Black Albertans with UCalgary colours

February and Forever

Celebrating Black History Month today and every day


Black History Month 2022

The University of Calgary - Platinum sponsor


UCalgary supports the objectives of the BE-STEMM 2022 Conference. Both locally and nationally now is an opportune time to promote excellence in STEMM by Black Canadians.

  • facilitate networking to identify opportunities for fellowships, internships and mutual support
  • engage community partners to help remove barriers for Black STEMM Canadians of intersecting identities
  • realize a more inclusive model of leadership through professional development activities
  • share inclusive practices with K-12 educators to help the next generation start from a strong foundation.
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Dr. Harvey Amani Whitfield

Dr. Harvey Amani Whitfield is a Professor of Black North American History at the University of Calgary. His books include Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1860 (2006), North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes (2016), and Black Slavery in the Maritimes: A History in Documents (2018). His most recent book, Biographical Dictionary of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes, will be published by the University of Toronto Press in early 2022. He is also the author of numerous book chapters and articles, including “White Archives, Black Fragments: Problems and Possibilities in Telling the Lives of Enslaved Black People in the Maritimes,” in the Canadian Historical Review.

In his free time, Dr. Whitfield enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He also enjoys exercising and exploring Alberta. 

Biographies of Enslaved Black People in Canada

The Faculty of Arts and the Arts Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee presents the following virtual kick-off event in honour of Black History Month

This talk will discuss the lives of two enslaved Black people who came to the Maritimes after the American Revolution. Dr. Harvey Amani Whitfield will explore what we know about their lives in the American colonies and in Canada. He will place emphasis on the individual experiences of these two people, but also how their stories fit into the broader history of Black migration to Canada after 1783.

Monday, January 24, 2022 | 4 to 5:30 p.m. (MT)

Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo is the author of the 2019 Booker Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other. Her numerous other works span the genres of fiction, verse fiction, short fiction, poetry, essays, literary criticism, and radio and theatre drama. Other fiction titles include Mr. Loverman, Blonde Roots, and Lara. Her first non-fiction book, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up, will be published in 2022 by Grove Atlantic. Her writing is celebrated for its experimentation, daring, subversion, and challenging the myths of Afro-diasporic identities and histories.

A staunch and long-standing activist and advocate for the inclusion of artists and writers of colour, Evaristo has initiated several successful strategies to ensure increased representation in the creative industries. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and the 2021-2022 Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Calgary.

An Evening with Bernardine Evaristo

Join the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program for an evening with Bernardine Evaristo, author of the 2019 Booker Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other and this year’s Distinguished Visiting Writer.

This online signature event will include a Q&A moderated by Dr. Suzette Mayr, professor of creative writing at the University of Calgary. Questions for Bernardine are requested in advance to

Books may be purchased through the University of Calgary Bookstore. Titles will include signed bookplates while quantities last.

Wednesday, February 3, 2022 | 7:30 to 9 p.m. (MT)

Dr. Safiya Noble

Dr. Safiya Noble is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow and author of the highly acclaimed Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press). She is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she serves as the Co-Founder and Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2).

She and her work have been featured in TIMEThe Guardian, the BBCCNN InternationalWiredThe New York Times, among many others. Her talks and research focus on the ways that digital media impacts our lives and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Presented/hosted by the Department of Communication, Media and Film - Race in Media Lecture

Dr. Safiya Noble (University of California, Los Angeles)

The landscape of information is rapidly shifting as new imperatives and demands push to the fore increasing investment in digital technologies. Yet, critical information scholars continue to demonstrate how digital technology and its narratives are shaped by and infused with values that are not impartial. Technologies consist of a set of social practices, situated within the dynamics of race, gender, class, and politics, and in the service of something – a position, a profit motive, a means to an end. In this talk, Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble will discuss her book, Algorithms of Oppression, the impact of marginalization and misrepresentation in commercial information platforms like Google search and the power struggles over representation on the web, as well as the implications for public information needs.

Monday, February 7, 2022 | 3 to 4 p.m. (MT)

Ericka Hart

Ericka Hart is a Black queer femme activist, writer, highly-acclaimed speaker and award-winning sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. Ericka’s work broke ground when she went topless showing her double mastectomy scars in public in 2016. Since then, she has been in demand at colleges and universities across the country, featured in countless digital and print publications like VogueWashington PostAllureHarper’s BazaarVICEPAPER MagBBC NewsCosmopolitanVanity FairW MagazineGlamourElle, and Essence. Ericka’s voice is rooted in leading-edge thought around human sexual expression as inextricable to overall human health and its intersections with race, gender, chronic illness and disability.

Both radical and relatable, she continues to push well beyond the threshold of sex-positivity. Ericka Hart has taught sexuality education for elementary-aged youth to adults across New York City for over 10 years, including for 4 years at Columbia University’s School of Social work and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College.

They are currently an adjunct faculty member at Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality.

Social Media: Twitter, Instagram - @ihartericka

Centering Racial and Social Justice in Research and the Everyday: A conversation with Ericka Hart

Presented by the Voice and Marginality at the Nexus of Racism and Colonialism working group, Calgary Institute for the Humanities​​​​​​.

Many BIPOC researchers and research allies have trouble privileging marginalized knowledge in their research. This difficulty stems, in part, from the histories many academic disciplines have in reproducing inequality along racial, gendered, and ableist lines, among others. We welcome you to a conversation with activist, writer, and educator, Ericka Hart, to discuss the difficulties and tensions we encounter, and to think through ways we can utilize our research towards racial and social justice.

