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The New Mentality’s The Gifts of Our People program is a brave space for racialized youth to engage in meaningful dialogue about their lived experiences and the impacts of racism within the sector. Together they reclaim the tools their cultures provide to liberate them from oppression. The Gifts of Our People will open with an Art Navigation to ground the participants in a 90-minute “fishbowl style” conversation, where onlookers will witness an open dialogue exploring various aspects of being Black, Indigenous and racialized in a Canadian context.

Youth and advisors of The Gifts of Our People will unpack their experiences of racism within the sector, discuss their most recent contributions to the network, and what they believe is necessary to make the Child and Youth Mental Health sector a brave space for all youth. Participants will take away actionable strategies to engage youth, and create youth leadership opportunities for youth to organize and lead braver spaces where racialized youth can unpack their feelings, thoughts and emotions about how racism affects their daily lives.


Diya Mohan (they/them): Hello! I am a 20 year old non-binary racialized youth advocate for mental health based in Scarborough. My work in the system started on a volunteer basis in the ninth grade, as a member of the New Mentality program at a local youth hub doing outreach projects. Since then, I’ve come to be part of many committees, programs, and groups as part of CMHO as a youth ally and apprentice centered on an anti-oppressive framework and creating equal opportunity for low-income youth with intersecting identities. My main focus and passion is making a more accessible and culturally-cognisant system for vulnerable youth navigating the mental health sphere in Ontario.

Boluwatife Ogunniyi (She/Her): My name is Boluwatife (Bow-loo-wah-tee-feh), my pronouns are she/her. I am currently a third-year pursuing a double major in Global Health and Bioethics at U of T. I was born in Nigeria but my family moved to Parry Sound at the start of Grade 4 and prior to that, we lived in Jamaica for a few years. I am very passionate about the intersection of healthcare, ethics, and their global implications. I have always known that I wanted to work in healthcare in some way with a focus on ways to make it more accessible to minorities. My lived experiences has also fueled my passion and interest in mental wellbeing and wellness, specifically for youths as well as the importance of being a global citizen. During my free time, I love to read, re-watch sitcoms like Modern Family and exploring museums in Toronto.

Devonna Munroe (She/Her): Is an Educator, Cultural Innovator and Mental Health Advocate. She calls on her lived experience as an African woman to guide her artistry and healing. She attended the University of Toronto, where she earned an Honours Bachelor of Science and co-founded the Imani Mentorship Program. Fifteen years later, this program continues to offer mentorship and academic support to underserved middle school and high school students. While earning a Master of Education from Brock University, she felt celebrated and supported by her professors, and this allowed her to maximize her potential as an academic writer, public speaker and researcher. Her studies at Brock University inspired her to pursue an Ontario Teaching Certificate from York University (Urban Diversity cohort) to deepen her understanding of teaching and learning. Participation in this program prompted her to actively engage with the Jane and Finch community and motivated her to reflect on the needs of the whole child. With over 10 years of teaching experience to date, Devonna is committed to honouring the humanity of her students by empowering them to share their compelling stories through the arts. Being an Art Navigator, Lead Facilitator and Consultant with The New Mentality has given her a space to extend her teaching and learning beyond the classroom, and has led her to life purpose – to compassionately curate BRAVER spaces for all.

Gin Phillips (they/them): Gin Phillips is a 21-year-old from Val-Rita, Ontario and a student at Laurentian university. Gin has participated in their local New Mentality group in Kapuskasing from 2017 to 2022, and aiding in the 2021 youth-led policy paper with CMHO focusing on BIPOC mental health. They’ve showcased a passion for advocacy by continuing in youth-focused advocacy, as well other projects and taking care to participate in their newfound community in and out of school. Gin hopes to continue in a line of work that involves advocacy, and is currently doing a bachelors in psychology. They are well-focused, creative person who enjoys art and writing as much as they do time with their friends.

Tayyba Khattak (she/her): Tayyba Khattak is a 20-year-old from Scarborough, Ontario, currently a life sciences student at the University of Toronto and an alum of The New Mentality. She has been part of The New Mentality since high school as part of her local chapter, and has received peer support training during her time in the network. Tayyba has been a part of the BIPOC Affinity Group since its establishment, and has served as the youth project lead for The Gifts of Our People. She is passionate about increasing mental health awareness in her community and providing accessible information about mental health resources.

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