TRUSU is looking forward to bringing back experts to TRU by having virtual discussions with students about issues surrounding anti-blackness, urban planning in Indigenous communities and alternative forms of justice.
Shantelle Bishop, a Campaigns Representative at TRUSU, and Kole Lawrence, the Vice-President External at TRUSU, have been behind the planning of the Breaking Bread discussions.
“The breaking bread project is a discussion series,” Lawrence said. “What we’ve done is try to reach out to a bunch of community leaders and organization heads over the past year or so and see if they’d be interested in facilitating some sort of discussion with a group of eight to 15 students on a given topic.”
Since 2019, TRUSU has held eight Breaking Bread discussions, with the next one being about Anti-Blackness in Higher Education on Feb. 9 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Bishop spoke to the importance of this event, especially during Black History Month.
“The guest speaker will be Dr. Funké Aladejebi,” Bishop said. “She is a black woman and an activist. She’s an assistant professor at the department of history at the University of Toronto. It’s a great privilege to have her as a speaker since she has focused a lot of her research on anti-blackness in higher education.”
“My personal goal was to have honest and impactful discussions on black history and racism, the lack of blackness in institutions and the curriculum, and strategies that other universities have implemented to create change,” Bishop said.
“We are very grateful to be having this discussion during black history month as well. Since it’s like the best time to educate others on black history, the work that black people around the world, the struggles that black people face and still face today but also uplift and celebrate the work that has been done by activists and trailblazers all across Canada,” Bishop said.
TRUSU wants to bring the conversation to students and let them have a chance at contributing their voices to these important conversations.
“As a black woman, it’s very liberating and exciting to have these opportunities. There was a time that when people looked like me, and never had the opportunity to create much change,” Bishop said. “Students can come across from wherever, from any background or have no knowledge and just want to learn something new and they can have that opportunity as well.”
Upcoming later in February is a discussion about urban planning in Indigenous communities.
“We have one with Dr. Leonie Sandercock,” Lawrence said. “She’s a UBC professor, she teaches in the Indigenous community planning concentration in the school of Indigenous community planning.”
TRUSU’s last planned Breaking Bread discussion is about alternative forms of justice, which will take place in March.
“We have another Breaking Bread planned with a B.C. Supreme Court Judge; his name is Len Marchand. He’s dealt with a lot of cases in lands justice and Indigenous rights and things like that,” Lawrence said.
Anyone interested in attending any of the three discussions can head over to TRUSU’s website at trusu.ca/events and register for any of the Breaking Bread discussions. A full list of dates and times for each of the Breaking Bread discussions is available on their website. The discussions are limited to 15 spots.