Ericka’s participatory talk will act as an educational resource to deepen both professional and personal practices toward centering those who navigate society from its margins. Ericka will galvanize participants to explore their own biases, share in their experiences of identity, and offer actionable steps on how each individual can integrate a social and racial justice ethic in their own lives for a more equitable and just world.

This event is hosted by the Voice and Marginality at the Nexus of Racism and Colonialism research working group at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities, led by graduate students. This working group strives to provide a research community for BIPOC individuals and allies at the University of Calgary, creating a space that allows members to reflect on their own positionalities, to learn from and to validate lived experiences, and to attend to the epistemological and ontological ways in which academic research can serve to empower vulnerable voices and advance social justice.

Thursday, February 10, 2022 | 12 to 1:30 p.m. (MT)


UCalgary BLSA logo

Black Legal History in Alberta

Presented by UCalgary BLSA and the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers

In collaboration with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the University of Calgary's Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is hosting a virtual event on Black legal history in Alberta.

This event will include a video on Black trailblazers in Alberta's legal history and a three-person panel with Patricia Sealy QC, who is the first Black woman QC in Alberta, Kene Ilochonwu, the first Black bencher to sit in the Law Society of Alberta, and Professor Ubaka Ogbogu, one of the first Black full professors at the faculty of law in the University of Alberta.

Thursday, February 10, 2022 | 12 to 1 p.m. (MT)

Patricia P. Sealy, Q.C.

Patricia has a B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University and was called to the Alberta Bar in 2000. Patricia utilizes within the legal forum, her education and past work experience with families and dually diagnosed youth. She is patient and thoughtful when working with families to address parenting, support and property division issues in a manner that reflects their expressed concerns and desired outcomes.

Patricia is a Member of the Law Society of Alberta, Collaborative Divorce Association, Alberta Family and Mediation Society, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Calgary Bar Association, Association of Women Lawyers and the following subsections of the Canadian Bar Association: Alternative Dispute Resolution; Family Law; Wills and Estates; and Immigration. Patricia is currently a board member and acting secretary for both the Association of Collaborative Professionals and the Canadian Bar Association Law Firm Management and Practice Committee subsection.

Kene Ilochonwu

Born and raised in Nigeria, Kene obtained his law degree from Abia State University in 1997 and licensure from the Nigerian Law School Abuja in 2000. He went on to obtain a Master of Laws degree in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law from the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, Scotland in 2004. In 2020,  Kene was the first Black bencher elected to the Law Society of Alberta.

Kene relocated to Canada and completed his composite articles at DLA Piper Canada and Imperial Oil. He then joined Blake, Cassels and Graydon as an Associate in 2017, before moving on to his current role as legal counsel with Parkland Corporation.

Kene is a Bencher at the Law Society of Alberta. He previously served on the Law Society of Alberta’s Bencher Election Task Force and he volunteers at the Civil Claims Duty Counsel Project with Pro Bono Law Alberta. He also serves as a mentor to law students through the Black Law Student's Association of the University of Calgary, and the Canadian Bar Association mentor program, and mentors internationally trained lawyers in Calgary through Global Lawyers of Canada. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Pro Bono Law Alberta, Calgary Black Chambers, Global Lawyers of Canada, and Our Saviour Anglican Church Calgary.

Kene Ilochonwu’s guiding principles go beyond the precepts of law. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” which comes from the Bible; “It always seems impossible until it is done,” a quote from Nelson Mandela; and “One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide,” which he learned from Brené Brown, an American professor and author.

In his spare time, he enjoys riding his bike, spending time with his family and watching his favourite soccer team, Chelsea FC.

Ubaka Ogbogu

Ubaka Ogbogu is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law and the Katz Research Fellow in Health Law and Science Policy, at the University of Alberta. Dr. Ogbogu is a recipient of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations Distinguished Academic Early Career Award. He holds a doctorate in law from the University of Toronto, a Master of Laws degree from the University of Alberta and undergraduate degrees in law from the University of Benin, Nigeria and the Nigerian Law School. Ogbogu’s scholarly work is focused broadly on the ethical, legal and societal implications of novel and emerging biotechnologies and associated research. His publications have explored a diverse range of issues in this field, including the ethical and legal issues associated with stem cell research, gene and engineered cell therapies, biobanks, germline gene editing and assisted reproductive technologies. As a multidisciplinary scholar, his teaching and research activities explore and cut across various fields, including health law, bioethics, science policy, science and technology studies, public health, legal history and legal philosophy. He has led or been involved in many prominent national and international biotechnology policymaking activities and writes and comments frequently in the popular press on matters relating to the impacts of biotechnology and science on society. Ogbogu has served as the Chair of the University of Alberta’s Research Ethics Board No. 2 and as a member of numerous boards and councils, including the Health Quality Council of Alberta, Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Somatic Gene and Engineered Cell Therapies, the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Stem Cell Oversight Committee, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Governing Council’s Standing Committee on Ethics, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research Task Force on Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation.

Hawa Y. Mire

Hawa Y. Mire has two decades of experience as a proven strategic senior leader focused on high-impact organizational culture change. Hawa has a specialty in anti-racism, particularly anti-Black racism, and the implementation of relevant policies and approaches including experience with the complex nature of Black communities in Canada. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University where her research examined community storytelling as a place of transformation.

She is highly influential - compelling people to rally around an important movement, cause, or issue. As a critical writer, commentator and columnist with Ricochet Media Hawa’s words have been featured on Macleans, Briarpatch Magazine, Metro Morning, CBC, CityTV and Rabble among others. Through her words as a storyteller, Hawa uses imagery and metaphor as a powerful communication tool.

Black Resilience and Resistance at the Intersections

Presented by Faculty of Social Work

Although undervalued and subjected to pervasive anti-Black racism, Black women are at the forefront of organizing and transformation in Canada.

