NINE MILE, St ANN’S JAMAICA – Birth Place of BOB MARLEY & MARCUS GARVEY
1. FASHION (S.F.A Clothing Co.)
2.MUSIC (Artists/Music Production)
3.COMMUNITY OUTREACH (high School tour/Performances)
4. ALTERNATIVE MEDIA (StolenFromAfrica.com/sfatv)
Stolen From Africa is a Toronto Based Movement used to promote cultural and historical awareness and education through the arts. We hope to empower society by confronting the issues which arise at the nodes in our society where race and class seem to intersect. While we deal primarily with the black and indigenous communities in particular, we remain interested more generally in all oppressions faced by our communities worldwide.
Stolen From Africa began as a t-shirt campaign in 2004. We found that through promoting various messages and stories of oppression on everyday street apparel, we were able to spark interest, ignite ideas and fuel discussion. Our initial mandate was to address the circumstances which have led to increased violence and gun use amongst Toronto’s youth. Using hip-hop music and culture to address issues which are often overlooked in mainstream music and media, we began the production of a Stolen From Africa mix-tape, titled ‘Banning Guns Won’t Stop Gun Violence Changing Mindsets Will’. While the name speaks for itself, the point of the mix-tap was to bring together various artists from Toronto’s underserviced communities for a common cause. This tape led to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) collaboration, and we began speaking at high-schools and community events, including C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, the high-school where 14-year-old Jordan Manners was shot. During these outreach sessions we looked not only at the current problem of youth-violence but the historic circumstances which have allowed this and many other issues to persist.
Eventually with the support of various organizations working for underserviced youth together with the recognition of political figures such as Toronto Mayor David Miller; The Stolen From Africa Movement was born. The SFA Movement uses music, film, fashion, internet reporting and community outreach sessions to educate and engage all of Toronto’s communities. We believe that only through knowledge of the past can people begin to look forward and excel beyond what they have been told they are. With the support of the Canadian Heritage Foundation we have been able to clearly exemplify this message with our current documentary project entitled “Stolen from Africville”
Over the last five years SFA has had many opportunities to work with youth locally and abroad. After the successful response we received from the initial T-shirt campaign, SFA embarked upon a series of workshops with the support of the TDSB. Aimed at Toronto’s high-school students, the workshops were intended to debunk common myths and stereotypes. Our intention was to allow youth to see that they are and could choose to be more than what they had been taught. Through arming youth with relevant knowledge we were able to ask them not to resort to violence. This project was a complete success, most obviously seen from the feedback we have received from the youth who have participated.
Along with our own initiatives, SFA has supported and participated in many other community projects. In the summer of 2008 we were specifically invited by the United Nations to participate in the “Your City Crime Prevention Program” in Durban, South Africa. We have participated in events at both McGill and Queen’s universities, we have contributed to the HotDocs film festival, the NXNE (North by North East) Music Festival, Canadian Music Week, we have filmed events for the Trillium foundation and have been invited to participate and run workshops for the Global Youth Assembly in Edmonton. While all of these opportunities have been invaluable to our mission and our own learning experiences, however our focus now is to run a project based on teaching youth the media skills we have acquired. We feel that this proposed project will be the first step in our mission to create a permanent home for the SFA movement.
Not only does SFA engage youth, it is youth, as they are the inspiration, creators, audience and the consumers of what we produce. Through speaking to youth, SFA is able to learn what youth need and want, and we are then in a position to offer that back to them.
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-30383753-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);