Drawing on his experience as a person of colour, including his time at EDSS, a Guelph man helped develop an app to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Sunny Nakra, a former Woolwich resident, said he was influenced by the BLM movement that kicked into gear again following the May killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as people began taking to the streets in protest. What began as a U.S. movement quickly spread to Canada and around the globe, with Nakra looking for a way to make a difference locally.
He used his past experience with racism and turned that into an app aimed at educating people about the history or racism and the current movement to combat racial injustice.
“I actually grew up in Waterloo originally, and I went to Northlake Woods (PS). [When I] was in Grade 4 or 5 I actually switched, and I moved to Conestogo. Now, when I moved to Conestogo – this is about 10 years ago – I went to high school in Elmira, and being a minority in Elmira, I faced a lot of racism myself,” said Nakra. “I’ve experienced that on my level; I knew how much worse it was for others, especially with everything going on in the world. And it wasn’t really my time to really share my story [regarding] what I faced [it was] more so [to] get people a platform to kind of just vocalize.”
Nakra says he was looking into creating something with the BLM movement and developed an app that does three big things in the way of education.
Created with web developer Samuel Boylan, the app is designed to give people a history lesson starting with segregation and moving forward through time to the present. Nakra says after going through all the compiled information, those people will be more educated than the majority of the population. The next thing the app does is give people the ability to follow up with recent events and remain abreast of things pertaining to the current movement and protests. Finally people are able to take what they’ve learned and sign petitions.
Users are also able to see businesses owned by black people and support them.
Nakra did not work with BLM groups when creating this app, however, many groups have come to him since the launch a few weeks ago and have said how good this is for things moving forward.
The app may only be a few weeks old but there are already plans for how things can be streamlined and made more effective. He plans to give people a more in-depth look into history, allowing them to search more eras and find specific content like laws enacted on people of colour. He says by doing this, it will give people a view into what it was like to face this discrimination and allow them to feel what other’s of the time felt.
Nakra says he wants to be part of the change in the future and by creating content like this now, future generations will be able to look up to those who stood against things like racism.
“I’m a big believer that positive conversation leads to more conversation. Same thing goes with anything in any content you put out in the world, you are in your head and subconsciously you’re programming those or anyone that’s consuming that content. So, I think it’s very important for us as individuals and leaders in the community that we need to really stand up. In order for the next generation to also see that prior to also see the good things that can come out of that right because now they’re inspired and are both in the leaders for tomorrow.”
He encourages people to download the app and see all the content is has to hold so everyone can help make change happen.