population, the event is open to every interested individual of any race or gender. While those who do not identify as black and female might not be able to completely relate to the issues highlighted in the conference, attending provides a unique learning experience that can in turn help advance the goals of the conference.
“[The Black Girl Magic Conference] will address topics that matter specifically to black women and will deconstruct the racial and sexist systems that we must maneuver in our everyday lives,” said Lyn. “For those who want to share in that experience, it will be extremely important to listen and to embrace discomfort. By listening to our issues and experiences, the hope is that they will better understand both our struggles and successes and recognize the work that is still left to be done, not just by [black women] but also by [white men/women and black men].”
Further information about the Black Girl Magic Conference and other similar events can be found on ExperienceBU. Tickets are free of cost. Two other upcoming events out of the Black History Month Committee and Brock’s Student Justice Centre are a Black Activism Panel on Mar. 13 and a Black and Proud Panel Discussion on Mar. 21.