By Lincoln DePradine
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE) into moving its annual provincial conference – usually held in-person – to a virtual event in 2021. However, the president of the alliance, Warren Salmon, says something good emerged from last year’s virtual conference that included online participants from outside of Ontario and Canada.
“Last year was the most successful conference ever,’’ Salmon told The Caribbean Camera.
ONABSE has begun preparations for its 2022 conference – the organization’s 7th annual – on April 29 and 30. With COVID still a challenge to health and life, the conference again will be hosted online. The theme is, “Reimagining Education: Embedding Africentric Perspectives’’.
“I think the virtual conference just lends itself to a lot of people being able to attend not only within Ontario, but also across Canada and the US and the Caribbean,’’ said Salmon. “We’re really doing some international outreach with the conference this year as well.’’
The two-day event will include interactive “conference strands’’ and “educator workshops’’ covering issues such as student achievement; leadership; mental health and wellbeing; parent and community involvement; and higher education connection, readiness and research.
ONABSE has issued an invitation for people to submit proposals to assist with conference strands and workshops.
“Presenters must choose one of the conference strands. Please note that proposals will be judged on the relevance to one of the strands,’’ said ONABSE, adding that those offering proposals to lead workshops “must outline strategies to engage the audience’’; and also “must specifically address the needs of students and/or educators of African descent’’.
ONABSE stipulates that proposals are to be submitted electronically on or before February 15. The form is accessible at the link CALL FOR PROPOSALS SUBMISSION FORM. Further information is also available by emailing the alliance at email@example.com
“Proposals will be judged on their relevance to the strands, content quality, clarity, creativity, usefulness and logical organization,’’ said ONABSE, which also is seeking volunteers that can apply at Call for Volunteers link
Volunteers, said Salmon, are wanted to assist with event planning and also to help during and after the conference in April. “It’s a really big job and we’re all volunteers and we could use as much help as possible,’’ he said.
As an organization, ONABSE lists as its functions working to “eliminate and to rectify the effects of racism, harassment and sexism in education’’; getting together to “meet and share ideas, proven programs and effective techniques for demonstrating that African Canadian students can learn’’; and trying to “significantly raise the academic achievement level of all students and to place particular emphasis on that type of learning which builds positive and realistic self-concepts among African Canadian students.’’
The April conference is “open to anyone, anywhere’’, including people in the Caribbean, Africa and other parts of the Diaspora, said Salmon.
“Ideally, we want the engagement to continue between conferences; for people to have some initiatives that will go beyond the conference,’’ he said. “There is a lot to be done and a lot to be addressed.’’
ONABSE says its overarching purpose as an organization “is to promote and facilitate the education of all students, African Canadian students in particular; to establish a coalition of African Canadian educators and others directly or indirectly involved in the educational process; to create a forum for the exchange of ideas and strategies to improve educational opportunities for African Canadians; to identify and develop African Canadian professionals who will assume leadership positions in education; and to influence public policy concerning the education of African Canadian people’’.