In her presentation, Hawa Y. Mire will discuss her experiences as a Somali - Canadian woman. Mire’s presentation will help us grapple with the following questions: Can Black people resist and be resilient at the same time? Where do Black women fit on the spectrum between resistance and resilience during the COVID pandemic? How can Black people re-imagine a different and better future in post-COVID Canadian society?

Thursday, February 10, 2022 | 1 to 2:30 p.m. (MT)

African Canadian writers

Readings and Conversations by African Canadian writers

Sponsored by the Department of English in the Faculty of Arts and hosted by visiting Post Doc fellow Uchechukwu Umezurike

Writing Across Nations - Literature, Home, Diaspora

Friday, February 11, 2022 | 10 a.m. (MT)

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic and writer. She works in health, gender, violence against women and children and other social issues.

She holds a Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University, Canada. She lives in Lagos.

Amatoritsero Ede

Dr. Amatoritsero Ede, PhD teaches African and African Diasporic Literature in the English department. Dr. Ede's specialization is African and world literature and Postcolonial Theory.

His research interests encompass 21st-century consciousness, Afropolitanism, and the intersections between World Literature, Translation and Comparative literature. He is also a poet and Publisher of the Maple Tree Literary Supplement.

Yejide Kilanko

I was born on October 4, 1975, in Ibadan, a sprawling university city in southwestern Nigeria. One of my fondest childhood memories was staring at the projector screen as my father, a university professor, showed slides from his travels across Australia and New Zealand. How I wanted to travel the world!

Then I discovered faraway places by immersing myself in the pages of a book. Sometimes by squeezing my eyes tight, I saw myself walking down cobbled European streets or swaying a beaded waist to pulsating drum beats from the times when African warriors still ruled the Savannah plains.

My love for reading anything I could lay my hands on led to poetry writing when I was twelve. It was the best way I made sense of all those long, angst-filled teenage and young adult years.

In the year 2000, after our big, loud, African wedding, I joined my husband in Maryland, USA. Over that decade, I stayed home to raise our three children, moved to Canada, and went back to university to become a social worker.

Since 2009, I’ve been fortunate to work with children and their families as a child protection worker, a crisis counsellor, and currently as a long-term therapist in children’s mental health.

I live in Chatham, Ontario where I continue to write poems, short stories, and novels.

Dr. Harvey Amani Whitfield

Dr. Harvey Amani Whitfield is a Professor of North American History. He attended Dalhousie University for his MA and PhD. Whitfield is the author of several books, including Blacks on the Border: The Black Refugees in British North America, 1815-1865North to Bondage: Loyalist Slavery in the Maritimes, and Black Slavery in the Maritimes: A History in Documents. His current project is a biographical dictionary that documents the lives of over 1450 enslaved Black people in Colonial Canada’s Atlantic Region to be published with the University of Toronto Press/Acadiensis in early 2022.

Whitfield’s future research projects will illuminate how enslaved Black women and their experiences tell historians a great deal about slavery in Canada. He is an active member of the Canadian historical profession and serves on various editorial advisory boards including AcadiensisLabour, and the Canadian Historical Review.

An Enslaved Black Family at the Crossroads of Slavery and Freedom in New Brunswick

Presented by the Faculty of Law

This talk will be about Dick Hopewell, his son Dick Hopewell Jr., and his wife Statia and how the law enslaved them, but they consistently fought for their freedom. One thing that makes this family incredibly interesting is that we have several pieces of documentation about them ranging from two court cases to a lengthy runaway slave advertisement.

As a result, we can reconstruct their lives much more than other enslaved Black people in Colonial Canada.

Friday, February 11, 2022 | 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. (MT)

panel BHM

Workplace-Related Discrimination

The University of Calgary’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), in collaboration with the Labor and Employment Law Association (LELA) is hosting a virtual event on Workplace Discrimination.

There will be a three-person panellist including Sarah Coderre, partner and co-founder of Bow River Law LLP, Lisa-Marie Ellis, founder of Ellis Legal Group, and Sophie Purnell, employment and labour lawyer at Taylor Janis LLP. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022 | 12 to 1 p.m. (MT)

Sarah Coderre, partner and co-founder of Bow River Law LLP

Sarah is a partner and co-founder of Bow River Law LLP. Her practice is focused on employment law, human rights, and labour law. Sarah has extensive experience representing employees facing workplace issues, including wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal, harassment in the workplace, workplace investigations, and professional regulatory matters. In addition, Sarah has in-depth experience in human rights matters. She has represented not only employees but also students and other public members in human rights complaints before the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal. She also has represented unionized workers in labour relations board complaints. While Sarah’s primary focus is on individual clients, she also provides strategic advice to smaller employers on various issues, including workplace accommodations for employees, employment contract and policy reviews, non-competition/non-solicitation agreements, severance proposals, and human rights complaints.

Sarah was born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta and worked as a summer student at a significant oilsands company while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta. As a result, Sarah has a unique understanding of workplaces in the oilsands and oil and gas industry and the challenges faced by employees who work shift work and perform dangerous and necessary duties. As a life-long Albertan, Sarah also understands the challenges employees face whose employment is necessarily tied to the political tides, such as health care workers, teachers, and other government-sector employees. This experience and knowledge support the legal and strategic advice she provides to her clients.

While reaching a settlement is often in the interest of most clients, Sarah is an experienced litigator and has represented clients in trials and hearings before the Provincial Court of Alberta, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, and other administrative bodies. In addition, she enjoys oral advocacy, and her honed skills as a persuasive advocate benefit her clients in settlement negotiations and litigation.

