Throughout February, CBC News produced a series of features on Black men making a difference in their communities across Canada, shining a spotlight on their lives and pursuits of social justice and change.
These are their stories.
Toronto-based artist Robert Small has sketched notable Black Canadians for a legacy poster every February since Black History Month was officially recognized in Canada in 1995.
Actor Jesse Lipscombe was the target of racial slurs while filming a commercial in Edmonton. That incident propelled him to start the advocacy group Make It Awkward, which encourages people to confront racism wherever they see or hear it.
Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus Marcus Ware of Toronto has spent 25 years working for racial and social equality, using his art as a way to create dialogue around crucial issues of our time. A key member of Black Lives Matter Toronto, he is also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng
Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng is a palliative care and intensive care doctor based in Ottawa who has faced racism during his career. He mentors Black youth and is now on the board of directors at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Inspired and motivated by his grandmother to push for change, Jacob Callender-Prasad decided to mobilize and organize the first of many anti-racism rallies last May in Vancouver, which was attended by thousands of people.
Ambe Chenemu emigrated from Cameroon to the Northwest Territories in 2013. It was after moving to Canada that he experienced racism for the first time, he said. He felt he had to do his part to fight systemic racism, and inspired by the diversity of people and cultures in the North, he was among the founders of the Black Advocacy Coalition (BACupNORTH) and currently serves as its chairperson.
Award-winning Canadian film director Tyler Simmonds has suffered from mental health issues since his teenage years. He decided to use his craft to push for dialogue on mental health and mindfulness — especially within the Black community.
In the span of two decades, Toronto hip-hop artist D.O. Gibson has spoken at 2,500 schools. He likes to pick different Black Canadian historical figures, such as Viola Desmond and Josiah Henson, as a way to educate young people about important people and events in this country.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.