Ikem Opara

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Oral history interview with Ikem Opara conducted by Ruth Belay

22 February 2020 | A2020-0010/011S | Transcript (PDF) | Listen

Interview description

Ikem Opara, currently Director of National Learning Partnerships at the Rideau Hall Foundation, was an international student at UofT’s St. George campus. His active involvement at the University included executive roles with the Black Students’ Association (BSA), playing Varsity football, and membership in organizations such as the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the African Students’ Association and the Nigerian Students’ Association. Opara describes the personal impact that these organizations had in forming deep social connections, while emphasizing throughout the interview their commitment to create spaces of belonging on campus that reflected both racial and ethnic identities. He recounts many of the BSA’s and Alpha Phi Alpha’s activities, including mentorship initiatives, talks, social events, and discusses their underlying goals, particularly regarding the strategic use of space to highlight Black presence at the University. He reflects on the BSA’s engagement in issues such as representation within curriculum and broader community activism around police violence in the city, while also reflecting on challenges faced at UofT.

 

Organizations

  • Black Students’ Association (BSA)
  • High School Conference, Black Students’ Association
  • BLACKLIGHT, Black Students' Association
  • African Students’ Association (ASA)
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (AΦA)
  • Nigerian Students’ Association (NSA)
  • Tan Furu
  • UofT Korean Students’ Association (UTKSA)
  • Hart House, UofT

Subject Topics

  • Acculturation
  • Varsity sports
  • Mentorship
  • Equity in education
  • Black History Month
  • Community engagement
  • Solidarity networks
  • Social networks
  • Food
  • Organizational memory
  • Institutional response
  • Institutional racism
  • Funding of student groups
 

Citation: University of Toronto Archives. Oral History Collection on Student Activism. Oral history interview with Ikem Opara conducted by Ruth Belay, 22 February 2020. A2020-0010/011S.