About Dr. Tope Adefarakan
Equity and Human Rights
Diversity and Inclusion
Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression
Intersectional Gender-Based Violence
African Indigenous Frameworks of Knowledge and Practice
I am an EDI professional who is now approaching almost 20 years of demonstrated leadership as an educator, academic, and grassroots Black feminist advocate and activist. I use an intersectional, anti-racist, anti-oppressive and anti-colonial approach to help individuals and organizations address racism and other forms of discrimination to develop a workplace culture and climate that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.
With a doctoral degree in Equity and Social Justice in Education, and Women and Gender Studies, I developed a solid foundation in theory that informs EDI work, while simultaneously practicing through anti-racism, anti-oppression and human rights frameworks – the hallmarks of equity and inclusion. My seasoned experience in merging academic theory with grassroots activism has produced a particular type of EDI approach that focuses on the soul of an organization to yield results in terms of transforming its culture and climate through: diverse and inclusive employee representation; delivery of trainings, workshops and learning sessions; development of policies, practices and procedures that are equity centered and informed by community engagement; and service provision and delivery for equitable outcomes.
I am a seasoned educator who holds a Bachelor of Education degree, and am also a faculty member at the University of Toronto’s Transitional Year Programme (TYP), an equity hub with a strong ethos of inclusion, diversity and belonging. There is a specific focus on increasing Indigenous and African-Canadian attendance since these communities have been historically under-represented due to legacies of colonialism, expressed as anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism.
In 2017, I became the first Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Lead at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, the second largest child welfare agency in Ontario. In this role, I lead in the development and implementation of an anti-Black racism strategy and embedding anti-racism and anti-oppression culture and practice across the organization. I lead the implementation internally for staff and senior leadership, and externally to improve community engagement and services to Black children, youth and families, as well as other equity-seeking communities involved with child welfare.
When my son continued to be harmed by anti-Black racism in the education system, I joined Advocacy Peel (Peel African Youth Advocacy) as a core member. Advocacy Peel is a coalition of diverse African-Canadian parent communities that are advocating for an Ontario school system free of anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination.
I have been the Board Co-Chair at The Women’s Centre for Social Justice – popularly known as WomenatthecentrE – for almost 10 years, where I hold the Education and Research portfolio. I provide leadership to build organizational capacity and awareness on the intersection of anti-Black racism and gender-based violence, particularly, how anti-Black racism manifests in the larger violence against women sector as misogynoir. I have also recently joined Ontario’s Domestic Violence Death Review Committee as one of the only two Black women to serve as participating members.
Today, it is all of these roles -both personal and professional- that inform my particular approach to EDI as focused on well-being, the soul of an organization. I consult with individuals, non-profits, organizations and other institutional bodies to address existing barriers in achieving equity and well-being in the workplace.