When she is not at work, Sarah’s negotiation skills continue to be tested and refined in her role as mother to two small children.

Lisa-Marie Ellis, founder of Ellis Legal Group

Lisa-Marie Ellis has spent most of her life in Southern Alberta and has called Calgary home for the last 20 years. After receiving Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in 2001, she graduated from the University of Calgary Law School in 2006. She was called to the Alberta Bar in August of 2007. Lisa-Marie's primary practice areas include family, immigration, and wills and estates law.

Lisa-Marie strives to put the family unit's needs first and forefront when handling legal matters. To do this requires taking into account the interests and needs of all parties involved. In most cases, alternative dispute resolution is often a preferred option for resolving disputes outside of courts. However, there are cases when court intervention is necessary, and Lisa has successfully advocated for clients in both the Provincial Court of Alberta and the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. By taking a more holistic and common sense approach to resolving legal issues, she strives to generate creative and timely solutions at a reasonable cost to clients.

Sophie Purnell, employment and labour lawyer at Taylor Janis LLP

Prior to joining Taylor Janis Workplace Law, Sophie worked for a prominent law firm in Calgary. Sophie also worked in the legal department of the Alberta Human Rights Commission and assisted judges with legal research as a student-at-law for the Provincial Court of Alberta. In law school, Sophie volunteered with Pro Bono Students Canada where she assisted clients with human rights issues in the context of employment matters. Before obtaining her law degree from the University of Calgary, she worked in human resources in the oil and gas industry after obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce degree (specializing in Human Resources & Organizational Dynamics) at the Haskayne School of Business.

Sophie is a volunteer on the Trauma Advisory Committee for the Addiction & Mental Health division within Alberta Health Services.

Outside of work, Sophie and her husband adjudicate disputes between their kids, covering all areas of law, including physical attacks using a toy lightsaber, toy theft, trespassing on sovereign bedrooms, non-UN sanctioned invasions of ‘personal space’, intentional application of force to a sibling without their consent, slander, and other frivolous yet entertaining complaints.  Her greatest accomplishments include mastering the art of not stepping on LEGO landmines left by her kids on the floor, accidentally swallowing a Robertson screw and living to tell the tale.

Black Canadian Mental Health

Mental Health: Black History Month Panel Event

Hosted by the GSA Mental Health and Wellness, GSA2, and the EDI Subcommittee

A panel event discussing Black Canadian mental health with Dr. Tito Daodu, Dr. Bukola Salami, and Kome Odoko. Speakers will talk about mental health within the Black academic and medical community and will share their personal trials and tribulations of navigating academia and medicine as a Black woman. Speakers will also discuss mental health barriers and how we can do better in supporting Black mental health moving forward. This panel event will allow students and other attendees to interact with the experts on the panel through a Zoom meeting and will be allowed to ask questions virtually.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022 | 5- 7 pm (MT)

Tito Daodu (she/her) MD, FRSCSC, MPH

Dr. Tito Daodu is a Pediatric Surgeon at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. She was born in Nigeria and raised in Winnipeg, where she attended medical school at the University of Manitoba. She completed her residency and fellowship in Calgary and did a Master’s in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Daodu has a passion for Public Health and promoting justice and equity in medicine. She is actively involved in Public Health Research, focusing on improving surgical outcomes and making surgical care more equitable and accessible in Canada and around the world.

Dr. Bukola Salami (she/her)

Dr. Bukola Salami, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Windsor and her Master of Nursing and PhD in Nursing from the University of Toronto. Her research program focuses on policies and practices shaping migrant health. She has led research projects on African immigrant child health, immigrant mental health, access to healthcare for immigrant children, Black youth mental health, the health of internally displaced children, and parenting practices of African immigrants. She founded and led an African migrant child research network of 35 scholars from 4 continents. In 2020, she launched the Black Youth Mentorship and Leadership Program at the University of Alberta. She is involved in several community volunteer initiatives, including serving as a public member on the Council of the Alberta College of Social Worker, the Public Health Agency of Canada Working Group on the Mental Health of Black Canadian, the Bell Lets Talk Funding advisory committee, and active involvement with the Black Opportunities Fund. She is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and on the Editorial Board of Nursing Inquiry and Qualitative Health Research Journal. Dr. Salami has received several awards for research excellence and community engagement: 100 Accomplished Black Women in Canada; Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing Emerging Nurse Researcher of the Year Award; College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) Award for Nursing Excellence; and Alberta Avenue Edmonton Top 40 under 40. In 2020, she became a recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, the highest research award in nursing. In 2021, she became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing.

Kome Odoko (she/her) MN, RN

With a background in pediatric and adolescent psychiatry, Kome actively works with students, faculty, and staff within the UCalgary community to increase levels of flourishing and resiliency. She is also passionate about establishing higher education spaces that are equitable and inclusive to ensure that those who join our community feel valued for their skills, abilities, and contributions.

SU logo

Conversations on Black History at the SU | UCalgary

Presented by the Student's Union, University of Calgary

Join SU VP Student Life Assad Ali Bik as he interviews past and present student leaders, highlighting Black history at the SU. On Thursday, Feb. 17 at 12 p.m., our guests will be current SU Campus Food Bank coordinator Ganiyat Sadiq, and 77th SU Faculty of Arts Representative Tomiwa Oje. On Friday, Feb. 25, our guests will be 78th SU VP Academic Semhar Abraha, and 51st Vice President External Chima Nkemdirim. Both interviews will be streamed live on the SU’s Facebook page.

