Adam Lake (2020 CST Graduate Award) was born in Toronto and is currently pursuing a Collaborative Graduate Certificate in Ethnic & Pluralism Studies and a Masters of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. He graduated from York University with a Specialized Honours BA in Sociology and a Certificate in Anti-Racist Research and Practice (CARRP).

It has not been an easy journey for Adam to reach this point; at the age of 19 he found himself homeless and ostracized from his family as a result of his sexual orientation. When his father fell seriously ill, Adam was then called upon to physically, emotionally and financially care for both his ailing father and the family. Rather than becoming a victim, Adam chose to use his life experiences to bring about positive change. He used his storied past as the impetus to begin breaking barriers for various marginalized communities.

It was during his undergraduate years at York University that Adam began to use his voice for power in order to help address the various forms of discrimination evident at the individual, systemic and institutional levels. He founded “Books Breaking Barriers”, an initiative that allowed him to empower racialized and marginalized inmates through the experience of reading. Not one to sit still, Adam then became involved in YUBSA (York United Black Students’ Alliance), the Jamaican Student Association and Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gay Asexual at York. He also founded BlaqueOUT (a racialized LGBTQ2+ organization focused on fighting discrimination within the community). While other advocates may have been content with these efforts, Adam continued his crusade. He became an active leader within Black-CAP (Black Coalition of AIDS Prevention) and PHAN (Peel HIV/AIDS Network), as he worked alongside the Government of Ontario on the Anti-Black racism strategy. Adam also became involved in outreach work for Pride, AfroChic and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival

Adam’s steadfast commitment to serve as a voice for marginalized communities has only gained traction over time. Receiving the 2020 CST Graduate Award enabled Adam to pursue his Master of Global Affairs degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, at the University of Toronto. Not one to sit still for very long, Adam is currently formulating an organization called “Minorities at Munk”, with a goal of increasing diversity within the student population and faculty.

As for longer term goals, Adam has his sights set on serving as an ambassador for African Canadian individuals within democratic situations such as the Parliament of Canada, Canada’s Court System and lawmaking agencies. He plans to continue his education by becoming a lawyer and empowering the Black community so their voices can be heard, and their presence can be seen.

A former Associate Professor of Adam’s predicted, “Adam Lake will prove to be a striving force when he enters the political sphere, as his goal is ensuring equality and combating anti-discrimination at all levels”. If the past is any indication, we are all destined to hear a lot more about a certain trailblazer who goes by the name Adam Lake.