Creating spaces to celebrate resilience and empowerment of racialized women
Toronto, October 17, 2020 by Skills for Change
Skills for Change’s CEO Surranna Sandy was recognized today as one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch in 2020 at a virtual gala organized by the Canada International Black Women Event (CIBWE).
CIBWE is the biggest platform to showcase and celebrate Black women in Canada. The platform celebrates Black women’s achievements, endeavors, purpose and breakthroughs. CIBWE’s ultimate goal is to elevate Black women in Canada and to provide a platform where Black women from all walks of life can gather and discuss, share, connect, learn and empower one another to shine and keep growing. This forum has taken on a deeper purposeful meaning especially given the recent global outcry on racism and the uproar of the Black Lives Matter movement and the uplifting work to address Anti-Black Racism. The evening virtual gala showcased a number of outstanding Black women whose work and contributions were having a positive impact on their communities. This unique platform and the big reveal also provided an opportunity for the general public to learn about the experiences, challenges and triumphs of Black women in Canada.
As a great testament of the impact that Surranna has had, her work achievements in successfully leading Skills for Change, addressing Anti-Black Racism and the pandemic’s impact on racialized women head-on in a series of curated conversations designed to bring understanding, policy reform, mindset shift, peace and healing. Surranna has also innovatively created a unique online literacy safe space for fellow Black women to grow and flourish through reading, arts and cultural conversations. Mindful of the challenges on Black women’s mental and general health, she has openly advocated for and encouraged Black women to engage in regular cancer screenings and mindfulness to take care of their holistic wellbeing.
A dynamic leader of Skills for Change, Surranna’s achievements cannot be overstated, leading an organization successfully through the pandemic and ensuring its successful pivot to provide virtual program delivery to over 20,000 newcomers, immigrants and refugees, supporting their integration and contribution to the Canadian economy. Skills for Change offers more than 25 diverse programs and services that have served to support the underrepresented groups of newcomers, immigrants and refugees to address unemployment, find meaningful employment, equate foreign credential recognition, develop career skills, industry networks, entrepreneurship as well as supporting mental health and wellbeing.
Accepting the award, Surranna expressed great pride and joy that the acknowledgement brought, and the celebration of fellow Black women especially at this crucial time when the COVID-19 pandemic had inflicted so much suffering on fellow Black and racialized women. “Humbled to be recognized amongst so many accomplished Black Women,” Surranna said, “This award is a testament of Black women’s resilience, and of continuing to be the change that we would like to see in our communities.”
The official grand ceremony and reveal was broadcasted live from 4pm to 7pm from Zoom via CIBWE’s social media channels on Saturday, October 17 2020.