Thursday, February 17, 2022 | 12 p.m. (MT)

Ganiyat Sadiq

SU Program and Events Assistant 2019 – 2020
Campus Food Bank Coordinator 2020 – 2021

Ganiyat Sadiq is a research and policy professional who has been recognized as Alberta’s Top 30 Under 30. She aims to establish substantial solutions to address growing political and social inequity through the facilitation of purposeful conversations with policy-makers, institutions and citizens. These interests are reflective of the @IAmXMovement, a social community founded by Ganiyat that seeks to raise awareness of the injustice faced by Black, Indigenous and Racialized individuals, as well as providing a safe space to share their experiences. She also co-founded and serves as President of the Black Inclusion Association, a novel non-profit that aims to achieve equity and social justice for Black Albertans. Currently, Ganiyat is a fourth-year student in the Political Science program and the International Relations program at the University of Calgary.

Tomiwa Oje

Faculty of Arts Representative 2019 – 2020 (77th SLC)

Tomiwa Oje is a senior associate at an international accounting and consulting firm. Tomiwa acquired degrees in political science and international relations from the University of Calgary, graduating in 2020. In that time Tomiwa served as one of the Faculty of Arts’ Representatives in the 77th Student Legislative Council. Like during her tenure in the SLC, Tomiwa continues to be a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives in her everyday life and professional career. Tomiwa sits on the action committee for the Black Professional Inclusion Network and is a member of the Indigenous Inclusion Network at her firm. Tomiwa also works closely with the organization SanitaryAidforNigerianGirls an organization that aims to provide period products and reproductive education for impoverished and internally displaced women and girls in Nigeria. Tomiwa takes pride in being able to embrace her blackness authentically and works to ensure others can do so themselves. Her life is guided by a quote from Beyoncé: “Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you.”

Cynthia Okafor

Cynthia Okafor is a proud Calgarian, born and raised and is also the daughter of first-generation Nigerian immigrants. She is a registered social worker and has almost 20 years of experience working in the social services sector. Cynthia has had a truly fulfilling career and has worked in various settings, including settlement and integration, community development, social planning, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

She holds a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree from the University of Calgary and a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from Carleton University. Cynthia is passionate about racial equity and social justice and works tirelessly to create an environment that acknowledges, embraces, and values differences.

She believes that actual change happens when individuals are allowed to engage in honest, raw, and authentic conversations about race and racism and actively remove barriers at the systemic and institutional levels.

Understanding Anti-Black Racism and Black Wellness

Presented by the Faculty of Arts and the Arts Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

In Canada, there has been growing interest to declare racism and discrimination a public health crisis, specifically anti-Black racism.  According to leading experts across the nation, racism is a social determinant of health that results in inequities in social inclusion, economic outcomes, personal health, and access to affordable and quality healthcare.   We as a nation have a responsibility to recognize, understand and mediate these injustices in order to support inclusive, sustainable and healthy communities. In this session, participants will critically examine the impact of anti-black racism on black health and wellness and how to disrupt the systemic barriers that continue to create inequities among Black Canadians.

Thursday, February 17, 2022 | 4:30 to 6 p.m. (MT)



The Cypher: Hip Hop as a Method A Process of Critical Healing Through Art, Politics, and Culture

Presented by the Faculty of Social Work

An introductory session that focuses on the historical context of Black popular culture and music leading up to the emergence of Hip Hop culture. We explore how to implement Hip-Hop elements as methods of engagement and education. Take a journey with the songs’ beat through mental health journaling and lyrical critiques, artistic graffiti political expressions, therapeutic mixed tape selections, groupwork cyphers and community awareness and education.

About heARTbase

heARTbase is a group of practitioners who are interested in non-traditional, anti-colonial, and political methods to critical healing in Black youth’s lives in relation to radical self-care. We use Healing Centered Engagement (HCE), an innovative strength-based paradigm that promotes a community view of healing and re-centers culture as a key factor in overall well-being. This is a way of [re]connecting with an engaged heart and creating a safe space for healing to happen.

Thursday, February 17, 2022 | 6 to 8 p.m. (MT)

Ken Williams


Ken Williams has spent over a decade working with young people and adults at various stages of development in preventative interventions. He is a lifelong learner who appreciates studying and listening to people's life stories and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work at York University. He also enjoys the visual and performing arts, music, technology, and travel.

Ken is interested in learning more about how Black youth in or out of the justice system have experienced systemic harm and the relationship between healing and justice in this context. He is curious about the intersections of justice, well-being, and art and non-traditional approaches to promoting critical healing in the lives of Black youth.

Freda Bizimana


Freda is a master's student in Social Work at the University of Toronto. She has vast experience providing intervention support and other counselling services to young people involved in the criminal justice system. By night, Freda is a singer, songwriter, and spoken word artist who enjoys connecting with others via her talents. For her, music is an important aspect of actual rehabilitation.

Precious Myers


Precious earned her bachelor's degree in Social Work from York University and her master's degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto. Precious works as a youth worker with young people who are suffering homelessness. She is the co-founder of Project Next of Kin, a non-profit organization that helps families affected by violence. She is also a member of the Macaulay Child Development Centre's Board of Directors. She grew up in a musical household, which has had a significant influence on her life. Her life has also been influenced by hip hop music.

radical reform event

Radical Reform:  Transforming Medical Education to Disrupt and Dismantle Anti-Black Racism

Presented in partnership between OPED & OFDP, Cumming School Of Medicine, University Of Calgary

In this session, the Health Equity Curriculum Leads for PGME at Cumming School of Medicine, Dr. Oluwatomilayo (Tito) Daodu, Dr. Nicole Johnson and Dr. Kannin Osei-Tutu, will discuss tools and strategies for effective disruption of systemic racism in medical education. Participants will identify medical curricula and oppressive structures that lead to health inequities for our Black Population. This session will empower medical educators and medical leaders to become change-makers for dismantling anti-Black racism in medical education.

