Together with Alliance2030 and Vocal Fry Studios, CFC hosts No Little Plans—a podcast on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Canada.
As we transition into a new year, we are also welcoming a new podcast host, Tokunbo Adegbuyi. Tokunbo is a community development professional based out of Edmonton, Alberta where he works with the Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton and is completing his Masters of Arts in Community Development at the University of Victoria. We are so excited to have Tokunbo as part of the No Little Plans and CFC network, and we can’t wait to hear his contributions to the podcast.
🎧 The Learning Curve
Black students in Canada have higher dropout rates, suspensions and expulsions than their peers. How can we make education in Canada more equitable?
Q: Welcome to the team! What has it been like working on the podcast?
The podcast has been going really well. The first episode that I was brought on to work on was largely about race and racism, which isn’t actually an SDG that’s listed by name, so we’ve had to really craft this episode in in a way that is relevant to Canadians, relevant to the SDGs, and then also relevant to my experiences living in my one corner of Canada.
We were working with this broader topic of racism, and the current movement towards anti-racism, and we fine-tuned [the episode] to a conversation about one institution—education—and how it upholds these standards and enables this racism in Canadian society.
We’re speaking with experts and journalists and people who have gone through Canada’s educational system, and talking to them about how racism plays into all of these different areas from the top in policy development, to the classroom, to what’s in the curriculum, to how teachers have interactions with their students, and all these other resources that are brought into a school that may have a positive or negative effect on a racialized child.
It’s been very fascinating, and it’s also been very illuminating in regards to things that I had experienced in my own childhood, and helping to put some concrete context to those experiences and kind of validating those experiences.
Q: That’s great to hear. Can you speak to this feeling of “illumination” you’ve had?
When you’re a kid, when you’re a little black kid like me, there’s always the question of, “am I being treated differently because of my race?” And there are some obvious dead ringers—like none of my teachers were able to figure out my name for as long as my academic career; and you get confused for the other black kids; and then in Alberta, where I grew up, I was one of like seven black children in the whole school for my entire public education—so there are obviously some overt differences, but there are also these smaller, kind of insidious things that modern-day-me would call a “microaggression.”
As a student, as a kid, you never really have that vocabulary, have that context to be able to advocate. But now, when we have all of this movement and this groundswell around fighting anti-Black racism—not to say that this started in 2020, I want to I want to make that really clear—but now that there’s a larger public vested interest in fighting against this, I have been able to see through the literature, through other people sharing their experiences through people in equity, diversity and inclusion, releasing all of these pieces, that my experience was not only not unique, there were many other black students that felt the exact same way as I did, and that there is a wide variety and disparity in how severe these experiences could have been.
I guess it’s just validating for me, since I was always thinking, “Is this true? Am I being paranoid? Like is it is it really a problem here?” And yes, studies show that it is a problem here. So I’m excited to kind of bring that to light and to ground this conversation that’s been happening largely in the United States, and bring it to Canadians and say we have a very similar set of issues here that need to be addressed.
Q: You’re bringing a valuable live-experience contribution to this episode that will no doubt be felt and heard in your hosting. Are there any other traits or interests you’re excited to be bringing to and incorporating into the podcast?
In this particular episode, the obvious connection is I am a Black, I’ve been Black for a long time and I am excited to speak to those issues, but beyond that, as far as other parts of my identity, I’m a first-generation citizen, I’m twenty-seven years old, I have lived my life in Western Canada.
We’re talking about issues of climate change and criminal justice and race, and all these other issues in this upcoming season, and I feel as though, living among a currently conservative Western Canadian perspective, I feel like I can bring that perspective to this, to the table and to these next couple of episodes. We have people [here in Alberta] that are working towards these kinds of changes in a more liberal direction.
I think that the perspective I also bring is as someone who has worked in schools for a long time. I’ve always approached these issues generationally, asking “what are we going to be doing for the next generation to make things more equitable for them and all of these different areas”? When I look at the social development goals, I’m thinking, yes, for me and for my family and for my life, but also for future Canadians. I’m also in a program that is specifically training me to be a community developer, so I look at a lot of these issues from a systems-based lens.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about where and what you’re studying?
I’m doing a lovely program through the University of Victoria. I’ve been doing it virtually since 2019, so COVID hasn’t affected that much of my education. I’m very thankful for that. I’m doing a Masters of Arts in Community Development. Shoutout to the twenty nineteen cohort—we out here.
I’m currently in the space where I’m beginning to start my research project. I want to talk about the gig economy as we know it, with applications and people who are employed through [food delivery apps] like DoorDash and Skip the Dishes. I want to talk about the quality of that work. I wasn’t thinking of this in 2019 when I had first put this idea together, but with COVID, the idea of how we treat these workers is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
In 2019, I was just thinking like, is this really sustainable? We’ve displaced a lot of people that worked in these traditional forms of industry before. What are we doing for health protections and occupational health and safety and benefits? Now that we have these people as essential workers, who are putting themselves at the most risk in the middle of a pandemic, I’ve just underlined all of those questions that I wrote down a year ago.
Q: Which Sustainable Development Goal would you say best speaks to your work?
There is a goal that specifically speaks to quality, safe work. No Little Plans has actually done an episode on this type of work.
Q: Are there any other SDGs that you’re particularly passionate about?
Yes, there is Reduced Inequalities which is a goal that I care about a lot because of the way it’s written. It’s very intersectional, and it touches on a lot of different goals that are in that list.
Q: Who should check out the latest season of No Little Plans?
I look at the world right now, and I see activism and protest and all these things on Twitter and TikTok, there is a strong appetite among young people for social justice in all of its forms.
If that means environmental, if that means in the workplace, if that means civil rights, I think this show is for you. Especially the Canadian folks who are looking at mostly American content in these American movements and thinking, “Canada has work to do, too. How come no one’s talking about Canada?” Good news: we are. Truly, I would recommend the show to anybody, because it is a show that talks about the world that we live in, and how we’re going to keep it and make it sustainable, because we’re not there yet.