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Critical Race Theory: The Case For Evaluating What We “Know” and How We Teach

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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The Empire Club of Canada Presents:
Critical Race Theory: The Case For Evaluating What We “Know” and How We Teach

Critical Race Theory (CRT) challenges us to understand and address the social, economic, political, and legal conditions that contribute to racial power disparity and inequality in our society. Yet, despite being in an era where we know we must think critically about what we hear and what we’ve learned, a basic lack of agreement on its scope and purpose has caused a questioning of CRT’s value in Canadian classrooms, and society generally. Further, debates around this topic that filter to us from the United States bias our judgment about the role “race” plays in Canadian society.

Join us on February 21, 2023 for a moderated discussion on Critical Race Theory, where our panelists will challenge us to reconsider what we “know” about Canada and its values.

The content presented is free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.

Views and Opinions Expressed Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the speakers or panelists are those of the speakers or panelists and do not necessarily reflect or represent the official views and opinions, policy or position held by The Empire Club of Canada.

headshot of Kearie Daniel

Kearie Daniel

Executive Director & Co -Founder, Parents of Black Children

Kearie Daniel is a senior non-profit leader, community advocate, communications strategist and thought leader in the area of Black motherhood.

Kearie has over 20 years of experience leading strategic initiatives across multiple sectors including healthcare, where she was responsible for the implementation of a communications strategy for a number of initiatives including an Electronic Pathway Solution for Diagnostic Assessment Programs, ensuring that cancer patients were supported on their cancer journey pathway. Kearie’s experience in the non-profit sector includes non-profit leadership and communications and government relations.

The non-profit sector. In the child welfare sector, Kearie led communications and community engagement for Phase II of the One Vision One Voice community initiative to address the overrepresentation of Black children in the child welfare system, at the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.

As the co-founder and inaugural Executive Director of Parents of Black Children, one of the fastest growing non-profits in Ontario, Kearie has spearheaded and created the organization’s strategic vision, mandate and approach. Leveraging her experience with systems navigation in the cancer care and child welfare system to implement the methodology in support of Black families engaged within the education system, changing the landscape and formalizing the historic practice of Black community advocacy within the education sector. Kearie also considers herself a ‘learning futurist’, challenging existing educational pedagogy and encouraging education leaders to re-imagine education design. In this capacity, Kearie also conceptualized and led the development of PoBC’s Omo Africentric Campus, the first Africentric virtual campus in Canada accessible for Black children and families- offering an alternative, reimagining of how electronic platforms can be utilized in the education space..

In addition to her work within non-profit leadership, Kearie has anchored her career as a thought leader and writer on issues of race, motherhood and education. With a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications, Kearie Kearie began her career as a Journalist working as a freelance associate producer and assignment editor for NBC News, London Bureau.

In 2017 Kearie created the Podcast and Blog, Woke Mommy Chatter, a space to combat the invisibilizing of the Black motherhood experience and to shed light on the Black parenting journey. Kearie also writes about race, equity and the Black motherhood experience for a variety of publications, including Today’s Parents, CBC Parent, Flare and Chatelaine.

headshot of Joshua Sealy-Harrington

Joshua Sealy-Harrington

Assistant Professor and Counsel, Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University and Power Law

Joshua Sealy-Harrington is a passionate teacher, scholar, and advocate.

As an Assistant Professor at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University, Professor Sealy-Harrington teaches about criminal punishment, legal theory, and social change. He is the faculty advisor for the Gale Cup moot team and the Black Law Students’ Association, as well as the annual moot problem drafter for the Julius Alexander Isaac Moot, Canada’s critical race theory mooting competition. He received an excellence in teaching award from the University of Ottawa, where he previously taught “Race, Racism and the Law” and a dedication award from the Black Law Students’ Association for his volunteer support of the Isaac Moot.

As a doctoral candidate at Columbia Law School, Professor Sealy-Harrington draws on critical race theory to explore the ways in which law mediates social hierarchy, with a particular focus on the promise and limitations of “identity” rhetoric in legal discourse and advocacy concerning race, gender, sexuality, disability, and class.

