The third annual Black Excellence Day event will take place on January 15, 2024. The event will again be held virtually to provide a meaningful, inclusive and accessible experience for students across Canada.
Who will be involved?
  • Co-hosted and planned  with Burnaby School District #41
  • Beth Applewhite – District Principal of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Burnaby School District
  • Bill Brassington – Chair of the Burnaby Board of Education
  • Lily-Ann Karina Hayes – 18 year old Van Tech grad who created this year’s t-shirt design
  • Studio Pluto – web design studio owned and operated by Black youth
  • CanCorp Branding Inc. – Black owned and operated apparel company
  • 21+ School Districts; the number of participants is expected to be tens of thousands
  • Black Excellence Day has been officially proclaimed as a day of cultural significance.
  • A growing list of our incredible speakers is below!

Support Black Excellence Day!

Interested in making a donation or sponsoring our event?
Email us at blackexcellenceday@gmail.com for more information.

The Honourable Rachna Singh

Minister of Education and Child Care

Rachna Singh was elected as the MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers in May 2017 and re-elected in October 2020. She is the Minister of Education and Child Care.

Rachna moved from India to Canada in 2001 and chose Surrey to build a better life for her young family.

She has worked as a drug and alcohol counsellor, a support worker for women facing domestic violence, and a community activist.

Rachna has two children and is married to radio journalist Gurpreet Singh.

Tychon Carter-Newman

TV Star, Motivational Speaker, Social Media Influencer

Tychon is a Canadian Reality TV star he is the First Black Winner of Big Brother Canada and was a contestant on The Amazing Race Canada. Though an Urban Planner by trade, Tychon was able to leverage his stardom into a career as a social media influencer, motivational speaker, actor and community builder. His messaging as a public figure is about mental wellness, personal growth and a healthy lifestyle as he documents his own challenges while leading by example.

Jully Black

Singer, Songwriter, Actress

Jully Black is a true Canadian Icon. Named as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’, (CBC Music) she has been dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’ by fans and industry leaders alike. As a platinum selling recording artist, her music career has yielded multiple singles reaching the Top 10 pop, R&B and dance music charts. She has taken home Juno and Gemini Awards, earned innumerable industry accolades, was hand selected to sing for the Queen of England and inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2021 (PILLARS OF EXCELLENCE – Arts & Entertainment). With her powerhouse vocals, hilarious personality and love of people, Jully Black truly is everyone, and unlike anyone. Her passion for philanthropy has taken her from the shantytowns of Bangladesh to the villages of South Africa and all across Canada. As a woman of faith, she champions important causes and uses her career as a platform to celebrate and inspire the greatness that lies within each of us. As a songwriter, Jully has touched the hearts of her fans with her extensive music catalogue, her compositions for industry heavyweights such as Destiny’s Child and Nas, and on collaborations with songwriter, musician and performance titans such as Ian Thornley (Big Wreck). She has shared the stage with superstars such as The Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Etta James, Juno Breakthrough Artist, Jessie Reyez, hot emerging Canadian trap artist Paris Richards at Rolling Loud Festival T.O.  Jully also co-headlined Drake’s ‘Road to OVO Fest Tour’ – All Canadian North Stars  with Choclair, Kardinal Offishall, Keshia Chante’, K-OS, Maestro Fresh Wes,  Saukates, and Shawn Desmond to name a few.

Charity Williams

Olympian, Activist

While utilizing her growing platform as an athlete, Charity responds to the deep need for societal change in and out of sport. During the recent resurgence of civil rights movements, she has committed her energy towards advocating for diverse communities and bridging broader networks of solidarity.

Charity is a Jamaican Canadian activist, community leader, creative, and 2x Olympian. She is the first Black rugby player to represent Canada at the Olympics, and was a Bronze Medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games. Charity is a Youth Engagement Coordinator with BC Black History Awareness Society and Co-creator of “Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through The Black Continuum” exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. She is also a workshop facilitator and collective member of “Decolonize Together” Head of BIPOC Working Group for Rugby Canada.

