In celebration of Black History Month, join us for an engaging discussion on confronting anti-Black racism beyond occasional acts and trends. Hearing from Black leaders within the labour movement and our communities, you will have an opportunity to participate in the discussion and learn about how we can all continue to be effective activists. This is a free event. Visit our Eventbrite page and 'Register' to RSVP by clicking the button below:
Executive Director, Labour Community Services
LCAT Program Coordinator, Labour Community Services
President, Toronto & York Region Labour Council
Andria Babbington is the President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, representing over 220,000 union members in Canada’s largest urban centre. An immigrant to Canada in her youth, Andria joined the labour movement when she began working in the hotel sector in downtown Toronto. She became one of the youngest chief stewards in her union’s history at the age of 19. As a union organizer for many years, Andria played a pivotal role in campaigns like Hotel Workers Rising, which raised the living standard for thousands of hospitality workers across North America.
Andria has been on the Labour Council executive board since 2004, serving for eight years as Vice President. She is the first woman of colour to sit as President. Andria is committed to fighting for a just economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond; equality and justice for all workers; growing the labour movement by increasing union density; and fighting for climate justice to ensure a future for our children.
Abdi Hagi Yusuf
Chair of the Board, Labour Community Services
Abdi Hagi Yusuf is the Chair of the Labour Community Services Board, Secretary Treasurer of CUPW – Toronto Local and Secretary of Toronto & York Region Labour Council. He began working at Canada Post as a temporary worker in 1991 and quickly became a Shop Steward working to protect the rights of workers. Abdi has since held many positions within CUPW and in 2004 he was elected the first Black Chief Shop Steward for what was then Canada’s largest postal facility, the Gateway East postal facility. Abdi works to push the equity and human rights agenda to the forefront of all labour actions and activities.
CEO, York Region Children’s Aid Society
Ginelle Skerritt is currently the CEO of York Region Children’s Aid Society. She is a public speaker, moderator, facilitator and advocate, dedicated to principles of inclusion, anti-racism and social justice. Since 1994, Ginelle has led anti-Black racism training with various groups including police officers, teachers, Canadian Forces personnel, elementary and high-school students, and community service workers. Ginelle is a published author, susu Banker Lady, and champion of collective economic development initiatives and a proponent of policing reform, Food Sovereignty, Basic Income and African Indigenous Knowledge.
Executive Director, Toronto Community Benefits Network
Rosemarie Powell is a passionate advocate for social, economic, and environmental justice. Throughout her career, she has advanced equitable approaches to policy development and implementation at various levels of government as it relates to land use planning, infrastructure investment and urban development. She has led for over 20 years from the grassroots up, managing and developing several innovative and impactful community programs and services to support under-represented group’s access to the labour market. Her community engagement and environmental advocacy work earned several awards for leadership and imagination.
Over the past four years as the Executive Director of the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN), a non-profit community-labour coalition representing over 120-member community organizations and groups, unions, and social enterprises. Rosemarie has grown the community benefits movement and strengthened the coalition to create good jobs and opportunities through government investment in infrastructure and urban development for Black, Indigenous, and racialized peoples with a focus on those who are youth, women, and newcomers.
Rosemarie built on TCBN’s initial success in negotiating Ontario’s first Community Benefits Framework for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and led the coalition through subsequent campaigns to secure community benefits for the Finch West LRT, West Park Healthcare Centre and Rexdale Woodbine Casino expansion. In the process, she has built strong partnerships with community, labour, government, and industry partners to address systemic barriers and increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the construction industry.
Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Gary Pieters is a principal in Ontario's public education system, and a past president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. In 2021 Gary was cross-appointed as a part-time Commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and a board member for the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).
He has been featured by Black in Canada, and the University of Toronto’s Boundless campaign. In 2013 Gary was recognized by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for his leadership. He has been invited several times to share his views on current social topics as a guest commentator on CBC-TV.
In his professional and community life, Gary brings “a systemic lens with high impact, thought and action-oriented leadership, to better respond to the increasingly complex human rights landscape of the society in which we live, learn, lead, work and find leisure.”
Executive Director, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
Angela Robertson is the Executive Director of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. Parkdale Queen West is a community-based health service organization serving mid and west Toronto. Angela is dedicated to people and communities facing discrimination, poverty and marginalization and working to change those social conditions.
She is a founding member of Blockorama, which focuses on forging spaces for Black and other racialized LGBTQ+ people and allies in Toronto’s Pride, and has served on numerous community Boards, including Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Houselink and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Angela has been recognized for her social justice work by the YWCA, Fred Victor Centre, and Urban Alliance on Race Relations, NOW magazine and was honoured by York University in 2017 with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree for her social justice work.
In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on racialized and low-income populations, Angela initiated and co-chaired a Black Health Equity Working Group of health sector experts, leaders, practitioners, and researchers concerned with improving the health and wellbeing of Black people. For her work she was recognized by the Alliance with the Denise Brooks Equity Champion Award and the Pillar of the Pandemic recognition award from the U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
Principal, Africentric Alternative School - TDSB
Hugh Reynolds is the Principal of Africentric Alternative School - TDSB. Hugh demonstrates a strong commitment to academic excellence by guaranteeing all students are provided with the curriculum, instruction, assessment and supports they need to meet academic excellence. Hugh is passionate about ensuring that students’ lived experiences and cultural backgrounds are reflected in the daily operation of the school. He seeks to collaborate with staff and the community to motivate students to reach for excellence in everything they do. Hugh believes in shared leadership and builds strong relationships with his students, staff and community. He has a growth mindset, is a reflective practitioner and is always seeking ways to improve.