Wordfest Presents Desmond Cole (The Skin We’re In)
Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor
1221 2 St SW
Don’t miss this provocative and perspective-shifting conversation with one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. His first book, The Skin We’re In is a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians. Hosted by Zain Velji, this event will feature an on-stage interview, followed by an audience Q&A and book signing.
About The Skin We’re In
In May 2015, the cover story of Toronto Life magazine shook Canada's largest city to its core. Desmond Cole's "The Skin I'm In" exposed the racist practices of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times Cole had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, went on to win a number of National Magazine Awards and catapulted its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis: the devastating effects of racist policing; the hopelessness produced by an education system that expects little of its black students and withholds from them the resources they need to succeed more fully; the heartbreak of those vulnerable before the child welfare system and those separated from their families by discriminatory immigration laws.
“The Skin We're In is about the interlocking forces besieging Black life in Canada; and it is also about organizing resistance and imagining futures in bravely intimate terms. Desmond Cole is an urgent and essential voice from a generation that will be heard." —David Chariandy
Both Cole's activism and journalism find vibrant expression in his first book, The Skin We're In. Puncturing once and for all the bubble of Canadian smugness and naïve assumptions of a post-racial nation, Cole chronicles the year 2017 in the struggle against racism in this country. It was a year that saw calls for tighter borders when Black refugees braved frigid temperatures to cross into Manitoba from the States, Indigenous land and water protectors resisting the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, police across the country rallying around an officer accused of murder, and more.
In a month-by-month chronicle, Cole locates the deep cultural, historical, and political roots of each event so that what emerges is a personal, painful, and comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality.
About Desmond Cole
Desmond Cole is an award-winning journalist, radio host, and activist in Toronto. His writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, The Walrus, NOW Magazine, Ethnic Aisle, Torontoist, BuzzFeed, and the Ottawa Citizen. He hosts a weekly radio program every Sunday on Newstalk 1010.
About Zain Velji (Host)
Zain is Vice President, Strategy, at Northweather. He brings a decade of experience in political, business, and non-profit communications and marketing, with a specific focus on mobilization and engagement. Zain is also a regular political commentator who appears weekly on CBC radio and television. In addition, Zain serves on the board of the YMCA Calgary, and The Canadian Children's Book Centre. In 2017 he served as the campaign manager for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's successful election bid.