AROBA (A Room of Black Artists) has partnered with Workman Arts for a second year to launch a podcast that explores the relationship between racism, trauma, and addiction within the Black community in Canada.

Written and hosted by documentary filmmaker Lana Lovell, the six-part limited series will launch on Black Mental Health Day (March 7th), and features stories from people who work, volunteer, and live in the arena of harm reduction. 

“Black artists and harm reduction workers candidly speak towards the causes and impacts of addiction on Black lives,” says Lovell. “It is the hope that the AROBA podcast series generates a great understanding and inspires meaningful compassion towards those who struggle with mental health and addiction.”

The series comes a year after AROBA’s inaugural and highly impactful Black Mental Health Symposium and Action Day. “The intention of shifting from a symposium to a limited podcast format is to shed more light on the day-to-day realities of mental health issues in the Black community,” says Lovell. 

Stigma and anti-Black racism play a significant role in how substance-use disorder is perceived and treated in Canada. The recovery community in this country—be it government funded, privatized (treatment centres and rehab facilities), or groups like NA and AA, is a predominantly white space—a space that needs to be disrupted and rebuilt to support the needs of all people.

“Discussing issues that affect the well-being of the Black community is needed so desperately and the podcast delivery allows people to engage with the content in their own time and at their own pace,” says Kelly Straughan, Executive Artistic Director of Workman Arts. “We are thrilled to be partnering with AROBA again this year.”

A podcast dedicated to exploring addiction and mental health issues within the Black community is imperative. Not only will it help people feel less alone, but it will also illuminate the gaps and barriers in our healthcare system that make it difficult for Black people to receive adequate care. By sharing personal experiences, the podcast will also show the undeniable links between systemic racism and addiction, how this feeds the problem, and how it prevents recovery.

Workman Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through creation and presentation; AROBA’s new podcast aligns perfectly with their mandate.

AROBA is distributed on Buzzsprout and will be available to download on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as of March 7th.