Sam Darkoh

Artist, Writer, Actor

Born in New Westminster, Sam Darkoh has moved around all of his life. A graduate from Capilano University’s Acting for Stage & Screen program, Sam currently lives as a working Actor (Riverdale, DC Legends of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer) alongside being a Voice Actor (Cocomelon Lane) & Hip-Hop Musician based in Vancouver.

Krystle Dos Santos

Actor, Singer

Krystle is a two-time Western Canadian Music Award-winning blues, jazz and soul singer based in Vancouver with Guyanese roots. She has been performing for more than a decade across Canada and is known for her powerful voice and infectious warmth, pairing original soul music with beloved Motown classics. In addition to performing, she has acted in The Arts Club musical Dreamgirls and The Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen at The Firehall Arts Centre. Dos Santos continues to share her eclectic array of performances through many platforms: her fourth album of original music, BLOOM | BURN; Hey Viola!, a jazz cabaret about the life of Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond; A History Of Motown and BLAK | Canadian Women in Music shows designed for young audiences.

Marcus Mosely

Singer, Songwriter

Marcus Mosely was born in Rall, Texas, where he grew up immersed in the southern gospel tradition. A much sought-after performer, Mosely has brought his infectious gospel sound to concerts around the globe. He is well known in Vancouver for his stage roles in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Show Boat, and also wrote and directed It’s Time to Sing for the Arts Club Theatre. Mosely is a member of the award-winning popular roots gospel trio The Sojourners, who count Bobby McFerrin and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama among the music legends they have opened for. In 2011, Mosely founded the Marcus Mosely Chorale, a group of 50+ singers steeped in African American gospel and soul. The Chorale regularly performs throughout the Lower Mainland and each year participates in the celebratory Black History month opening concert.

Khari Wendell McClelland

Musician & Music Historian

Imaginative. Bold. Genuine. Hopeful. Khari Wendell McClelland is an award-winning musician and creative facilitator who uses the arts and experiential activities for transformational learning. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Khari has worked with communities across Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and the Caribbean.

In a world with increasingly complex societal challenges, the need for values-based creative solutions is paramount. Khari helps youth and adults explore core values and creativity as a means to self-actualization, community building and problem solving. His approach is warm, insightful and engaging. For Khari’s music, visit khariwendellmcclelland.com

Sam Adekugbe

Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canadian Men’s National Team member

Sam Adekugbe originally joined Vancouver Whitecaps FC in September 2011 as a member of the club’s Residency program. The defender from Calgary, Alberta was then signed to Vancouver’s MLS roster as a Homegrown player on August 28, 2013, before starting in his MLS debut in the season finale on October 27. He made his senior international debut for Canada on September 2015. As part of his development, Adekugbe has spent training stints with English Premier League club Liverpool FC and with Scottish Championship side Rangers FC in 2014. He also trained with Brighton & Hove Albion FC in 2015, and joined the English Football League Championship club on loan on July 2016 through June 2017. In July 2017, Adekugbe was loaned out to Swedish Allsvenskan club IFK Göteborg through the end of 2017. On January 8, 2018, Whitecaps FC transferred Adekugbe to Norwegian Eliteserien club Vålerenga Fotball.

In August 2023, Adekugbe re-joined Whitecaps FC via transfer from Turkish Süper Lig side Hatayspor after spending six years playing in Europe. Adekugbe agreed to a contract through 2026, with a club option for 2027.

Carl Valentine

Club Ambassador, Vancouver Whitecaps

Carl is a former professional soccer player and coach who has had a long association with soccer in the Vancouver area. Born in England, he played for the Canada national team at international level. He was the head coach of Ottawa Fury in the USL Premier Development League until taking the position as Vancouver Whitecaps FC club ambassador and staff coach in 2010, in the lead-up to the Whitecaps inaugural season in Major League Soccer. One of the all-time fan favourites and a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, Carl Valentine is the club’s all-time leader in appearances with 409 and fourth all-time in goals scored with 65.

