New Black Generation initiative offers a helping hand

New Black Generation founders (left to right), Sabrina Buteau, Anaïssa Dauphin, Molly, and Josephine Vilna, are providing a safe space for black students everywhere. Courtesy photo by Anaïssa Dauphin / The Concordian

Discover the new all-black female youth group supporting black students.

Imagine Jamaican dancehall music playing through loudspeakers. A semi-circle of people cheering on two dancers, dressed in matching red shirts and black pants. Bright blue lights shine off the brown skin of attendees and decorate the walls as they clap and dance along. On the outskirts of the crowd of last year’s event, co-founder Anaïssa Dauphin watched the success of New Black Generation’s first talent show. 

Formed in 2023, New Black Generation is a newly formed organization made for Black youth in Montreal. Run by four Black women, the group is made of a collection of students from Vanier College and Concordia University. 

New Black Generation teaches and hosts events like last year’s talent show “to educate, uplift, and inspire” Black youth, as described in their mission statement.  

“It’s basically like a community that we’re trying to build for […] young Black people who have big dreams and ambitions but kind of lack the support,” Dauphin explained. “Whether it be through school or family, […] we try to provide a platform and support system for them.”

While Dauphin is a first-year journalism student at Concordia, she’s already invested in many Black-centered communities at Concordia. As an ambassador of the Haitian Student Association of Concordia (HSAC) and the African Student Association of Concordia (ASAC), Dauphin wanted to give more to the community, leading her to form New Black Generation.

“I grew up in a family that’s really involved in the community. So, I’ve always [seen] my mom, my grandma, doing stuff for the community and it kind of became second nature to me,” Dauphin said. “I felt like I owed that to the community as well and it’s always been something I’m passionate about, and just as a young Black woman in the community, I see the needs. I see stuff that I wish that I had as well, and I think that it’s kind of the same thing with my friends.”

Dauphin’s mother and grandmother used to work in an association called La Maison d’Haïti for people of Haitian origin, including young mothers and teen girls. Dauphin said seeing this in her youth and participating in it inspired her to create New Black Generation. 

Even though Dauphin was already involved with other associations with the Black community, she formed New Black Generation with her friends to work towards the goal of providing service to the local Black community in a unique way. As youths themselves, it gives them a different opportunity to interact with the youths of the Black community. 

 “[Sometimes], most of the associations for Black youth are run by adults and people who are older […] and we just want people who are in our age groups, people who are our peers to just share things with and to be led by,” Dauphin said.

New Black Generation is a youth group made outside of Concordia. This means the youth group has more reach, being open to the larger community beyond schooling. “[It] opens doors for environments where people in two […] different worlds could meet,” Dauphin says. “It just merges gaps […] and that’s important to me.”

New Black Generation also works to offer solutions to some challenges. Dauphin explained that the Black community faces a “lack of support” and understanding from the older generation in the struggles Black youth face in current times. 

“I feel like there is such a large gap between us and [our] parents or grandparents, where they don’t have the same reality as us,” Dauphin said. 

Dauphin believes the New Black Generation can help address this issue. “[This] is why we named the association New Black Generation, to let people know that people who are your age understand your struggle, we understand what you are going through,” Dauphin said.

Through events hosted by New Black Generation, like the talent show, Dauphin made some observations on the Black Concordia community: “I’ve seen that we really have a lot of talent, and determination to reach our goals, which is where the idea came from in the first place.”

With this common ground, Dauphin hopes to foster that talent and determination she sees in the community.

“I’ve seen that with the right support and the right motivation, we can achieve so much,” she said.

The other members attest to her efforts. Josephine Vilna, a graduating Architectural Technology student at Vanier and one of the founding members of New Black Generation, said Dauphin has greatly impacted the community with her work and her “great ideas,” adding that she is a “great motivator” for change.

Vilna said New Black Generation is “providing a safe space for the Black youth to grow and develop.” With Dauphin’s guidance, New Black Generation is on track to steadily achieve their goals. 

“We are here to educate and positively impact people who have the same problem that a person with our color has,” said Sabrina Buteau, another co-founder of the organization. “We are creating a safe place for them to express themselves and feel safe.”

Dauphin also spoke on her plans for future outreach. “We’re still very new but we have a lot in store for this year, and we really hope to be able to reach more than just younger people like teenagers,” Dauphin said. “We want to reach people at Concordia and other universities and colleges as well.”

Currently, they are only operating through their Instagram page, However, they hope to expand their team soon.

“Everyone is allowed to be in the team,” Buteau said. “We need every kind of talent here. The more we are, the better it will be.”

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