Stomp Out Racism Rally Halifax: Speaker and Performer Bios
by Teens Now Talk ⋅ September 1, 2020
Speakers and Performers Halifax
Powerful Event Video – length 4:20, enjoy
BA-CYS, MEd, CCC
DeRico Symonds, currently employed full time with Halifax Regional Municipality as a Program Manager with the Youth Advocate Program. DeRico Symonds is a founding member of ACCE. ACCE is an organization designed for the growth and development of people of African Descent in the Province of Nova Scotia. DeRico is also a founding member of Game Changers 902 alongside Kate MacDonald and Trayvone Clayton. DeRico has an immense amount of work in marginalized communities. DeRico Symonds received the Queens Diamond Jubilee Century of Service Award, the Irving & Ruth Pink award for youth development and social justice, and in 2019, DeRico Symonds received Dr. Burnley “Rocky” Jones Human Right award from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
DeRico has tirelessly advocated for communities across HRM for issues including but not limited to: Poverty, Unemployment, Affordable Housing, Marginalization, Justice and Community Violence. DeRico Symonds holds an undergraduate degree in Child & Youth Study (2012), a Masters of Education in Counselling through Acadia University (2018), and is a Nationally Certified Counselling holding his Canadian Certified Counselling designation (CCC).
BA, Bed, MEd
Megan Neaves is the first President of the Nova Scotia Association of Teachers for Equity in Education with the Halifax Regional Centre for Education. Megan is the CEO of Empowered Community Engagement & Consulting, an organization that aims to empower people to break the cycles of systemic racism. Megan is a jr. high school teacher with the Halifax Regional Centre of Education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in History and as well as a Bachelor of Education. Megan recently completed her Masters of Education in Supporting Diverse learners with Needs and Exceptionalities in July of 2019. She is returning to Mount Saint Vincent University in September 2020 to begin a Masters in Educational Foundations specializing in Anti-Racist Education.
In 2018 Megan developed a unit called “Empowering Changes” that aims to teach students how to recognize White privilege and how to use their privilege to create change. An experiential learning component of this unit was to bring leaders from the racialized communities into the school to share with students about their experiences with racism.
Megan is involved in the Halifax community and actively engaged in initiatives, events, and discussions pertaining to anti-racism, poverty, and solutions for marginalized communities. She has compiled an array of research in regard to educating people about White privilege as her chosen Master’s project. Megan plans to further her education as well as this work and complete a Ph.D. with a focus on examining the literacy levels of inmates and the school to prison pipeline.
Instgram – @meganneaves_ Twitter – @MeganNeaves Back to full story
Lydia Muyingo is a PhD student in Dalhousie University’s Clinical Psychology program. She studies the cultural context of substance. She is passionate about Black mental health and looks forward to being a child and family psychologist. She knows the various mentors and role models in her life were essential to her achieving her potential. Lydia currently mentors Black youth interested in mental health professions and wants to see more Black therapists in Nova Scotia. Back to full story
Brittany Sue Pennell
Fine Arts Specialist w/ an Indigenous Focus Halifax Regional Center for Education (Proudly Serving 134 schools: P-12, throughout HRM). Brittany and Courtney Pennell are twin sisters of Mi’kmaq descent from Acadia First Nation here in Nova Scotia. They have both been involved in their culture, dancing, singing, drumming, partaking in ceremonies, and the traveling pow wow trail their entire lives.
Brittany is a teacher with the Halifax Regional Center for Education. She is the first-ever Fine Arts Specialist with an Indigenous Focus. She provides Indigenous knowledge systems via fine arts. This year she became a part of HRCE’s Treaty Education lead team to assist in the delivery of Treaty Education to HRCE’s staff members. She serves grades P-12 in 134 schools, with an estimated student body of 50,000! This fall, she begins her Masters of Education Program. Brittany is also a busy mother to three beautiful children!
Courtney is a Registered Nurse at the IWK, specializing in pediatrics Oncology, Hematology, and Nephrology on the inpatient unit. She was recently seconded from her clinical unit to work full time with the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative (ACHH) as a Research Coordinator. She is adjusting into the Research Coordinator position, playing a dual role in liaising independently between the IWK Health Centre leadership and the Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia. Her work with the ACHH team has been to review the research evidence and filter it for use in training and policies. She is also co-leading the coordination of two research projects, one at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre and others in Saint Mary’s First Nation, Millbrook First Nation as well as Eskasoni First Nation. As part of the ACHH national project, she is also responsible for the coordination of the development of youth pain app designed to assist Mi’kmaw youth share their emotional and physical pain. Back to full story
Adina Fraser Marsmen
With blended heritage of North Preston, Halifax, and Upper Hammonds Plains Adina has been singing with her extended family since early childhood (age 6). Raised in North Preston she has been singing a wide variety of music with her family group “ The Fraser Family” . in 2018 Adina participated within the ANSMA Youth Choir performing throughout the Metro area.
Adina started playing guitar at age 7 and has since moved on to playing the Electric Bass for the Preston Primos Band and school bands. She has been trained in violin and is learning piano and standing bass. Her love of music extends from R&B to many other genres of music.
Her performance experience has grown to include solo performances in 2018; A pride service at North Wood manor, the Young Gifted and Black concert, services at St. Thomas church, and many times in her school, Citadel High. After highschool Adina plans to study Music Therapy at Acadia University . Adina takes great passion in defending those who have been discriminated against and helping others with tough life situations. Helping others with their problems through music is Adina’s dream. She is very thankful for the opportunity to share more about herself.