Tosaint Ricketts

Player Liaison, Vancouver Whitecaps

Toisant is a former Whitecaps FC & Canadian Men’s National Team player. On 8 August 2019, Ricketts returned to MLS and Canada, joining Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He was re-signed to a new deal through 2022, with an option for 2023 in March 2022. At the end of the 2022 season, Vancouver announced they would not exercise the option on Ricketts’ contract for 2023, ending his playing time with the club. Ricketts was previously the Manager of Community Impact for the Whitecaps organization.

Rabbi Philip Bregman

Inter-faith Liaison, Jewish Federation of Vancouver

Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sholom Vancouver for 33 years and former Executive Director of Hillel BC from 2013 to 2021 and creator of The Other People. “The Other People” are individuals who are committed to breaking down the stereotypes that form the foundation of personal and societal bias. Their aim is to expose teenagers and young adults to people who have experienced discrimination based on their religious, ethnic or cultural background. By enabling students to meet them first hand, hear their stories and ask questions, “the OTHER People” are helping to dismantle the “us vs. them” divide that leads to prejudice, exclusion and marginalization.

Angie Osachoff

Senior Regional Program Manager, Equitas

Influenced by her family’s history in Uganda and India, Angie has been active in human rights, humanitarian issues and informal education for the past 20 years. She has written and delivered workshops on children and armed conflict, international humanitarian law and many other subjects related to human rights.

Currently, Angie Osachoff (nee Mapara) is the Senior Regional Program Manager in BC for Equitas; the International Centre for Human Rights Education. She is also vice-chair of the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, member of the City of Vancouver’s Advisory Committee on Children, Youth and Families, member of the child rights advisory board for Be Your Best Self Inc. and a member of the Child Rights Academic Network. She graduated from Queen’s University with two degrees; a major in political studies and an honours medial in development studies and political studies.

Her areas of focus are children’s rights and their authentic leadership in community and decision-making processes.

Candace Blake-Amarante

Knowledge Manager, Equitas

Candace joined Equitas in August 2022 as Knowledge Manager. She leads the development and implementation of Equitas’ knowledge strategy and supports organization-wide knowledge building, management and sharing to the broader field of human rights education.

As an artist-researcher, Candace writes stories and plays to make children aware of their rights as codified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. She holds a doctorate in political science from Columbia University in the City of New York, where she specialized in international relations, human rights, international law and peace studies.

Minnijean Brown-Trickey

Political Figure

Minnijean Brown-Trickey is an American political figure who was a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of nine African American teenagers who integrated Little Rock Central High School. The integration followed the Brown v. Board of Education decision which required public schools to be desegregated.

The Honourable David St. Pierre

Judge, Provincial Court of British Columbia

The Honorable David St. Pierre has been a sitting judge at the Provincial Court of British Columbia since 2009. He completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Alberta. After a few years working in the music business, he attended the University of Calgary for law school. For many years, he was a partner at the criminal law firm of Cobb, St. Pierre, Lewis, Barristers and Solicitors.

Lily-Ann Hayes

Artist, Creator of Black Excellence Day 2024 t-shirt design

Lily is a recent grad of Van Tech. Lily hopes to do what she is passionate about: Music or visual arts.  She interested in going to TMU, Concordia or Emily Carr to continue her studies in the arts. Lily has been painting since she was 7 years old and she has always been passionate about music. Lily believes that Black Excellence is less about being excellent and more about a deep acceptance about who we are as a people who we are as individuals.

As she created the image, here is a description of what it means:

The colour scheme of the painting was inspired by all of the schools that Lily has attended growing up. The movement and the transitions in the painting represents life transitioning and changing, reflecting her life.  The person looking away allows for anyone who observes the painting to empathize. The braids represent the weaving of Martin Luther King’s words into ourselves.