Joel Assogba

Country of Origin:

Togo

Themes:

Citizenship, Immigration, Black History/African Heritage, Asian Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Francophonie, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada, Refugee Experiences

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Bio

Joel is an African-Canadian-Japanese, with the spirit and soul of a world citizen. He ran a language school “Queen’s,” where he taught English and French for 17 years. He is also a writer-illustrator and a passionate public speaker. He has published many trilingual books (Japanese / English / French) and articles in Japan’s main newspapers (Yomiuri, Asahi and Mainichi.) He is a regular contributor to The Japan Times ST. Author of five illustrated books: "The Rainbow’s Kids," "Wind of Freedom," "What Color are Burdocks," "I’m not a Foreigner," and "Respect for Life." He has published a bilingual book titled "平和・ピース・Peace" to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He has designed and published two colourful posters to promote multiculturalism and prevent Ijime (bullying) in Japan. He travels all over Japan to give lectures in Japanese on parenting, education of the heart, universal values, crime prevention, and human rights.

Joel believes that Canada is one of the greatest nations in the world, where people of all colours and cultures are welcome. No matter where you were born, or when you became a citizen of this nation, you have the right to be treated with fairness. Joel believes in speaking out against racism to make Canada an even greater nation.

Story

As an author-illustrator of children's books dealing with social justice, and a passionate public speaker - I spend a lot of my time giving lectures on human rights to children and their parents, encouraging the latter to be proactive in fighting against racism.

After one of my lectures, a mother came and spoke to me in these words: “I am not racist. I treat each and every person with respect, and ask my children to do the same. Why should I to do more than that ?”

It goes without saying that the vast majority of Canadians are not racists. But, how many are actively opposing and fighting racial discrimination? I myself believe that a society -indifferent and passive towards racism is in fact encouraging it. So, each of us must stand up and say a BIG NO to racism, and also promote Ethnic & Cultural Diversity on a daily basis!