Akeem has been a student at Hudson College since Grade 6. Over the years, he has picked up various interests – including guitar, drama, and basketball – but he never thought that social activism might be one of them. Last month, however, Akeem gave a presentation at Ellington’s Café that moved a room full of poets, activists, and artists to create change.
It all started in last year’s Communications Technologies course (also known as the Hudson Broadcast Network). Students were assigned the task of creating a pilot episode for their own TV show. Students chose a variety of styles: comedy, drama, and documentary. Akeem decided he wanted to make a documentary about Caribana, which led him to become more familiar with the festival’s founder, Mr. Charles Roach. Mr. Roach was a human rights activist and civil rights lawyer in Toronto. He was a well-respected leader in Toronto’s Black community, who had represented cases in the Supreme Court of Canada and International Criminal Tribunals.
Akeem was intrigued by Mr. Roach’s contributions and philosophies, and set out to film a documentary about his life. Undaunted by Mr. Roach’s fame and status, Akeem pursued all avenues of acquiring information. His school project became a wonderful tribute, including interviews with poets whom Mr. Roach had inspired, musicians whom he had promoted, and even the late lawyer’s wife, Mrs. June Roach. The film documents Mr. Roach’s humble upbringing to his rise to international recognition as a determined activist and lawyer.
Akeem presented his film during a special edition of Sunday Poetry at Ellington’s on St. Clair Avenue West, honouring Charles Roach. His film was the feature presentation of the afternoon, and was received very well by the audience of Mr. Roach’s friends and admirers. After the film, many of the attendees offered their congratulations. Some have invited Akeem to continue building upon this project with more interviews as well as professional filming and editing. He has also been asked to join in the continuation of Mr. Roach’s campaign for Canadian citizenship reform.
Hudson is proud of Akeem’s success on this project. Most of all, we are proud that he has taken his learning outside of the classroom to make a difference in his community. Congratulations, Akeem!