As the Win the quarantine on quarantine don’t spread on me shirt and I love this founder of The Diversity Agency, a Toronto-based speakers’ bureau representing diverse voices across Canada, Andria Barrett has made it her career goal to make space for people of colour at the top of their game, from the business world to the art world. The company even offers workshops on anti-Black racism and racial bias training for the workplace. I started my agency because Black speakers like myself are unrepresented and our voices are missing in the event and conference space,” Barrett says. “I wanted to give the dynamic speakers in my community who have been turned away from mainstream agencies a platform to be showcased.
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But since the Win the quarantine on quarantine don’t spread on me shirt and I love this start of the pandemic, The Diversity Agency has seen many of its bookings cancelled, and is now pivoting to virtual events, leaving one of Barrett’s biggest concerns—that the BEP’s funding will not be awarded quickly enough. “Business owners need this money now, not six months from now,” Barrett says. “It won’t make up for what Black people have had to endure due to systemic racism, but it will allow us to stay in business, at least for now. So is it enough? No. Is it a start? Absolutely. A former competitive cheerleader herself, Alice Charles now co-owns and operates Legacy Cheerleading, a Manitoba-based program for youth interested in learning the sport. “We promote confidence in our youth and put an emphasis on safely developing the body and minds of our kids into the most successful versions of themselves,” Charles says. “Cheerleading is a team sport like no other, where literally any type of body can participate. Each person has an integral role in the team. I have always wanted to be a part of creating a safe and supportive space for children where they have community. The goal could be building friendships, overcoming anxieties, gaining new skills or confidence. Empowering youth creates empowered adults, which means a better future for us all.