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Empowering Black Youth: CEE Centre's "Who I Really Am" Campaign Shines a Light on Brilliance

The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals and Publicis Groupe Canada have united to combat hiring bias issues in Canada, particularly affecting the younger Black demographic. Alarming statistics from January 2021 revealed that the unemployment rate for Black individuals aged 15 to 24 was exceptionally high, almost twice the national average for their age group. Moreover, a recent survey unveiled that an overwhelming 76% of Black residents in Toronto experienced racial discrimination multiple times a month. In response, these two organizations have come together to launch the "Black Youth Can" brand platform and introduce the inaugural "Who I Really Am" campaign.


The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, a Toronto-based non-profit, has been diligently providing free career skills training and comprehensive support to Black youth for over a decade. Their partnership roster includes esteemed organizations such as BMO, TD, Deloitte, and Cisco, among others. Their joint mission is to empower Black youth by imparting professional workforce skills and offering holistic support, which extends to access to social workers and therapists. Impressively, more than 1,000 Black youth have successfully graduated from their programs, boasting a remarkable 96% program retention rate.

"Black Youth Can" is not merely a campaign but a resounding declaration that Black youth possess the potential to achieve anything they set their minds to. It asserts that with the backing of organizations like CEE, nothing can thwart their aspirations. The inaugural campaign, known as "Who I Really Am," highlights the remarkable success stories of nine CEE alumni, each donning a custom-designed "Who I Really Am" hoodie. These hoodies act as dynamic canvases that vividly portray the individual stories, passions, and accomplishments of these young Black individuals. The campaign ingeniously challenges stereotypes associated with the appearance and attire of Black youth, shedding light on their brilliance one hoodie at a time.


"Who I Really Am" is the tangible result of an extensive partnership spanning over two years between Publicis Groupe Canada and CEE. It marks a pivotal milestone for Publicis Groupe Canada as part of a larger DE&I initiative. This initiative involves the launch of an annual pro bono campaign for a Canadian non-profit within the same sphere. CEE holds the honour of being the first organization chosen for this initiative, and it has received unwavering support from all agencies under Groupe. The campaign encompasses a captivating digital video, compelling social and influencer content, and prominent out-of-home placements across Toronto.

The "Who I Really Am" campaign has garnered robust support from Groupe's media partners, who have generously contributed over $500,000 worth of Out-of-Home advertising space in prime locations throughout the city.

The campaign effectively serves as a catalyst to challenge prevailing employment stereotypes and accentuate the immense potential and accomplishments of Black youth. It encourages all of Canada to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary talent present within this community.

The alliance between the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals and Publicis Groupe Canada constitutes a potent and laudable effort to address unemployment disparities and combat racial discrimination in hiring. It's a profound testament to the tenacity and brilliance of Black youth and their capacity to thrive across diverse industries, from film and technology to finance and beyond.

To discover more about the "Who I Really Am" campaign, explore the profiles of CEE alumni, post job opportunities, or extend your support through donations, please visit the official website at


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Sher Shares Blog

Great tips, I need to think about what kind of branding I want to convey.

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Nicole's Cooking

Hi Neecee, This is Nicole, Such a wonderful sharing! Great Job! All the best! 

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Faith Adodo

Thanks for this wonderful Interview. I love the questions and enthusiasm. 

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