The Cypher: Black Male Empowerment Webinar Series

Posted On Thursday April 22, 2021

Continues to Successfully Reach Black Male Students Virtually

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) is dedicated to creating equitable, diverse and inclusive environments for students and staff. The annual Cypher: Black Male Empowerment Series has changed for this year and is running virtually in a webinar format. This virtual series is reaching more students, making it safe and convenient for attendees to participate and have meaningful conversations with classmates and teachers.

The Cypher: Black Male Empowerment Series invites Black male students in Grades 6 to 8, to connect, network with Black male role models, explore a wide range of academic pathways, and help eliminate barriers to success. The webinar series started in February and the next events are scheduled for May 19 and 26.

The series aligns with the DDSB’s Equity and Diversity Strategic Framework and the Compendium of Action for Black Student Success, highlighting the importance of fostering a connection to the community, the need for Black male role models and opportunities that challenge the current Black male narrative.

More information and past webinars from this year have been posted online and interested students and parents/guardians can view them by visiting:


“The information empowered me, learning about all of the Black male stereotypes. I am now aware of Black male stereotypes and how I may be perceived in my community and North America. The Cypher Series also provided me with the tools I can use to succeed in the future and to inspire others to their full potential,” Carter Bryce, Grade 8 student from Southwood Public School

 “It is important for Black male students to see successful Black men who broke the negative barriers that society has on the Black community. They have the opportunity to have resources and build mentorship to help them navigate their pathways. The Cypher supports the saying of “if I can see it, then I can be it”,” Lynda Dortelus, Cypher Co-Chair

“Students have an opportunity to network and hear the stories of Black men who experienced systemic racism yet persevered. This year, as a response to anti-Black racism, The Cypher Webinar Series helps Black students unpack their identity in the context of being a student in the Durham Region,” says Kokhulani Yasodaran, Cypher Co-Chair

“The Durham District School Board is dedicated to providing students with positive and equitable outcomes and the Cypher series, does that, by empowering young Black males. The event aligns with the priorities in the Compendium of Action for Black Student Success and we are happy to see that Cypher is continuing to have a great impact, especially during the pandemic.” Margaret Lazarus, Superintendent of Education.

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) is responsible for public education in the rural settings of Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog Townships and the urban settings of Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa. The DDSB employs 6,900 teaching and educational services staff. With 133 elementary and secondary schools and learning centres, the DDSB accommodates more than 70,000 regular day students and thousands more who take advantage of a wide variety of continuing education and adult credit courses. More information can be found on the DDSB’s website at Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB, Instagram @durhamschools and YouTube at DurhamDSB.