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Black Futures Now creates space for Black girls and gender non-conforming community

Inspired by American movements such as Black Girls Are Magic and Black Girls Are From the Future

Adwoa Afful is the organizing force behind Black Futures Now Toronto, a new group dedicated to supporting black queer, non-binary and trans girls.

Liz Beddall/Metro

Adwoa Afful is the organizing force behind Black Futures Now Toronto, a new group dedicated to supporting black queer, non-binary and trans girls.

Adwoa Afful grew up experiencing a lack of support for gender non-conforming Black youth.

“I’d go to conferences and there would be great ideas about African Americans, racial issues, but nothing dedicated to young Black queer and trans girls,” said the recent York University graduate. “You were kind of on your own in terms of figuring life out, and there wasn’t much support.”

She’s out to change that.

Afful is the spark behind Black Futures Now Toronto — a public forum designed to provide Black women and girls, as well as members of the gender non-conforming community, with a safe space to share experiences.

Inspired by American groups like Black Girls Are Magic and Black Girls Are From the Future, Afful said her effort “is about addressing a gap that has existed for far too long and needs to be broken.”

The first event is Saturday at York University to discuss issues around representation and social justice. Speakers from gender non-conforming communities will lead conversations about community advocacy, queerness, art, policy, and diversity.

While the focus is specific, Black Futures Now isn’t “about excluding anyone or saying other people’s stories and experiences aren’t important,” Afful said.

Anyone from any background is welcome at events, she said.

Organizers hope to grow the group into a networking platform for young girls, with a goal of helping them become more independent and make informed decisions about their lives.

“There are definitely a lot of opportunities out there for everyone, but not many of these young Black girls know about them,” said Afful. “We hope our platform becomes their go-to place.”

Update - 9:10 a.m. July 15, 2016 - This article has been edited to clarify the goals of the Black Futures Now conference. Metro regrets the error.

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