Recording of Fearing the Black Body: A Panel Discussion on Gender, Violence, Misrepresentation & Resistance

""Enjoy this recording of the Fearing the Black Body panel discussion that took place on February 28, 2017 as part of our Thick Skin event series! Recording courtesy of Hannah Besseau at CKUT.

Many thanks to our wonderful speakers Robyn Maynard, Marlihan Lopez and J. Ellise Barbara as well as to our Peer Support Training Coordinator and A Safer Community volunteer, Jada Joseph for facilitating this wonderful discussion.

The panel traced the evolution of anti-Blackness in Canada and discuss the current context, focusing on the realities of Black cisgender and trans women, and gender non-conforming people. Panelists also discussed the ways in which institutions, including the legal system and police, perpetuate gendered and anti-black violence and spoke about local organizing work to address systemic anti-black racism, sexism and transmisogyny.

Speaker Biographies

J. Ellise Barbara is a Montreal-based avant-garde singer-songwriter and artist whose musical output combines elements of brazen 80s funk, late 70s underground, and downtown no wave. A lover of the odd, dark, and overlooked elements in pop music, they find inspiration in unexpected sources, like off-the-radar acts Su Tissue, Kashif, Francis Bebey, and obscure new wave duo Rexy. Rising from artist-run spaces such as La Brique and Drones Club at the turn of the current decade, J. Ellise Barbara has seen their work soar to enduring acclaim in countries such as Japan and France, in a short career whose highlights include duets with Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), and DIY icon R. Stevie Moore. Since going on an indeterminate hiatus, Barbara’s efforts have been partly centered around LGBTQ community organizing (Taking What We Need, ASTTeQ, African Rainbow). They are working on a long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s Soft To The Touch.

Marlihan Lopez is a Black feminist who’s been involved in movements for the rights of women and Afro-descendant people in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Her background includes more than 10 years of experience in community organizing, feminist activism and intercultural education, as well as a Masters in International Studies. She is a community organizer with collectives combatting racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination such as Tout le hood en Parle and Montreal Noir, as well as the president of the Fondation Paroles de femmes, which works to create inclusive spaces for racialized women to speak and take action.

Robyn Maynard is a Black feminist who has spent years documenting racist and gender-based state violence. She has also spent the better part of the decade doing frontline harm-reduction in Montreal and is currently completing her first book Policing the Black Body: State Violence and Black Life in Canada, for Fernwood Publishing. Robyn’s past work has involved full-time street-based outreach with sex workers at Montreal’s non-profit organization Stella, doing harm-reduction, rights-based education and medical, legal, and social service accompaniments surrounding health and anti-violence. A harsh critic of systemic racism in all of its forms, Maynard has been involved in grassroots organizing against police violence. Most recently, she helped co-found Montreal Noir, a Black activist group committed to combatting anti-Black racism in Quebec, and is a part of the Black Indigenous Harm Reduction Alliance.

Statement on bomb threat that targeted Muslim students at Concordia University

""The Centre for Gender Advocacy strongly condemns the March 1st, 2017 bomb threat that directly targeted the Muslim students of Concordia University. We stand in solidarity with Muslim communities.

This bomb threat is a result of Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism, which remain rooted in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Islamophobia is not recent, nor is it perpetuated solely by fringe individuals and hate-groups, but also by government policies and rhetoric which have especially been prevalent after 9/11. Islamophobic discourse during the proposed 2013 Charter of Values, among other bills, was already creating a hostile environment for Muslims and racialized communities in Quebec. The rhetoric around hijabs and niqabs during the 2015 federal election also demonstrated that Islamophobia and xenophobia are not isolated to Quebec, nor are they
the result of merely one political party.

We, at the Centre for Gender Advocacy, remain committed to our mandate to provide a safer and inclusive space for all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion. To uphold our mandate, we stand firmly against all forms of discrimination, including Islamophobia.

Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism are not welcome at the Centre for Gender Advocacy, nor should they ever be tolerated by any institution.

Call for Zine Submissions: Intersectionality & Sexual Violence

(français ci-dessous)

Call for Zine Submissions: Intersectionality & Sexual Violence
Deadline: Tues, Feb 28, 11:59pm

Zine making can be a powerful tool for education and healing, enabling us to express our inner emotions in a creative way. Join us in creating a collective zine that will center the voices of survivors/victims of sexual violence through an intersectional perspective!

Through this zine, we wish to to highlight the intersections of people’s lives such as race, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, gender, sexual orientation, and social class, centering the voices of those most vulnerable to sexual violence. Recognizing that the voices most often heard in discussions of sexual violence are those of white heterosexual cis women, we wish to create a zine that reflects the lives of survivors/victims who rarely have the platform to share their stories. This includes Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, trans people, sex workers, those affected by poverty and homelessness, people living with (dis)abilities, gender nonconforming people, and non-status people.

While we are based out of Concordia University, we recognize that sexual violence occurs in many different contexts other than university campuses.

We welcome submissions such as short stories, poems, drawings, photography, and other forms of art.

We will accept submissions in French, English and other languages. For submissions in other languages, please include additional information such as the context and themes discussed.

We will accept zine submissions until Tues, Feb 28 at 11:59pm. To make a submission, email Please include a brief bio.


Appel de soumissions pour un zine intersectionnel sur la violence sexuelle

Faire un « zine » peut être un outil puissant d’éducation et de guérison, nous permettant d’exprimer de façon créative nos sentiments. Rejoignez-nous dans la création d’un zine collectif centré sur les voix des victimes/survivant.e.s de violence sexuelle à travers une perspective intersectionnelle!

Par ce zine, nous souhaitons souligner les intersections d’expériences vécues telles que la race, le statut socio-économique, le handicap, le genre, et l’orientation sexuelle, afin de recentrer les voix de celles et ceux qui sont les plus vulnérables à la violence sexuelle. Reconnaissant que les voix des femmes cis hétéros blanches sont souvent privilégiées, nous souhaitons créer un zine qui reflétera davantage la vie des victimes/survivant.e.s qui ont rarement la chance d’avoir une plateforme où elles peuvent partager leurs histoires. Ceci inclut les personnes Noir.e.s, les Autochtones, les personnes racisées, les femmes trans, les travailleuses du sexe, celles et ceux affecté.e.s par la pauvreté et les sans-abri, les personnes non-conforme au genre et les personnes sans statut.

Bien que nous soyons basé.e.s à Concordia nous reconnaissons que la violence sexuelle a lieu dans plusieurs contextes autres que les campus universitaires.

Nous acceptons des soumission en forme de textes, poèmes, photographies, dessins, etc. Elles peuvent être en français, en anglais, ou dans d’autres langues. Pour les soumissions qui ne sont pas en français ou en anglais, nous vous demandons d’inclure des informations pour indiquer le contexte et le contenu de la soumission.