People of Georgian: Kids inspire manager’s equity work at college

What’s your story?

The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Debora Opoku-Mulder

In 2020 when the world was changing, people were realizing things are not OK.

Negative things are happening in this world, especially to racialized individuals.

That’s when my work as a registered psychotherapist really started to change.

A person with their hair pulled back, wearing gold hoop earrings and an orange dress, smiles and sits on a white chair.
Debora is a Manager at Georgian’s Centre for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Helping the BIPOC community cope with trauma

People of colour would request to see me because, as another person of colour, I identify with them.

I began hearing stories of racism and stories of being marginalized, and that’s when I really started thinking, “My work can really take a new direction here.”

There is depression, anxiety and all these other mental health issues.

But when it comes to the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) community, they are particularly being triggered and marginalized because of the colour of their skin, who there are, their sexuality, their race – and a lot of that came up in counselling sessions.

I was really helping them deal with the trauma associated with these things.

Eventually that grew into me doing educational sessions and training with corporations, organizations and individuals about racial trauma, diversity, equity and inclusion.

I really love doing that work and seeing the look on people’s faces when they learn something significant and meaningful.

Two people sit together on a blue couch and talk to each other.
Debora, right, has been a registered psychotherapist for 15 years.

So when the opportunity to become a manager at the Centre for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging came up, I thought, “This is what I want to do.”

I love Georgian because the diversity is here and the people are hungry to learn more.

I want to help people learn and apply this knowledge in their lives.

We’re all in different parts of our journey, but I want to help people move from, “OK, I understand stereotypes, microaggressions and racism,” to “I want to be able to call it out and be an ally.”

I also have four children, and they’re a big motivation for my work.

They’re Black kids, and, you know, when I first moved up to Simcoe County from Toronto, we didn’t see as many people here who looked like us.

Helping create supportive environment for Black students

As my kids get older, they might want to come to Georgian and be part of this community, and they might not see people who look like them all the time in every class.

But for them to know, “I have allies. They may not look like me, but they support me and they’re standing right beside me…” That’s huge.

I can help create that atmosphere for my kids. That’s what fuels me.

Debora Opoku-Mulder, Manager at Georgian’s Centre for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) and registered psychotherapist.

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