February 23, 2017
#BlackOnCampus: Brie Berry-Crossfield
University of Toronto
Graduate studies can be isolating and confusing for many people, especially because we are so spread out across UofT. The representation of Black graduate students is so small that I sometimes have to remind myself that we exist and we belong here too.
For me, to be a Black Student leader meant making sure I’ve been authentic to myself. It took me a while, but to not apologize for my Blackness, my commitments to community and to hold on to my values sometimes meant rejecting being a “Student Leader”. I think when you enter student politics there becomes an expectation to behave and carry yourself a certain way that replicates what we see in other institutions which can be harmful and unproductive. I just happen to be someone who was elected to advocate for graduate interests and I’ve been happy to do that because I care about the wellbeing of my members.
Brie is a 2nd year student, completing her Master in Education at OISE. In her position as the Finance and University Governance Commissioner at the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU), her focus is on creating equitable education experiences for students through increased funding opportunities and community development to create stronger coalitions both on and off campus. She is also an organizer with the Black Liberation Collective@UofT.