For over two decades, Kwesi Johnson has dedicated his life and professional pursuits to making the City of Toronto and Province of Ontario more accessible and equitable for young people and their families. Born in Guyana, Kwesi spent some of his childhood growing up in Kingston, Jamaica before immigrating to Toronto, Ontario with his family. As a result, his worldview and ethos has undoubtedly been transformed by a legacy of a dedication to education, traditions and pursuit to excellence.
Kwesi works passionately to find innovative solutions that break the systemic barriers to accessing education, employment as well as other life-transforming resources. With this objective, Kwesi’s goal is to empower youth that are marginalized, racialized and often criminalized by working with and equipping them with these resources to be successful. Kwesi embodies community and does so through his mobilization initiatives while also being an influential public speaker and social entrepreneur. Kwesi currently works as a Professor at Ryerson University and Centennial College in addition to being a Community Services Coordinator with Toronto Community Housing.
As a highly determined and charismatic emerging leader, Kwesi believes his years of experience supporting youth living in complex and underserviced socio-economic communities has been his most rewarding accomplishment to date. For his efforts, Kwesi has been awarded the Lincoln M. Alexander Award for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Ryerson Gold Medaland the Harry Jerome Award for Academic Excellence.
Kwesi holds a Diploma certificate in Child and Youth Work from Centennial College, a Bachelors’ degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University and a Master’s degree of Education in Sociology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto. Kwesi currently serves as the Chair of the Lincoln M. Alexander for the Ontario Honors and Awards Secretariat and is working on his first book entitled Journey to Freedom, which navigates through his journey as a social services practitioner and community organizer.