Step Forward Podcast

The Step Forward podcast is a limited series dedicated to providing space for deep conversations about anti-Black Racism in Ontario and beyond. This series, hosted by Kondwani Mwase is a collaboration spearheaded by the Ontario AIDS Network, produced by 54Lights podcast.

Throughout the series, we’ll be speaking with Black leaders from diverse professional and personal backgrounds. While each conversation will be unique, these discussions will explore and reflect on a single question: To what extend does white dominant culture and white supremacy impede the HIV public health response?

Brought to you by the
Ontario AIDS Network

Produced by


EPISODE SIX: The (Podcast) Finale

In this final series episode of Step Forward host, Kondwani Mwase, revisits key lessons, wisdom, and calls to action from each of our five speakers. Hear key reflections, what’s next, and how to Step Forward in your own work.

Kondwani is a Toronto-based podcast producer, host and marketing branding specialist at 54Lights Studios. Throughout the past six months, Kondwani has guided our Step Forward guests and listeners through deep conversations about privilege, power, and doing the work. Kondwani is also the host and producer of 54Lights, a podcast that offers offers an alternative to mainstream depictions of Africa, and celebrates the resilience, strength and extraordinary journey(s) of each guest.

Tools Resources & More

Browse our collection of downloadable tools, resources, books, articles, videos, policy resources, and more.

Public Health Crisis Declaration

The Ontario AIDS Network (OAN) formally declares anti-Black racism a public health crisis within the HIV sector.

Read the Full Declaration

EPISODE FIVE: Evolve Benton: Speaker and Educator based in California, USA

In this episode, Evolve Benton, MA, MFA talks about the importance of discussing the state of Blackness in our communities, and how leaders can establish a personal accountability statement to guide their anti-Black racism work.

Evolve is a speaker, educator and curator who inspires audiences to think about questions of performance, diversity, inclusion, transformation, climate, and equality. They are the founder of MAR Media, LLC, through which they offer services as an Educational Consultant and their online educational platform called Speaking 4 Profit Academy.

Evolve has developed trainings for LGBTQ, diversity, equity, inclusion, and holistic wellness, proven fun and informative for the many nonprofits, universities, technology companies, and small businesses that have enlisted their help. Their passion for social justice and real change manifests in their inspirational speeches, which they further support with visuals, personal stories, and other experiential tools and strategies.


Beth Jordan is founder and principal of Adobe Consulting Services and has deep practical and strategic experience as a trusted organizational developer and management consultant.

She has consulted extensively to municipal, provincial and federal levels of government and NGO’s on the issues of violence against women, HIV/AIDS, social justice policy and the integration of anti-racism and anti-oppression frameworks. She has been instrumental in facilitating broad-based advocacy initiatives and has been active in a wide range of committees and coalitions.


Episode Excerpt

“You are going to make mistakes. You are going to say the wrong thing. You are probably going to hurt somebody; you are probably going to offend somebody. And you know what? That’s okay, because you’re going to be accountable around that. You’re going to be able to have a process where you can be clear that you don’t know everything but you’re willing to learn and you’re willing to say ‘I messed up, I will do better and this is what it’s going to look like and this is what it’s going to mean’. Because the silence is unacceptable. the silence turns into apathy, apathy turns into lack of action, lack of action means–which we know from our statistics–the death of Black people.”

EPISODE THREE: Jefferson Darrell

In this episode of Step Forward, Kondwani speaks with Jefferson Darrell, in an open conservation about privilege and power and the surprising and complicated ways they intersect.

Jefferson Darrell is founder of Breakfast Culture, a marketing and communications firm specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion. Breakfast Culture supports organizations in achieving their strategic goals by bringing current diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) theories and practices combined with modern change management techniques.


EPISODE TWO: Amanuel Melles

In this episode of Step Forward, Amanuel Melles speaks about social ecosystems, allyship, redifining the role of leaders, the importance of holding space, and how we can co-create a better future by shifting to our collective focus.

Amanuel Melles (Aman) is the Executive Director of the Network for Advancement of Black Communities (NABC) at York University. He is the Principal of Aman Consulting and has over 25 years of senior management experience and expertise in settlement and immigration, community health, community development, community peacebuilding, funding and philanthropy.

For more information about the topics covered in this podcast, review Amanuel’s PowerPoint slide.

EPISODE ONE: Ruth Cameron 

In our first-ever Step Forward podcast episode, Kondwani speaks with Ruth Cameron about embedding Black liberation work into HIV work.

Ruth Cameron is the executive director of ACCKWA, member of the Waterloo ACB Network’s advisory committee, a doctoral student at Wilfrid Laurier University, and a consultant who focuses on anti-racism, anti-oppression and organizational change-management initiatives. She also researches effective ways to improve health and equity.


A 5-Part series dedicated to helping the HIV sector fight against anti-Black racism.

Listen to the Trailer for STEP FORWARD to learn more about the Podcast series.

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