Sosa Eweka wants to talk about mental health, and hopes others in Surrey will join her for the discussion.
Her “Talks With Sosa” event returns to an in-person format on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 9, in the Studio Theatre at Surrey Arts Centre, starting at 1 p.m.
Eweka will tackle the subject of “Resilience As It Relates to Mental Health” with several guest speakers, Afro-beat music, food, poetry and more, for the admission fee of $20 on the website tickets.surrey.ca.
“It has always been my dream to host people at a space as beautiful and large as this,” Eweka said in an Instagram post. “I am really looking forward to giving you all a SHOW, as this will be our first in-person event since the pandemic.”
Eweka, who works in Surrey as a registered nurse and has journalism training, will explore four aspects of mental health, including sociocultural, economic, financial and psychogenic. Event details, including bios for guest speakers, are posted on talkswithsosa.com/resilience.
“Mental health is something I’m very passionate about,” Eweka said in a phone call. “The goal behind ‘Talks with Sosa’ is to stop the stigma behind mental illness, especially in ethnic communities. The talks are a safe space for people to have conversations about mental health.”
Her ‘Talks’ were launched pre-pandemic in 2018, and moved online during the COVID lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.
“The two in-person events I did before were held in a program room at Surrey Arts Centre, and this one will be in a larger theatre there, with room for around 130 people,” Eweka explained. “I’d love for this to grow and be in the main theatre there next year.”
The mission is to “raise awareness on mental health and social justice issues,” she added. “We aim to ‘stop the stigma’ and speak up for the marginalized.”
Formally known as Eseosa Eweka-Valentine, the event host says she founded Salt City Advocacy Society with a goal of creating a better environment for refugees and new immigrants, especially women and children of African descent.
“We help immigrants settle when they come to the country and also help them with their mental health as well,” noted Eweka, who moved from Nigeria to Canada about a decade ago.
The latest list of guest speakers/performers at the Sept. 9 event includes Adel Gamar, Ruthdol Ywaya, Lordnation, Mariat Jibril, Palesa Koitsoie, Tom Dutta, Jonathan Cauri, Dieko, Dr. Charles Quist-Adade and Leslee Montgomery.