The Film “Dark Girls” Initiated a Community Discussion in Bramalea

Posted on Mar 1, 2017 by Stefanie Stuart

In honour of Black History Month, WellFort organized a night of film and dialogue

Panel L to R: Annette Bazira-Okafor, Patrick Padja, Itah Sadu and Kiwayne Jones
Panel L to R: Annette Bazira-Okafor, Patrick Padja, Itah Sadu and Kiwayne Jones

Brampton, Ontario, Tuesday February 23rd, 2017. Dark Girls the documentary that explores the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world was screened at WellFort Community Health Services’ event in honour of Black History Month this past Tuesday.

Feb 23 Event Poster
Feb 23 Event Poster

The film screening was followed by a community discussion featuring panelists Annette Bazira-Okafor of Black Girls Magazine, Itah Sadu of A Different Booklist, Kiwayne Jones, former Youth Amplifier for the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and Patrick Padja of Four Corners Health Centre.

Event Poster for Upcoming Black Girls Magazine Event at Malton Library
Event Poster for Upcoming Black Girls Magazine Event at Malton Library

Both panelists and members of the community were welcomed to share their thoughts and perspectives on how to tackle issues of shadeism in the Black community. “We need to have courageous conversations because kids want to talk about these things, but don't have the space,” shared one teacher.

The dialogue explored the powerful support that Black women can offer one another, “Black women- we have to have a gentle language of communication with one another,” one panelist said. Themes of kindness emerged, and how small actions can go a long way. In a society that bombards us with harmful and deceptive messaging about our communities, simply saying good morning to one another, smiling, and stopping and acknowledging one another are small actions we as a community can take to support and uplift one another.

Overwhelmingly, community stressed the importance of creating space and continuing these important conversations. “How do we leverage this event and keep this conversation flowing throughout the year?” one community member asked.

After the event, many stayed to continue the discussion, some exchanging contact information and brainstorming ideas to collaborate and continue the conversation.

On Monday March 13th at 3pm, WellFort will be partnering with Black Girls Magazine to host an interactive meet and greet event for the community with the magazine’s young writers at the Malton Library.
What is WellFort?

As a not-for-profit, values based organization, we provide:
• Health Promotion & Programs
• Primary Health Care
• Oral Health Care
• Diabetes, HIV & HEP C Education
WellFort works alongside local residents and partner agencies to increase community capacity.
Members of the WellFort family include Bramalea CHC, Four Corners HC, Bloom Clinic, Diabetes Education Program, and Health n' Smiles. WellFort is committed to providing inclusive, accessible and sustainable care. Offering a variety of programs and services to our diversely rich communities.
WellFort is committed to working within an anti-oppressive framework. As part of ongoing capacity building, staff will be working with a cultural competency consultant in an anti-oppression and anti-black racism workshop on March 14th.

Resources:
Black Girls Magazine http://blackgirlsmagazine.ca
A Different Booklist http://www.adifferentbooklist.com/
WellFort http://www.wellfort.ca/programs/programs-and-services.html

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