Black
History
Month

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Black History Month at Laurier

A message to the Laurier community from Deborah MacLatchy, President and Vice-Chancellor and Barrington Walker, Associate Vice-President: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Laurier Celebrates Our Thriving Black Community

Wilfrid Laurier University celebrates Black History Month and the thriving Black community at Laurier.

Throughout Black History Month and the rest of the year, we invite you to learn about our inspiring Black student leaders, exceptional faculty and staff members and our impactful alumni through the stories, events and learning opportunities featured here.

Laurier is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and diverse community and supporting the growth of the thriving Black community across our campuses and locations.

Together with our donors, Laurier provides student financial support, educational initiatives and events through the campus Centres for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Highest Priority Needs fund.

You can support Laurier’s thriving Black community with a donation to the Centres for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion or the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Highest Priority Needs Fund at give.wlu.ca/edi.

Student Community

Laurier students are known for getting involved, building community, achieving academic excellence and taking on leadership roles to make a positive impact on the world around them.

From clubs to courses, extracurriculars and student services, Laurier students are making a golden impact in our local and global communities. Stories celebrating Black students at Laurier will be shared here throughout Black History Month. Connect with us to share your story

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Laurier Criminology students prepare for golden futures

Students Jaeda Brefo, Emmauel Nwankwo and Marcus Shirley discuss their golden academic experiences as part of Laurier’s Criminology program, including how the program is helping them succeed now, as well as prepare for future success.

On Running and Role Models

Laurier track student-athlete Dominique Nedd reflects on her rookie season after bursting onto the scene during the Bob Vigars Season Opener.

Advancing and Empowering Campus Communities

Black student services at Laurier share a united purpose within the university's community.

Connecting Black Business Students

Founded in 2021, the Black Students of Lazaridis club is building community and connections among Black business and economics students at Laurier.

Celebrating Leadership Excellence

In 2021, the Association of Black Students received an inaugural Black Excellence in Leadership Academy Award from Kitchener Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo for their work to address racial inequities in Waterloo Region.

Beating the Odds

Organized by the Association of Black Students, Beating the Odds is an annual, one-day conference to boost the aspirations of racialized high school students in Waterloo region for achieving higher education.

Supporting Future Black Leaders in Medicine

Formed by Laurier students Mary Ajayi (BSc ’21) and Teresa Bennett (BSc ’21) Black Medical Leaders of Tomorrow supports students of colour pursuing medical careers after university.

Student Services

Laurier's Centres for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offer education, programming and support for students across our campus communities. The centres also provide a welcoming space for students to find community and engage in equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.

The Association of Black Students and Black Student Collective are student-led services at Laurier that aim to inform and empower the Black community at our Waterloo and Brantford campuses and Kitchener location. Follow the Association of Black Students and the Black Student Collective on Instagram to learn more about their leadership teams and upcoming events.

shevaungh-thomas.jpgHelping Black Students Thrive

For more personalized support, students can connect with Shevaughn Thomas, a racialized counsellor and registered social worker in Laurier’s campus student wellness centres.

Shevaughn supports students who identify as Black and people of colour and works from an anti-oppressive framework. Passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion, Shevaughn believes in creating a therapeutic space where students feel a sense of belonging.

Learn more about Shevaughn.

Alumni Community

Always proud to be a Golden Hawk, alumni from across our programs and campuses are using their Laurier experiences to make an impact in our local and global communities.

Stories celebrating Black Laurier alumni will be shared here throughout Black History Month. To share your story, connect with us at alumni@wlu.ca.

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Kathy Hogarth (MA ’07, PhD ’12)

Laurier leader Kathy Hogarth (MA ’07, PhD ’12) speaks of equity and hope.

Inspiring Alumni Stories

Laurier alumni around the world are working to build thriving communities.

  • Renée Christie (MSc '19), research associate, Terramera
  • Evalena Matlock-Corley (MSW '17), social worker and founder, Matlock Corley Community Solutions
  • Ali Abukar (MSW ’13), CEO, Saskatoon Open Door Society
  • Tiyondah Fante-Coleman (BSc ’16, MA '19), researcher, Pathways to Care Project with Black Health Alliance
  • Dennis Mitchell (BBA ’98), CEO and CIO, Starlight Capital; co-founder, Black Opportunity Fund
  • Rohan Thompson (BA '02, MSW '04), Director of People and Equity for the County of Dufferin

Inspiring Conversations: Empowering Racialized Communities as Research Collaborators and Agents of Change

Public event: Feb. 24, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Zoom, RegisterThe event is part of the Inspiring Conversations series hosted by Laurier’s Advancement office.

Staying Golden, Episode 4: Glenn Marais on Black History Month

This Black History Month special edition of the Staying Golden Podcast, hosted by Mary Neil, features Glenn Marais (MA Community Music ’17). Glenn is a diverse writer – songwriter, poet, author, and playwright – and a virtuoso blues guitar player and singer. In addition to these artistic endeavours, social activism fuels Glenn’s spirit and he has recently taken on the role of education outreach coordinator with the Aurora Cultural Centre to create a more inclusive arts community in his hometown. Glenn joins us to share what he is working on, and his thoughts on the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in every aspect of our lives.

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Staff and Faculty Community

Laurier is committed to creating a thriving, inclusive community by fostering a highly personalized, equitable, diverse and inclusive environment in which all members experience a powerful sense of belonging.

Through their work in our classrooms, on our campuses and in our local and global communities, Laurier’s faculty and staff members are championing the values of equity, diversity and inclusion to move the university forward in new and exciting ways.

