ETERNITY MARTIS is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University and an award-winning Toronto-based journalist. She was a 2017 National-Magazine-Awards finalist for Best New Writer and the 2018 winner of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards for Best Investigative Article. Her writing has appeared in Vice, Huffington Post, The Walrus, CBC, Hazlitt, The Fader, Salon, and on academic syllabuses around the world. Her work on race and language has influenced media style guide changes across the country. She is the course developer and instructor of Reporting On Race: The Black Community in the Media at Toronto Metropolitan University, the first of its kind in Canada. In 2021, she was the University of British Columbia’s Journalist-in-Residence and Asper Visiting Professor, and the first Non-Fiction Writer in Residence at Simon Fraser University in 2022. She earned an honours BA and a Certificate in Writing from Western University and an MJ from Toronto Metropolitan University. In 2020, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by Women’s Executive Network.

Her bestselling debut memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun, was a “Best Book of the Year” pick by Globe and Mail, Apple, Audible and Chapters/Indigo. CBC called the book one of “20 moving Canadian memoirs to read right now” and PopSugar named it one of “5 Books About Race on College Campuses Every Student Should Read.” They Said This Would Be Fun won the 2021 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Non-Fiction and was an Evergreen Award finalist.

Speaker topics

What does it mean to be a student (and woman) of colour on a Canadian university campus today?

In universities across Canada, race-based data is not collected, so it’s almost impossible to understand the needs and challenges of students of colour—and there are many. Even more, there is no formal policy across all universities to deal with racism. According to a CBC investigation, while students of colour experience many race-based incidents on campus, most don’t file a formal complaint because they don’t feel they will be believed.

In this talk, Eternity will share her own journey as a university student on a predominantly white campus—which she details at length in her memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up. Debunking the myth of Canada’s racial tolerance and the idea that student life is “breezy”, she leads us through her own experience as a Black young woman on campus and ties it to the devastating history of racism at Canadian universities, the re-emergence of blackface parties, and the rise of the alt-right, white supremacy and hate crimes at schools, both from far-right groups and students.

From there, Eternity will examine the impact of racism on campus on students, detailing well-researched links to poor health and a drop in academic performance, both of which she experienced herself as a student. The talk will end with possibilities for how we can all better support students of colour, from parents, friends, professors and allies, to what administrators and decision-makers can start doing now to make campuses more welcoming for students of colour.

*This talk is also delivered as a workshop with breakout groups to collectively work on ways to implement better support for students of colour.


The power of personal storytelling for marginalized groups

Writing memoir has long disregarded young and marginalized people with questions such as “you’re too young, what could you possibly write about?” “You haven’t been through enough yet,” and “You’re ungrateful—be happy for what you’ve got.” Yet the works of white male memoirists are often celebrated. However, memoir writing has been a tool for marginalized groups for centuries—and now is the best time to reclaim it.

In this talk, Eternity will take you through the history of memoir and personal writing, drawing parallels from history to present-day struggles to show us that while much has changed throughout history, much has stayed the same: narratives from the civil rights era to stories day in the Black Lives Matter era; accounts of sexual assault from the first and second waves of feminism and #MeToo stories; stories from residential school survivors and continual attempts to seek truth and reconciliation today. Next, using her own experience as a memoirist, editor, and writing coach, Eternity examines the role of personal and memoir writing today in our current climate where so many people—immigrants, LGBTQ2S+ people, people of colour, young people—are being dehumanized, and presents the case for why personal writing and putting our stories in the public record is still an act of resistance, and how it can offer healing, societal action, and a way forward.

*This talk is also delivered as a writing workshop, with writing exercises and break out groups to discuss ideas.


A silent killer: Interpartner violence among Millennial women

One of the most prevalent crimes against women in their 20s — also known as Millennial women— is sexual assault, and while there are awareness campaigns by both schools and students, interpartner violence is hardly discussed, despite young women in their early-to-mid 20s being the most at-risk group for interpartner violence (IPV) and one of the most at-risk groups for interpartner homicide in Canada.

When we think of violence against women, it’s often in the context of a domestic problem—an issue that affects often older, married women—or in dating violence situations which involves teenagers. But why aren’t we discussing the group of women navigating abusive relationships while in their 20s?

Eternity takes a closer look at violence against Millennial women by using her own experience and the stories she’s learned through her career as an award-winning journalist to break down the unique factors such as social media, societal myths, race and hookup culture that affect Millennial women’s relationships and reporting of IPV—and how we can all work to better understand and fight violence against young women.

Rethinking Objectivity: The Role Of Journalism In A Social-Justice Era

For decades, journalists have been committed to unbiased reporting and to shining a light on injustices in our society, but what if those two concepts are fundamentally incompatible? In a Black Lives Matter and #MeToo era where politicians, companies and celebrities are taking social justice stances, what role do journalists play in naming and reporting on injustice? And in what ways has objectivity been harmful to marginalized groups?

In this talk, award-winning journalist Eternity Martis will explore how the concept of objectivity has shifted since 2014 with the emergence of the global #BlackLivesMatter movement, and how journalists continue to be essential to how our society understands and responds to injustice.

Using decades of high-profile examples, from the 1989 Central Park Five case, the 1994 Just Desserts case, the Black Lives Matter protests of the 2010s and the 2021 Capitol Hill insurrection, Martis will examine the shocking ways that objectivity has left out the most marginalized voices, stories and truths, and the real-life harm it has caused communities of colour. Martis will also address the urgent role journalists play in an increasingly polarized society, and the new directions journalism is taking to create more inclusive reporting.

The Power of Perception: The impact of journalism on the well-being of Black communities 

How much power does journalism have over people’s lives? More than you think.

Journalism is one of the most popular influences in our society. It determines our perceptions of events, ideas and people, but it also plays a direct role in the well-being of communities — especially underrepresented communities.

Despite journalism and media becoming increasingly more inclusive and accountable in its coverage of race and racism over the past seven years since #BlackLivesMatter, its practices, as well as unchecked bias in the industry, have had real-life consequences for Black communities, causing the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes and a lasting impact on their ability to thrive socially, economically, and politically in our society. Even with the best of intentions, today’s coverage is still causing detrimental effects on the health and well-being of Black communities. In an era of racial reckoning and accountability, how does an industry with so much power ensure it doesn’t continue to cause irreparable harm to Black people?

In this talk, award-winning journalist Eternity Martis will explore how journalism and media — both historically white industries — contribute to negative life outcomes for Black people. From the (lack of) representation of Black characters on TV, to the editorial decisions made by journalists to air viral videos of Black death, Martis will examine the media’s concerning and substantial impact on Black people’s socio-economic status and participation in society, and offer possibilities for both journalists and media consumers to participate in creating practices that have positive and healing impacts on Black communities and their well-being.

To book Eternity Martis, contact Rob Firing at