After attending this session, you will:

  • Describe the racist structures in the current medical curricula and academia as it pertains to anti-Black racism
  • Describe approaches to dismantle anti-Black racism within medical education
  • Define effective strategies for anti-racist medical educators and leaders to address anti-Black racism

Tuesday, February 22, 2022 | 11.30 a.m. - 1 p.m. (MT)

Dr. Oluwatomilayo (Tito) Daodu

Dr. Tito Daodu is a Pediatric Surgeon at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. She was born in Nigeria and raised in Winnipeg, where she attended medical school at the University of Manitoba. She completed her residency and fellowship in Calgary and is currently completing a Masters in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Daodu has a passion for Global Health and promoting justice and equity in medicine. She is actively involved in Global and Public Health Research, focusing on improving surgical outcomes and making surgical care more equitable and accessible in Canada and around the world.

Dr Nicole Johnson

Dr. Nicole Johnson has been a clinical pediatric rheumatologist practising at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, since 2004. She is of Jamaican descent and joined the Caribbean Association of Rheumatology in 2015. She is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. Dr. Johnson received her university education at Canadian Institutions including McGill, McMaster, Queen’s and the University of Toronto. Dr. Johnson has advocated for community awareness for children with rheumatic diseases. She has volunteered her time to many media appearances to highlight childhood arthritis. In addition, she has a particular interest in the subject of transitioning young adults with chronic rheumatic illnesses to adult health care systems. She has contributed to medical education both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She also participates in Canadian and international clinical research of childhood rheumatic diseases.

Dr Kannin Osei-Tutu

Dr. Kannin Osei-Tutu completed his undergraduate studies in Kinesiology at McMaster University before obtaining his Masters of Science in exercise physiology and doctorate of medicine from Dalhousie University. After completing his family medicine training at the University of Toronto, he relocated to Calgary in 2010. He is also a member of the Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine and holds diplomas (Levels 1, 2) from the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine.

Dr. Kannin keeps a busy schedule, working at INLIV and as a hospitalist at Foothills Medical Centre. With his young family in tow, you can find him swimming, skiing, and travelling – or enjoying a quiet game of chess and learning to speak Spanish. And he is generous in sharing his passion for life and learning with others. He has volunteered in Costa Rica and Cuba and worked in Ghana at the Korle-Bu teaching hospital. He also holds an academic appointment as a clinical lecturer at the University of Calgary, helping educate young doctors in training.


Dr.Uche Umezurike

Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike holds a PhD in English from the University of Alberta, Canada, and is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary.

Umezurike has published his critical writing in Men and Masculinities, NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, Journal of African Cultural Studies, Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, and Postcolonial Text

He is the author of Wish Maker (Masobe Books, 2021) and Double Wahala, Double Trouble (Griots Lounge Publishing, 2021), and a co-editor of Wreaths for Wayfarers, an anthology of poems (Daraja Press, 2020).

A Refusal to Hate: Writing and Black Wellness

Presented by the Faculty of Arts and the Arts Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

In this talk, Dr. Umezurike recounts his experiences as a former graduate student, highlighting the role creative writing has played in helping him deal with instances of anti-Blackness and microaggressions on campus and the relationship between writing and wellness. He emphasizes the need for racial minorities to find creative, self-affirming ways to fight off – at the personal and micro levels – the hate that drives everyday racism and the racism that spawns (self) hate.

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | 4 to 5:30 p.m. (MT)

Nuances of Blackness

Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy: Teaching, Learning, and Researching while Black

Edited by Awad Ibrahim, Tamari Kitossa, Malinda S. Smith and Handel Kashope Wright

The essays in this collection make visible the submerged stories of Black life in academia. They offer fresh historical, social, and cultural insights into what it means to teach, learn, research, and work while Black.

Please welcome to join Awad Ibrahim, Tamari Kitossa, Malinda S. Smith and Handel Kashope Wright as they reflect on how Blackness shapes academic pathways. Shirley Anne Tate will moderate the conversation.

Friday, February 25, 2022 | 11 to 12 p.m. (MT)

Awad Ibrahim

Awad Ibrahim is a Full Professor. He is a Curriculum Theorist with a special interest in the economy of hospitality (Derrida), cultural studies, Hip-Hop, youth and Black popular culture, social foundations (i.e., philosophy, history and sociology of education), social justice and community service learning, diasporic and continental African identities, ethnography and applied linguistics. He has researched and published widely in these areas. Professor Ibrahim obtained his PhD from OISE, the University of Toronto, and has been with the Faculty of Education of the University of Ottawa since 2007. Before that, he taught at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Internationally, he has ongoing projects in Morocco, Sudan and the United States. His immediate projects include an ethnography of an inner-city high school in Ottawa and a project on the daily struggle of 'becoming citizen' in Canada. His books include The Rhizome of Blackness: A critical ethnography of Hip-Hop culture, language, identity and the politics of becoming (Peter Lang, 2014); Critical Youth studies: A reader (with Shirley Steinberg; Peter Lang, 2014); The education of African Canadian children: Critical perspectives (with Ali Abdi; in progress); Provoking curriculum studies: Strong poetry and the arts of the possible (with Nicholas Ng-A-Fook & Giuliano Reis; Routledge, in progress) and Global Linguistic Flows: Hip-Hop Cultures, Youth Identities, and the Politics of Language (with Samy Alim & Alastair Pennycook, Routledge, 2009). For high school students, he is known as Dr. Dre.

