Poet, writer, and spoken word performer Deanna Smith worked with teachers and students at her alma mater, Laval Senior Academy. Deanna’s workshops on Black Canadian history were offered to a total of 235 students in eight English Language Arts and Ethics Religion and Culture classes, in Sec 3 to 5.  The workshops focused on themes of Identity, privilege, equity vs. equality, racial discrimination, and bias, and complimented the new Ile Ife Africana Studies Collection. 

Deanna helped to establish the new collection of Africana studies books for the library at Laval Senior and Junior Academies, with the purpose of providing students with expanded resources related to the history and cultures of the African Diaspora. As described by Community Development Agent Katrina Driver, the Ile Ife Africana Studies collection “offers Black students materials that provide positive representation, accurate historical information, affirming fiction, and support for activism and the pursuit of excellence in all spheres of life. It is also meant to counter prevailing media imagery, correct false narratives, and inform non-Black students as a means to create connections and support for social justice”.

[WURD]up, the official launch of the collection, was on February 20th, during Black History Month,  at Laval Senior Academy and hosted by Deanna Smith. The City of Laval’s Multicultural Library, acted as a supporting partner, with promotions through city-wide communications.  They mirrored the Africana Studies Collection, adding it to the City`s own Library collection. 

Click here to see the special coverage of the project on CBC Montreal Radio`s morning show DAYBREAK with Mike Finnety.

Laval Senior Academy School’s ArtistsInspire Grant experience was made possible by an ELAN Quebec/LEARNpartnership for students from Quebec’s English-speaking communities to participate in arts and culture experiences, thanks in part to funding from Heritage Canada through the  Government of Canada.  Laval Senior Academy has also received support through ELAN’s ACE program.  To learn more about ACE Initiatives, please visit the ELAN website#elanqc #elanarted #elanace #artistsinspire#TeachLearnHelp

CBC Interview with Journalist Sheri Okeke. Deanna Smith with students Jacob Lennox and John Peter Tsagaris.

The Ile Ife Africana Studies Collection (IIASC) Logo. Artwork by Komi Olaf.