Guest Speakers Illuminate Black History

Throughout the month of February, Crescent welcomed a number of speakers in recognition of Black History Month. In addition, discussions during Mentor Group, Home Form and divisional assemblies covered topics such as Black history in Canada including slavery and civil rights, allyship, and personal/collective stories describing the lived experience of Black Canadians.

Award-winning author Ekiuwa Aire visited the Lower School to read her story Sunjata of the Mande Empire, about a young boy overcoming self-doubt and becoming the founder of the Mandé Empire. Ms. Aire’s journey into writing began 15 years ago when she moved from Nigeria to Canada. As she explained to the Lower School audience, “I wanted to share the incredible stories of Africa with my own children and children like you and to bring a sense of pride and awe in the diverse heritages that make our world so fascinating.” The special event on January 30 kicked off Black History Month at Crescent.

Canadian businessman, entrepreneur, Dragons’ Den investor and Crescent parent Wes Hall P’28 spoke at a full school assembly on February 6. Mr. Hall, author of the book No Bootstraps When You’re Barefoot, spoke candidly about his humble beginning, and his journey from a law office mail clerk to becoming one of the most influential forces on Bay Street. Mr. Hall shared some lessons that he attributes to his success, including the importance of showing empathy and emotion as a business leader. “We’re taught as men that you don’t cry or show emotions, especially in business,” he said. “I’m here to tell you that that is not true. People gravitate to business leaders who are empathetic.”

On February 12, Middle School students watched the documentary The Skin We're In. Based in part on Desmond Cole's award-winning 2015 essay, "The Skin I'm In", the film documents the history and reality of racism against Black Canadians.