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A conference aiming to develop ways to reduce isolation of the newcomer community of African descent, rebuilding trust & creating more allies, while examining parallels and reflections within the greater Calgary community.  

June 2019 The Centre for Newcomers and the Real ME partnership group, Legal Aid Youth Law, The City of Calgary Youth Probation and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate organized a well-attended and thought provoking educational event that focused on improving our practice with newcomer children and youth, being served by the justice system, with backgrounds of trauma and mental health concerns. The event allowed us to hear from experts in the field and youth with lived experience. It started to build a bridge and trust with the newcomer community and created more allies for these issues. But this event was just the start of a long-needed conversation about what is working and what needs to change.

The most concerning pattern we see is the over-representation of newcomer and 1st generation Canadian young people from immigrant families involved with child intervention and very young boys, of African decent, incarcerated within youth justice facilities. The other helping systems - health, children services and schools - are also experiencing challenges supporting newcomer families and how to serve individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress, separation from loved ones, cultural isolation, racism and discrimination. The Truth and Reconciliation process and the trauma-informed practice movement have shown us that responding to these issues in a colonial and punitive manner will only widen the gap between services and the community they are intended to help. 

The conversations and learnings that stemmed from this event needed to continue. Hosted by CFN's Real ME team October 5 - 7, 2020, Shades of Africa gave us the opportunity to do just that. 


Below is a list of conference content available for viewing, Simply click the available links below to view, for a detailed conference agenda click here and click here to see the master playlist of all conference video.



Land Acknowledgement: Casey Eagle Speaker
Opening Remarks: Centre For Newcomers CEO Anila Lee Yuen; Centre for Newcomer VP Strategy Dr. Francis Boakye
Presentations & Discussion Panel: From an Education Perspective: Dr. Francis Boakye: VP Strategy, Centre for Newcomers; Elias Mbah: Real Me Case Manager, Centre for Newcomers; Noel Bahliby: Real Me Case Manager, Centre for Newcomers; Maikala Harris: International Teacher
Presentations & Discussion Panel: From a Youth Perspective: Maria Abdel-Rahman; Kat Magak; Dami Fashola; Edmond Adu-Asamaoh; Chynna Balogun
Presentations & Discussion Panel: What it’s like to be Black in Justice: Ekene Balogun: Real Me Manager, Centre for Newcomers; Emmanuel Onah: Program Manager, Youth Programs, Africa Centre; Cst. Deng Acuil: SHOP, Calgary Police Services; Jon Cornish: Board Chairperson, President, Calgary Black Chambers; Urick Manoo: In-School Settlement Practitioner, Calgary
Closing Remarks: Casey Eagle Speaker



Opening: Spoken Word by Crystal Williams – Thinking Out Loud! 

Presentations & Discussion Panel: Perspectives from the Community: Donnovan Simon: President, Jamaican Canadian Association of Alberta: Israel Fayisa: Oromo Community, Ethiopian Association: Sunday James: Executive Member, ROSSA1 Club-Republic of South Sudan; Ariet Agwa: ROSSA1 Club-Republic of South Sudan

Presentations & Discussion Panel: From a Parental Perspective: Zita Ndieshe; David Nganga; Vanessa Haylin; Sophie Mofoke; Jiyan Zheng; Hayat Yousef

Presentations & Discussion Panel: From a Mental Health Perspective: Georginia Nwoke, M.Sc., PGCE, GCP; R. Psych. AB: CYOC Psychologist; Lawrence Deck Ph.D., R. Psych; Jane Ogechi Nwaneri RN, BSN, MSN


Presentations & Discussion Panel: Newcomer Resilience as They Negotiate the Costs of Immigration: Juliette Ukpabi: Staff Immigration Lawyer, Legal Aid Alberta

Presentations & Discussion Panel: Newcomer Resilience as They Negotiate the Costs of Immigration: Jatin Shory: Immigration Lawyer, Shory Law

Presentations & Discussion Panel: Moving Beyond the Medical Paradigm: Dr. Annalee Coakley, Mosaic Refugee Health Clinic

Presentations & Discussion Panel: Moving Beyond the Medical Paradigm: Dr. Keith Courtney, DO, CCHP: Psychiatrist, Alberta Health Services

Closing Remarks: Arlene Eaton-Erickson, Intake, Outreach & Systemic Advocacy Manager, Office of the Child & Youth Advocate

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