December 1 to 4, 2023



Vancouver, like other cities in Canada, has a rich Black History.

Hogan’s Alley, a once thriving and significant neighbourhood that provided a safe environment for Vancouver’s existing Black Community and those newly arriving, was demolished in 1967 due to urban renewal. This destruction led to the mass displacement of all who resided there and owned successful businesses.

Since its demise, the Black Community has struggled to find its rightful place in Vancouver.

Creating places where they can connect, share, network amongst themselves and build wealth within their community are solutions that can and have contributed to their finding a sense of belonging. Yet there is still much to be done.

This discussion will focus on the evolution of the Black community in Vancouver from the past to the present.The positive changes and successes that have occurred. New existing opportunities and ways to overcome the struggles and obstacles that remain.


Nadia Tchoumi, Storyteller, Entrepreneur & Executive Director CABJ

These days, you’ll find Nadia at Union Gospel Mission, managing media and communications as well as advocating for some of Vancouver's most vulnerable. Nadia spent 17 years as a broadcast journalist, travelling the country and working in markets from coast to coast. She got her start at Rogers TV Peel as a reporter, anchor and talk show host. She’s also worked as a news writer for The Weather Network, writing weather-centric casts for a national audience. In 2010, Nadia joined the CBC, working as a multi-platform reporter and anchor in St. John’s, Calgary and Edmonton. She then moved on to spend 7 years at Global BC, where she worked as a videojournalist. She also spent six years as an editor and freelance writer for Planet Africa Magazine, a Toronto-based quarterly publication that celebrates the achievements of the black community across the diaspora. Nadia is also proud to be among the first graduates of the University of Guelph-Humber (2006). Off-camera, Nadia is active in her community as a mentor.


Brian Seremba, Co-Founder, BC Community Alliance & Steering Committee

Brian has lived in Canada for over ten years; before that, he spent his youth living in London, England. He is the co-founder of BC Community Alliance, an organization dedicated to combating anti-Black racism and creating safe learning spaces for racialized youth.

Dae Shields, Founder & Executive Director, Afro Van Connect

Dae Shields is the founder and Executive Director of Afro Van Connect Society, Community Advocate, Musician, Emcee, Designer and Curator.

Dae began Afro Van Connect April 2019 to create a platform for young creatives to come and express themselves. These Black Spaces allow young creatives to come and express themselves, share ideas and connect. They are established to create opportunities for people of African Descent to access equipment, education, training, networks, and opportunities, empowering them to creatively and economically flourish, building on their unique gifts and perspectives from their heritage and diaspora cultural experiences.

Djaka Blais, Executive Director, Hogan's Alley Society

Djaka Blais (she/her) is a seasoned bilingual social sector leader with 18 years of experience in philanthropy, government, and community mobilizing. Djaka is the inaugural Executive Director of Hogan’s Alley Society, a Vancouver-based non-profit focused on advancing the social, political, economic, and cultural well-being of people of African descent (Black People) through the delivery of inclusive housing, built spaces, and culturally informed programming. Djaka is a founding member of the Foundation for Black Communities, the first philanthropic foundation for Black communities in Canada and a fellow with SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Djaka is now a guest on the unceded and occupied ancestral lands of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), Stó:lō, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.

Etaremi Brisibe, Director of Communications of the Vancouver Black Library Foundation

Etaremi Brisibe - an undergraduate student at UBC studying medical anthropology - is a 21-year-old native of Calgary. She resides in so-called “vancouver” on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh people. Etaremi is the current Director of Communications of the Vancouver Black Library Foundation.

Kor Kase, Director

Kor Kase is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in Vancouver B.C of Ugandan Descent. He utilises and combines R&B, Hip-Hop, Soul and Afrobeat with rhythmic poetry creating a sonic experience that reflects his culture and heritage.

In 2019 Kor co-founded an artist collective called Afro Van Connect. As an organization focused on creating platforms for creatives of African descent to come together and express themselves. The intention of Afro Van Connect is to build community through creating safe spaces for healing, rooted conversations,and the arts.

Maya Preshyon, Founder and Executive Director, Vancouver Black Library Foundation

Maya Preshyon is a 21-year-old undergraduate prospective Social Work student at UBC and community/arts organizer. She resides in so-called “vancouver” on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh people. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Vancouver Black Library Foundation.

Events in that series