On Friday, February 26th, 2021 at 7 PM, Making It Awkward: Challenging Anti-Black Racism (MIA), in partnership with the Art Gallery of Windsor, will lead an open discussion with community members, artists, and activists to explore the ways in which art can be used to engage youth, foster, and celebrate the legacy of Black Art in Windsor and Essex County and beyond. The purpose of this event is to foster discussion that takes a critical look at the arts community in Windsor-Essex. By engaging in these topics, we hope to see how the community can collectively address anti-Black racism within the Arts. This round table discussion is for anyone who wants to listen, learn and have these brave conversations. The discussion will be moderated by Jessica Bona-Mensah of MIA.
Teajai Travis, Artist and Executive Director of Artcite Inc.
Teajai Travis (he/him). Travis is an Afro-Indigenous artist, educator, curator and arts administrator. He also describes himself as an activist, historian and storyteller. As a descendent of Underground Railroad travelers he has taken on the responsibility of being a servant to justice, equity and equality. In addition to being the Executive Director of Artcite Inc. Teajai serves on the Board of Directors with community groups such as: The Friends of the Court (Mackenzie Hall), Literary Arts Windsor, By the River Reading Series and The Broomfield House, he feels fortunate to have built a solid network of community partners around his work. Due to the versatility of Teajai' commitment to the community and his experience as an outspoken advocate of community art and representation, he is a sought after public speaker and influencer, providing consultation and mentorship to budding organizations and emerging artists.
Sasha Senior is the owner of Bliss Skateboard Shop, a mother of two, a community activist, an artist and a full-time military member. And of course a great skateboarder. She opened Bliss Skate Shop on March 20, 2020 - a day before the province of Ontario went into lock down due to the Global pandemic. Senior has made connections from many different countries (Jamaica, Uganda and South Africa to name a few). She is honourably mentioned on the “THANK YOU” list by Alfonzo Rawls and is the first black woman to open a skateboard shop in Canada.
Moya McAlister, Youth Mentor and Community Artist
Moya McAlister is a full-time marketing professional, originally from Toronto, Ontario. After moving to Windsor over 14 years ago, she attended University, and College, before representing the marketing team of one of the Big Three automotive companies in the area. Now, she is the Communications Manager for the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, a not-for-profit organization located in the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor.
Her passion for the arts is what pushed Moya to become a part of the Arts Collective Theatre
(ACT) family. As Vice President and Marketing manager of this not-for-profit organization dedicated and committed to enhancing the well-being of the Windsor Essex community through theatre education, social justice theatre practices, and mentorship, she is honoured to lend my expertise to the growth and development of the organization.
Having the opportunity to mentor Windsor youth with ACT has been a dream come true for Moya. Watching each youth grow and excel at what they love, and being able to bring awareness to the great talent that Windsor has to offer, has brought genuine happiness to her life. She loves what ACT represents within the community, it strives for excellence in everything it produces and each student and parent who work with the ACT family, always leaves saying the organization has changed their lives in some way.
Christopher Elizabeth, Poet and Artist
Christopher Elizabeth(they/them) is a Black-Indigenous jack-of-all trades storyteller, who enjoys the process of creation, whether that be music, writing, or all the inner workings of a theatre. Chris has worked as an actor and stage manager for various non-profit companies in Southern Ontario, as well as the theatre technology tutor at Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts (until the pandemic hit). Chris is currently developing their playwriting, design and video editing skills at the University of Windsor’s School of the Dramatic Arts, and is currently a digital intern with Davis Shakespeare Festival. Chris addresses social, racial environmental and mental heath issues in their work whenever they have the opportunity to do so. They’ve worked as a sensitivity reader in the past and is currently working on an accessible digital series of plays that tackle the relationship of economic stability and the presentation of whiteness in the workplace.
Moderated by Jessica Bona-Mensah