by Mello Ayo



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 3/31/2022

Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 338
ISBN : 9781669809357
Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.5x11
Page Count : 338
ISBN : 9781669809371
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 8.5x11
Page Count : 338
ISBN : 9781669809364

About the Book

In November 1989, the Royal Ontario Museum staged a controversial exhibit called “Into The Heart of Africa.” This sparked a protest demonstration that proved to be a life changing experience for many. The youth-led outcry for change became a landmark in Ontario’s race-relations leading to an upheaval so impactful it altered the course of history for museums worldwide becoming in effect a milestone in the way museums mount and curate exhibits.

Thirty-one years later, for the first time, the authorized biography of one of the main protagonists, Adisa Oji, the only demonstrator to be imprisoned for his actions, is being told publicly. Few people know of his courageous story, a young man who heroically stood up against institutionalized racist practices and was punished. His up until now unknown personal history sheds irrefutable light on the current public and global agitation regarding race and racism and compels us to honestly re-examine the long-lasting tragic effects of colonialism and slavery. This biography fills an important gap even for those who may be familiar with the Royal Ontario Museum episode while providing an informative gripping history for those who may not.

In a world where the significant contributions of people of African ancestry are most often overlooked or given short-thrift, I AM Brother Oji honours and highlights for global recognition the life, leadership and legacy of a young Canadian of African Caribbean descent who distinguished himself during a time of social controversy. Adisa S. Oji’s extraordinary story provides a window of illumination on how to break cycles of oppression and exploitation. His story is a source of fresh and thoughtful insight into what it means to be a person of African ancestry living in a predominantly white European milieu and calls attention to the effectiveness of efforts directed at addressing racial discrimination, inequity, and injustice.

With the help of abundant amounts of photographs, Mello Ayo as narrator and social commentator weaves a vivid beautiful story of uncompromising triumph and self-empowerment. While the ROM episode provides a point of departure, the unflinching narrative goes beyond and connects the past with the present to create an enchanting hero’s journey transiting through the sociopolitical and historical landscapes of Jamaica, Canada, and Ghana.

At a time when many young people are becoming disenchanted, slumping into alienation and learned helplessness or collapsing into sub-cultures of violence, a look at how one young man kept his youthful optimism alive and how he refused to become a victim while making a positive difference is deserving of our attention.

About the Author

A multidimensional creative thinker, Mello Ayo is a writer, poet, and speaker who seeks to transform, uplift, inspire, and connect with others through the power of words, sounds, and images. Born in Jamaica in the town of Falmouth, Trelawny, he was raised in the salubrious hills of Brown’s Town in the parish of St. Ann. His most recent publication is Good Morning, Afrika! self-published in Fall 2016 (ISBN 978-0-9689676-2-1). A photo-travel journal, Good Morning, Afrika! is based on a trip to Ghana in Autumn 2015. Other self-published works include Love Rhapsodies and Blues (2001, ISBN 0-973-2280-0-8), a collection of love poems with a revised edition published 2002. Mello’s work has also been included in T-Dot Griots, An anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers (2004, edited by Karen Richardson and Steven Green, Trafford Publishing) and Stories We Don’t Tell (2019, Curated by Brianne Bennes, Paul Dore, and Stefan Hostetter, Paul Dore Creative Services).

Mello, who has a BA in history and social sciences and an undergraduate degree in social work, is a student of philosophy, history, politics, and sociology with an interest in movements for social change, anti-oppression, and human rights—passions that were ignited during his tenure as a research officer at the National Library of Jamaica. A former Canadian public sector professional with three decades of experience in organizational effectiveness, transformational change, diversity, and inclusive leadership, Mello has brought all his brilliance to bear in this, his latest literary breakthrough. Currently residing in Toronto, Canada, he is a proud father and grandfather. For more about Mello Ayo, visit: www.melloayo.com.