@adinafraser Back to full story
Demario Chambers, is 16 years old and he is into music, soccer, basketball, and football and running, his favourite subject is math and he writes his own music & raps Well he wants people to know racism is alive and well but we together will change this and that want people to know it’s not their fault and do not be afraid to speak up!
People need to be more educated and that we all need to be expected for who we are, he would change that there is more acceptance in the world and the world be more loving and to know we are all the same and we are all one race and that’s the human race
When asked, what is one thing he would change or what is a solution, Demario replies, “I would like the school to be taught more about black history and not the same song and dance cause there is more about black history then just Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.” Back to full story
Reciting one of her poems entitled “WHY”
Moriah is 11 years old, she will be
heading into Grade 7 at Leslie Thomas Junior High School in September. Moriah is passionate about writing poetry, painting, playing the piano and the Djembe. Moriah hopes to become a judge in the future. Moriah will be reciting a poem entitled WHY. Back to full story
Angela Bowden is an author, poet, speaker, and activist born and raised in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She is the proud mother of three sons. Bringing her lived experiences as an African Nova Scotian woman and mother, Angela speaks and writes extensively about social justice and the emotional experiences of her people.
Angela has served as a youth care worker in education and in secure care settings and as a behavioural counsellor for federally incarcerated women.
In December 2019 Angela delivered a powerful TEDx Talk at Mount Saint Vincent University where she acknowledges and validates the generational trauma of black women and the importance of healing from the decades of trauma that affects our elders and youth.
Angela has completed her first book, Unspoken Truth, a collection of poetry, scheduled for release by Pottersfield Press in Spring 2021.
Currently, Angela is a graduate student at Saint Mary’s University pursuing a Master’s degree in Women and Gendered Studies. Back to full story
Wayne Reddick-Desmond – Born and raised in the African Nova Scotian Community of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. The Vale Road is where I refer to as home. I was born to Wayne Desmond Sr and Joy Reddick-Desmond, and I am a younger brother to Kieshia and an uncle to Ashton. I take pride in my family and community. I am a graduate of Saint Mary’s University class of 2020, with a major in Criminology and a minor in Sociology. I have recently been accepted into Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law. As well, I am a recipient of the 2020 Verna Van Bommel Community Mentor award. I am a child of God, son, community mentor, and community activist. I take great pride in knowing that I have the ability to make a change.
He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only walking ~ African Proverb Back to full story
Drummers and Performers
Ayo Aladejebi is originally from Nigeria and comes from the Yoruba tribe. He began drumming as a child growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. He is part of the 5 people drumming ensemble “Drummers from Home”
Moriah is 11 years old, she will be heading into Grade 7 at Leslie Thomas Junior High School in September. Moriah is passionate about writing poetry, painting, playing the piano, and the Djembe. Moriah hopes to become a judge in the future. Moriah will be reciting a poem entitled WHY
Micaiah is 13 years old and will begin high school this September at Sackville High School. Micaiah enjoys playing the Djembe with his parents and siblings. He loves music and is passionate about the piano. Micaiah loves math and aspires to become an Electronic Engineer in the future.
Onset Hip Hop is a company that provides elite Hip Hop dance training to youth throughout HRM. We consider ourselves a stepping stone for dancers interested in growing towards opportunities on a professional scale, as well as expanded their artistic expertise. Onset is more than a competitive dance company, we are family and we pride ourselves on guiding dancers to shine both on the stage and in life. www.onsetdance.com
Halifax Multicultural Drummers
After losing at sixteen months, one of his twin daughters, Goodness, the twin sister to Mercy to Malaria. Dr. Olugu Ukpai Halifax Multicultural Drummers founded the Halifax Multicultural Drummers to drum up support and smiles for the children who are dying needlessly of Malaria in Africa. www.chamamission.ca
From Global Humanitarian Ambassador to him recently receiving the 2018 Hero’s Awards, to add to his plethora of achievement. Dr. Olugu Ukpai remains humble and uses his innovative and musical talent as founded Halifax Multicultural Drummers, to drum up support and smiles for children who are dying needlessly of Malaria in Africa. The group was the local stars during the Navy Tattoo and has performed across the width of Nova Scotia. Taking their drums across HRM schools, Colleges, and Universities while drumming up smiles and awareness.
Dr. Olugu Ukpai also is the CEO and Co-Fonder of Challenge AIDS and Malaria in Africa CHAMA. Created in 2006, with his wife, Pastor Esther Olugu Ukpai after unnecessarily losing their 16-month old daughter Goodness, a twin sister to Mercy to Malaria.
To date, CHAMA is in 15 African Countries, as well as in the USA and UK. With over 50,000 members across the globe. www.chamamission.ca Back to full story
Josh Crawford is an ordained pastor and a licensed Funeral Director. He hails from the community of Beechville is also a powerhouse when it comes to empowering youth.
Josh is very involved in his community, church, and believes in equality and has a passion for youth and seniors. Josh has held various positions within the community, just to name a few he started a program 6 years ago where he travels around HRM feeding and clothing those less fortunate especially during the winter months. He also belongs to the Ray of Hope Prison Ministry team, travelling to the institutions sharing in testimonies and songs with the men.
Josh truly believes that “it takes a village to raise a child” and “train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it”. Back to full story
To contact Josh – Facebook