Tamari Kitossa

Dr. Tamari Kitossa is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Brock University. He earned his BA (Hon) and Magisteriate degrees at York University and his Ph.D. at OISE/UT. Research and instruction interests include Blackness, anti-Blackness, Black masculinities, African Canadian leadership, anti-criminology and counter-colonial criminology and interracial unions. He is contributing editor to three major book projects. The first African Canadian Leadership: Continuity, Transition, and Transformation (University of Toronto Press) with Erica Lawson and Philip S.S. Howard. The second is the book, Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy: Teaching, learning and researching while Black (University of Toronto Press), edited with Awad Ibrahim, Malinda Smith and Handel K. Wright. Finally, the book, Appealing Because He Is Appalling: Black masculinities, colonialism and erotic racism (University of Alberta Press).

Malinda S Smith

Dr. Malinda Smith, Vice Provost and Associate Vice President Research (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) at the University of Calgary

Dr. Smith has published widely in areas of international and comparative politics, and equity, diversity, and human rights in higher education. She is a co-author of The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indignity at Canadian Universities (2017), and a coeditor of the forthcoming book, Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy (UofT Press, 2022). She is the editor of three books on Africa, including Securing Africa: Post-9/11 Discourses on Terrorism (2010),; as well as co-editor of Critical Concepts: An Introduction to Politics, 6/E under revision with OUP (2022); and States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century (2010). Dr. Smith serves on several national committees, including SSHRC Council and Executive, and Statistics Canada’s Immigration and Ethnocultural Committee.

Dr. Smith is a 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow and the recipient of  numerous awards and fellowships, including Compelling Calgarians (2021), the Susan S. Northcutt Award from the International Studies Association (2020), 100 Accomplished Black Women Honouree (2020),  the Rosalind Smith Professional Award (2020), the ISA-Canada Distinguished Scholar Award (2018-19), the HSBC Community Contributor of the Year Award (2016); and the Equity Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (2015)

Handel Kashope Wright

Dr. Wright is a Professor in the Faculty’s Department of Education Studies, as well as the Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education. His work focuses on continental and diasporic African cultural studies, critical multiculturalism, anti-racist education, qualitative research, and cultural studies of education. Dr. Wright’s current research examines post multiculturalism, youth identity, and belonging in the Canadian context.

Dr. Wright received a B.A. from the University of Sierra Leone, an M.A. from the University of Windsor, and an M.Ed from Queens University. He completed a Ph.D. in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Also, Dr. Wright has been Canada Research Chair of Comparative Cultural Studies and David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education.

SU logo

Conversations on Black History at the SU | UCalgary

Presented by the Student's Union, University of Calgary

Join SU VP Student Life Assad Ali Bik as he interviews past and present student leaders, highlighting Black history at the SU. On Friday, Feb. 25, our guests will be 78th SU VP Academic Semhar Abraha, and 51st Vice President External Chima Nkemdirim. Both interviews will be streamed live on the SU’s Facebook page.

Friday, February 25, 2022 | 12 p.m. (MT)

Semhar Abraha

SU Vice-President Academic 2020 – 2021 (78th SLC)

Semhar Abraha is a first-year law student and the former Vice-President Academic at the Students’ Union. In this position, she developed a unique scholarship opportunity to make post-secondary education more accessible for BIPOC students on campus. Semhar also successfully advocated for the collection of race-based data within the SU to ensure that marginalized voices were recognized within decision-making spaces. Under her leadership, Semhar secured funding that was used to hire students to create Open Educational Resourced (OERs), in order to reduce the financial burden of buying expensive textbooks. Currently, Ms. Abraha continues to advance areas of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion by her involvement with the Black Law Students Association and other university stakeholders.

Chima Nkemdirim

SU Vice President External 1993 – 1994 (51st SLC)

Chima Nkemdirim is the Vice President of Government Relations for Shaw Communications and is responsible for leading Shaw’s government relations efforts. He joined Shaw after serving as Chief of Staff to Mayor Naheed Nenshi of the City of Calgary for more than seven years. Chima successfully led Mayor Nenshi’s first campaign in 2010 and joined the Mayor’s office.

Chima earned a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Calgary and a law degree at the University of Ottawa. Chima practiced law with Denton’s LLP for over 13 years, becoming a partner. In 2011, he was appointed as Queen’s Counsel by the Government of Alberta for his work in the legal profession. He received Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canada in 2012.

Chima is an active member of the community and volunteers his time with various non-profit organizations, including The Walrus Foundation, Calgary Arts Development, Arts Commons, The Calgary Foundation and the Calgary Black Chambers.

Sandra Batson (Moderator)

Sandra Batson is the Host and Producer of CBC Edmonton News at 11.

Sandra has lived and worked across the country with CBC as a Reporter, Video Journalist, Producer and News Anchor. She started her television career at CBC Toronto. 

Sandra's reporting on human rights issues and health topics has won numerous awards, including a gold medal at the New York Festivals and a Canadian Screen Awards nomination. She is also a judge for the International Emmy Awards in New York, where she evaluates stories worldwide.

Originally from Winnipeg, Sandra has a B.A. Honours degree in English from the University of Winnipeg, a Master of Arts from McGill University in Montreal, and a Journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto.

Sandra believes travel is the best education and considers many places like a second home. So when not travelling to visit family and friends, you'll find Sandra in Edmonton, checking out the local farmer's markets, organic grocery stores, yoga and fitness classes, and the river valley for long hikes.

Connect with Sandra @SandraBatsonCBC on Twitter.

Conversations with Black Leaders in Business

Presented by the Haskayne School of Business

Join us for an impactful session that will cover a broad spectrum of topics, including the Black experience in Alberta, navigating the job force and confronting racial microaggressions.