Inquiries about Black History Month at Laurier can be sent to diversity@wlu.ca.

Celebrating Academic Excellence

Stories celebrating Black staff and faculty members at Laurier will be shared throughout Black History Month. Be sure to check back often.

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Health, Wellness, Spirituality and Healing for Black Communities in Canada

This March 7 panel will explore the linked themes of health, wellness, spirituality and healing for Black communities.

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Ciann L. Wilson Dedicated to Community-Engaged Scholarship, as well as Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Racist Practice

Ciann L. Wilson, associate professor in the Community Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University, is dedicated to advancing anti-oppressive and anti-racist frameworks in her research at Laurier, and in the community at large.

In 2021, Wilson was awarded the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations’ (OCUFA) 2020-21 Status of Women and Equity Award of Distinction. She serves on a university committee working to implement the federal government’s Dimensions EDI Charter, and was recently appointed to the Region of Waterloo’s Anti-Racism Working Group.

Through her Proclaiming Our Roots research project, Wilson is documenting the histories and realities of Afro-Indigenous communities across Canada through digital storytelling. She is also co-leading the first national strategy to develop an ethics protocol for research, data collection, and evaluation involving Black communities.

Wilson will be speaking as part of the Inspiring Conversations: Empowering Racialized Communities as Research Collaborators and Agents of Change event on Feb. 24.

Black Faculty and Staff Caucus

Laurier’s Black Faculty and Staff Caucus aims to engage, empower and protect the interests of Black faculty and staff members while contributing to the capacity and community building necessary for the equitable participation of Black professionals at Laurier. The caucus formed in February 2021 under the guidance of Lamine Diallo, an associate professor in the Leadership program and an equity, diversity and inclusion faculty colleague.

Membership is open to all faculty and staff who self-identify as Black and provides the opportunity to support equity, diversity and inclusion on Laurier’s campuses as it relates to Black experiences.

Black faculty and staff members interested in learning more, getting involved or continuing their involvement can email blackcaucus@wlu.ca for next steps. Together, we can enhance the experiences of all Black faculty and staff and champion the benefits of diversity across Laurier.

Spotlight on Research

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Addressing Inequities through Economics

Though focused on a diverse range of topics, from gender gaps in education to agriculture in Kenya, Muthoni Nganga’s research is connected by a central motivation: to explain and address inequities. An assistant professor of Economics at Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Nganga was initially drawn to her discipline by its real-world applications.

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Shining a Light on Activism by African Girls

In the premiere episode of Research Chat season two, Esther Hayford, a PhD candidate in Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, shares her research on African girls and activism in Ontario high schools. Hayford has worked with many community and government organizations, from the Ghana Law Reform Commission to the African and Caribbean Council on HIV AIDS in Ontario.

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Telling the Stories of Young Black Entrepreneurs

Oliver Masakure is an associate professor and program director of Laurier’s Business Technology Management program. He is also the associate director of Laurier’s Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa, and his research covers a broad range of topics in development economics, health economics and labour economics. His latest research project tells the stories of young Black entrepreneurs.

Events

Several exceptional Laurier events take place throughout Black History Month. As an institution, Laurier continues to build and support Laurier’s thriving Black community by offering workshops, learning from research, and adding courses on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Join us as we learn about Black experiences, break barriers, and continue to support Laurier’s thriving Black community. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Sessions and Workshops

Gentrification and Cultural Erasure: Stories of Resilience from Waterloo Region to Toronto

Feb. 15, 2 p.m., Zoom. Register

Featuring Aaron T. Francis, PhD student, artist and curator.

Join artist and curator Aaron T. Francis as he shares stories of Black resilience in his lecture “Gentrification and Cultural Erasure: Stories of Resilience from Waterloo Region to Toronto.” Francis is the founder and curator of Vintage Black Canada, a project documenting the modern history of the African Diaspora in Canada.

Reclaiming Histories: Untold Stories About the Black Experience in Canada

Feb. 16, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Zoom. Register. Open to Laurier staff only. 

Featuring Elaine Brown Spencer, PhD, equity consultant, executive producer, author-playwright, educator.

During this session, Elaine Brown Spencer will focus on the forgotten histories of Black communities and how their histories have been shaped through colonialism, systemic racism and white supremacy. Participants will develop tools to help create meaningful action plans and ways to support others in their professional and personal lives. 

My Health Matters

Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Zoom. Register. Open to Laurier students only. 

Featuring Shevaughn Thomas, registered social worker, Laurier Student Wellness Centre, and Lauren Burrows (MA '20), education and inclusion coordinator, Laurier Centre Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Join the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Student Wellness Centre at this one-hour workshop on common barriers to health and well-being for Black students and practical strategies to respond in educational spaces.

Courses

Looking to learn more about the issues and injustices facing our society? Explore some of Laurier’s undergraduate courses that address Indigeneity, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Featured Events

  • No upcoming events.

Resources

The following resources are available to Laurier faculty, staff, students and community members as indicated.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Laurier

Equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity are a part of Laurier's core values as a learning institution. Learn more about the action plan in place for which we hold ourselves accountable.

Laurier Library's Black History Month Virtual Display

View the new and important Black History Month resources at the Laurier Library.

2019 Being Raced Report

The Being Raced research study investigates the experiences of racialized students, staff and faculty members at Laurier's Brantford and Waterloo campuses and Kitchener location.

Unite Against Hate Brantford

United Against Hate Brantford is a social profit community resource for anti-racism education, collaboration and support in Brantford.

Black History Month Reading List

Explore titles compiled by the Laurier Bookstore. 

Staff and Faculty: Anti-Black Racism Resources

Employee login required.