Agoo everyone, and welcome to another edition of our monthly newsletter! We hope you’re keeping well during this, the shortest and longest month of the year. 2021 marks 25 years since February was officially named Black History Month in Canada, and this year’s theme is ‘The Future is Now’ — a motto after our own hearts. To honour Black History Month, we want to share some of our favourite Black-owned businesses, artists, and organizations. Their incredible work keeps us inspired and feeds our dedication to the work we do — investing in building schools is an investment in the future.
A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
Longtime friends to Schools of Dreams, Empowerment Squared is a Hamilton-based organization working to empower youth through programs focused on academic mentoring and leadership development. The goal is to create sustainable change, and the team works with newcomers and marginalized communities to access opportunities for greater knowledge and new skills. Empowerment Squared is hosting a free virtual event with Ndaba Mandela (grandson of Nelson Mandela) on Friday, February 26 at 10:00 am EST. You can register here for this special event.
ANKARA INSPIRED APPAREL
Local fashion powerhouse, Kaela Kay, creates the most beautiful African–inspired clothing. Using Ankara prints, Kaela has used her Ghanaian roots as inspiration for creating a collection of designs we love. Are these dresses designed for staying at home? No. Are we considering putting them on to watch Netflix on the couch anyway? Yes.
FOR KEEPING COZY
Good news: We have discovered the most fun socks on the planet! Afrisocks is a Ghanaian-based accessory business bringing the lively colours of West Africa to you with socks and masks inspired by traditional textile designs. We also love that their FAQ section covers topics that include their goal of bringing production to Ghana, and consumer concerns around cultural appropriation.
It’s been 400 years since the African diaspora began, and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is the perfect novel as we reflect on the lasting impact of the transatlantic slave trade. The title of Gyasi’s novel is taken from a well known African-American belief that an enslaved person’s spirit traveled home to Africa upon their death. In 2019, Ghana launched The Year of Return, ‘[a] birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia’. As many wait to safely travel again, Homegoing will keep you company.
COMFORT FOOD, DOING GOOD
Aunty Lucy’s began as a pop-up, but now its permanent home is a wildly popular destination for burger lovers in Toronto. Serving up Ghanaian twists on the classic American staple, Aunty Lucy’s also offers sides of Kelewele — a popular street food in Ghana comprised of fried plantain and garlic seasoning. This month they are giving back by donating 100 percent of profits from their limited edition hot sauce to Uplift Kitchen, a food security organization serving Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities in Toronto and surrounding areas.