Sandra Batson, Producer and host of CBC Edmonton Television News, will moderate the discussion among four incredible panellists.

Nicole Dodd (EMBA' 20) – Service Design Lead, Calgary Public Library
Chi Iliya-Ndule (LL.M' 16) – Corporate Commercial Lawyer with Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP
Ganiyat Sadiq – Co-Founder and President of the Black Inclusion Association, current UCalgary student, faculty of Political Science and International Relations.
Dr. Akolisa Ufodike (Haskayne PhD' 17) – Assistant Professor, York University

Monday, February 28, 2022 | 12 - 1.30 p.m. MT

Nicole Dodd (EMBA 20)

Nicole Dodd is the Service Design Lead, Diverse and Inclusive Services at the Calgary Public Library. She has an EMBA from the University of Calgary with a capstone in Diversity and Inclusion examining psychology safety in the workplace along gender lines.

In June 2020, she co-founded an anti-racism initiative called AB Antiracism EDU, advocating for the Minister of Education to add anti-racism coursework and Black Canadian history to Alberta’s K-12 curriculum.

She is a passionate champion for inclusion, equity, and antiantiracism in her free time, and she likes to cross country ski, use her peloton bike, and travel.

Chi Iliya-Ndule (LL.M '16)

Chi Iliya-Ndule is a corporate commercial lawyer in the Calgary office of Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP. Her practice focuses primarily on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, energy and environmental matters, commercial arrangements and corporate reorganizations.

Chi is actively involved in the community. She currently serves on the boards of Alberta University of the Arts, where she also acts as Chair of the Human Resources and Governance Committee, and Antyx Community Arts, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to engaging youth through the arts. In addition, Chi is a co-founder, and the vice-president of the Calgary Black Chambers and a not-for-profit organization focused on providing mentorship and scholarships to foster the advancement of Black students. She also provides pro bono legal services through Pro Bono Law Alberta and mentors internationally trained lawyers through Calgary Regional Immigrant Employment Council.

Chi previously practiced law in the Calgary office of an international law firm and, before immigrating to Canada, in one of Nigeria's oldest law firms. Chi holds a Master of Laws (LL.M) from the University of Calgary, Canada and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria.

Ganiyat Sadiq

Ganiyat Sadiq is a research and policy professional recognized as Alberta’s Top 30 Under 30. She aims to establish substantial solutions to address growing political and social inequity by facilitating purposeful conversations with policy-makers, institutions and citizens.

These interests reflect the @ IAmXMovement, a social community founded by Ganiyat that seeks to raise awareness of the injustices faced by Black, Indigenous and Racialized individuals and provide a safe space to share their experiences.

She also co-founded and serves as the President of the Black Inclusion Association, a novel non-profit aiming to achieve equity and social justice for Black Albertans. Currently, Ganiyat is a fourth-year student in the Political Science Program and the International Relations Program at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Akolisa Ufodike (PhD '17)

Dr. Akolisa Ufodike is an Assistant Professor at York University. He is appointed to both the school of Administrative Studies and the graduate program in Public Policy, Administration, and Law. He has published on various subjects ranging from the state of First Nations healthcare to Public-Private Partnerships in Alberta. His research interests include equity diversity and inclusion (EDI), accountability and public sector finance.

Dr. Ufodike moved to Canada 20+ years ago, and struggling to find meaningful work, had to go back to school to start a bachelor’s degree all over again. He graduated from Laurentian University with a BComm while working four consecutive jobs. After earning the BComm, he proceeded to Queens and Cornell University and obtained MBAs from both institutions. After that, he completed a PhD from the Haskayne School of Business-University of Calgary. He is a Certified Director (ICD.D) and a Chartered Professional Accountant. In 2014 he was recognized by his peers in the profession as a Fellow (FCPA) – the highest honour bestowed on Canadian CPAs. He is the first Black Fellow of the accounting profession in Alberta and the first Black Albertan to earn the ICD.D credential.

Dr. Ufodike and his spouse Chioma are the first couple in Canada to hold the FCPA (accounting fellowship) credential from CPA and the certified directors (ICD.D) certification from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Adora Nwofor

Award-winning comedian, actor, prolific host, tireless anti-racism advocate, fierce feminist, and model: Adora is the real deal. Named one of Calgary’s Top 10 Best Dressed by Avenue magazine, she has worked with Shaw Television (Canada), the cultural media magnate Omni Television, and is the creator and host of the web series Living a Creative Life (now in its second season). At over 6ft, Adora has a strut like no other.

Adora has keynoted at TEDx YYC, hosted Canada Day 150 and Alberta Culture Days, and has MCd and advocated at comedy, culture, and antiracism events across the province. A trusted and outspoken voice in the community, Adora has been on the Board of Directors for the Nigerian Association and Femme Wave (Calgary’s Feminist Music and Arts Festival) and has worked with Afrikadey Festival, Cariwest, Calgary’s Nigerian Canadian Association, Young Women in Power, and many more. She is a co-founder and has been Grand Marshal for the YYC Women’s March since its inception in 2016.

When she isn’t busy doing one-to-one mentorship in the community and online, Adora is a successful entrepreneur and mother of three. As President and co-founder of Black Lives Matter YYC Adora is a major contributor to the local embodiment of a global movement that is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Black Excellence in the Time of DEI: Celebration or Tokenism

Presented by the Faculty of Arts and the Arts Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

When the goal of excellence is hindered by oppression what does achieving excellence mean? Who defines excellence, when will accessibility be open in Black communities and what is the impact of EDI post-2020 and the global acknowledgment of Black Lives Matter, Calgary edition.

Thursday, March 3, 2022 | 4:30 to 6 p.m. (MT)