As counsel at Power Law, Professor Sealy-Harrington strategically mobilizes criminal and constitutional law to advance the interests of marginalized communities. He has litigation experience before all levels of court, including as lead counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada. And a majority of his practice involves pro and low bono work for non-profit organizations promoting human rights and social justice, both in Canada and abroad.

Professor Sealy-Harrington’s writing has been published in various law journals, The Globe and Mail, Newsweek, and The Walrus. And his legal scholarship has been cited by various tribunals, including the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. He is also a frequent media commentator, whose analysis has been featured on CBC News and CTV News. And he often presents to government, academic, and private institutions on critical race theory and racial justice, including the Department of Justice, the National Judicial Institute, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, and The Advocates’ Society. He is most passionate, though, about speaking with equity-seeking groups, including the Black Law Students Association of Canada, the Indigenous Bar Association, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association.
Before joining the academy, Professor Sealy-Harrington completed three judicial clerkships—two at the Supreme Court of Canada (for Justice Clément Gascon) and one at the Federal Court (for Justice Donald J. Rennie, now of the Federal Court of Appeal).

Professor Sealy-Harrington can be followed on twitter @joshuasealy, where his online advocacy earned a “Best Twitter Account” award at the Canadian Law Blog Awards.

headshot of Nancy  Simms, M.A. ADR

Nancy Simms, M.A. ADR

Candidate Ed.D. Higher Education and Policy. OISE, University of Toronto

Education is one of the bridges to equity. This belief guides Nancy Simms and her work in the areas of violence against women and children, racial equity, adult basic literacy, human resources, and human rights. As the former Director of Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion at Humber College, Nancy’s principal task was to weave equity, inclusion and belonging throughout the college community. Nancy successfully worked with Humber’s internal and external communities to build the college’s first Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Framework that is being used to advance the college’s efforts in advancing an environment that is inclusive of all employees and students.
Currently, Nancy is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Law School where she teaches Critical Race Theory and at Humber College, she teaches in the Transformative Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Leadership Certificate program. In the fall of 2022, Nancy started an equity and anti-racist consultant company where she works alongside a number of practitioners, educators and researchers to support organizations and individuals in deepening equity and inclusion in their programs and services. Her quest is to leave the world in better shape than she entered it!

Nancy has a B.A. Honours in Psychology from York University and a M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Research from McMaster University. She is in the final months of completing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education | University of Toronto.

A thought leader in the field of human rights, equity and inclusion for several years, Nancy is often called upon for her gentle guidance and wisdom in driving equity, inclusion and belonging throughout the postsecondary sector. She is a recipient of several awards including the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women Award 2016, the CAPDHHE Distinguished Administrator Award 2017, Humber College’s Administrative Distinguished Service Award 2017, Scholar’s Choice Award 2018, Osgoode Hall Law School Adjunct Teacher Award 2021 and the inaugural Humber College Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Award 2022.
Nancy was born in Jamaica to a Guatemalan Mayan mother, Rubena Sophia Willis, and an African-Jamaican father, Harry Lambert Simms. She has two siblings, Kay Caldwell and Anthony Simms. Nancy is the proud mother of Dr. Christopher McLeish, an educational psychologist.

headshot of Craig Wellington

Craig Wellington

Executive Director & CEO, Black Opportunity Fund

Craig Wellington is the Executive Director of the Black Opportunity Fund, which aims to establish a sustainable pool of long-term funding to promote social and economic empowerment in Canada’s Black communities. Wellington has held progressive leadership positions in not for profit organizations for almost 30 years, with extensive experience working in partnership with corporations, educational institutions, and all 3 levels of government.

Craig is an experienced Diversity Equity & Inclusion consultant helping organizations in Canada and the US to develop impactful DE & I strategies. He was recently a member of the Toronto Chief of Police’s Black Community Consultative Committee, is a current member of the City of Mississauga’s Mayor’s Black Caucus, and an advisory board member of the Black Community Action Network of Peel Region (BCAN).