2021 Racial Justice Symposium
Feb. 9-11, 2021
Accessing the Academy & building strong community
In recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015–2024, Mount Allison University will host the first-ever Racial Justice Symposium in partnership with the Maple League of Universities.
The symposium will address four major themes related to post-secondary education:
- Student development
- Social justice
The goal of the conference is to create spaces for dialogue, learning, and awareness around the experience of people of African descent and bring together racial justice advocates from various backgrounds to build meaningful relationships and collaborations.
Note: The symposium will involve a blend of 1) open sessions for students, staff, and faculty from across the Maple League and 2) closed sessions for Black, Indigenous folks, and other communities from intersecting identities.
Pan-African Flag-Raising at Mount Allison
To mark Black History Month and the start of the Racial Justice Symposium, Mount Allison will be raising the Pan-African Flag which will fly over campus for the month of February. Due to current Public Health restrictions, there will be no community gathering to mark this event; instead it will be recorded and shared via social media afterwards.
Feb. 9 — 5:00-6:00 p.m. (Atlantic)
Keynote address: Dr. Ornella Nzindukiyimana
Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University
Nzindukiyimana’s main area of research is the socio-historical study of Black Canadian people’s sport practices throughout the 20th century, with a focus on how immigration, nationalism, and the intersection of race and gender shaped their experiences.
LINK to the Microsoft Teams session can be found here.
Feb. 9 — 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Atlantic)
Panel Discussion on Leadership & Excellence: A Guide to Being a Change-Maker
In this session, we will hear from a diverse panel of past student leaders and alumni on how to be inclusive leaders and effective representatives of student communities. We will learn how the panelists have responded to the urgent and diverse needs from the student body in their former campuses and the community at large.
- Emelyana Titarenko — Former Mount Allison Students' Union (MASU) President
- Husoni Raymond — First Black President at St. Thomas and Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Fredericton
- KJ Conyers-Steede — Director, New Brunswick Student Alliance
Feb. 10 — 5:00-6:00 p.m. (Atlantic)
Keynote address: Dr. OmiSoore H. Dryden
James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine/Associate Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, Dalhousie University
Dryden, a Black queer femme, engages in interdisciplinary scholarship and research that focuses on Black LGBTQI people and HIV vulnerability within Black diasporic communities in Canada, systemic/structural issues that affect health and well-being, including experiences with blood donation in Canada, medical education, and Black health curricular content development.
LINK to the Microsoft Teams session can be found here.
Feb. 10 — 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Atlantic)
Panel Discussion on Solidarity and Community: Building Relationships with Under-Served Communities
This panel explores identity and community-building through the perspectives of two Black women. Reflecting on their lived experiences and current social/racial justice needs, the panelists will share their visions of how to build closer relationship with peoples of African descent while being active allies in creating safe community spaces.
- Jalana Lewis — Director, African Nova Scotian Community Engagement
- Josephine Watson — artist, poet, singer, actress, and community leader
Feb. 11 — 12:00 p.m. (Atlantic)
Maple League Hosts: Embracing the Spirit of Ubuntu — Implications for Transforming Teaching and Learning in Higher Education with Dr. Joy Mighty
In this session, we will discuss how the African philosophy of Ubuntu helps us to understand and embrace our common humanity. At the same time, it challenges us to re-imagine our post-secondary institutions as vehicles for achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion in a fractured world. In particular, we will discuss the implications of adopting Ubuntu as a means of transforming our curricula, teaching methodologies and learning environments so that all students, regardless of their social identity, may have an equal chance to learn and be academically successful.
LINK to the session on the Bluejeans online platform can be found here.
Feb. 11 — 5:00-6:30 p.m. (Atlantic)
Anti-Black Racism: Stories of Resistance & Healing
This session is a discussion forum that is available to only BIPOC communities due to the triggering nature of the discussions and need to create a safe space.
Pre-registration is required by e-mailing Ivan Okello, Black Student Advisor & Diversity Educator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
SPEAKER & PANELIST BIOS
Dr. Ornella Nzindukiyimana
Ornella Nzindukiyimana, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia (on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People). Nzindukiyimana’s main area of research is the socio-historical study of Black Canadian people’s sport practices throughout the 20th century, with a focus on how immigration, nationalism, and the intersection of race and gender shaped their experiences. Her work has appeared in forums such as Sport History Review, Loisir et Société /Society & Leisure, and The International Journal of the History of Sport.
Dr. OmiSoore Dryden
Dr. OmiSoore H. Dryden, a Black queer femme, is the James R Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, and Associate Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. Dr. Dryden engages in interdisciplinary scholarship and research that focuses on Black LGBTQI people and HIV vulnerability within Black diasporic communities in Canada, systemic/structural issues that affect health and well-being, including experiences with blood donation in Canada, medical education, and Black health curricular content development. Dr. Dryden is a content expert and Associate Scientist with the Maritime Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit (MSSU). In that capacity, Dr. Dryden provides guidance on Canadian Black Health metrics needed to inform the development of health policies and improve the health care system, this specifically focuses on survey data and demographic information, determinants of trust, sexual health and qualitative data collection and analysis. Dryden co-authored (with Dr. Onye Nnorom) the Commentary, Time to dismantle systemic anti-Black racism in medicine in Canada published January 11, 2021, in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Originally, from Kiev, Ukraine, Fredericton, NB quickly became the place that Emelyana called home when her family moved there in 2007. While attending Mount Allison (’20 BSc Psychology), Emelyana was involved with the MASU, SMILE, SHARE, and held the roles of a Campus Ambassador and Athletic Therapist for Mounties Athletics. During her time on the MASU, she served as a two-term Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and as the Chair of the New Brunswick Student Alliance. In 2019, Emelyana was elected as the first-ever Black MASU President after having served as VP External and VP Communications. Currently, she lives in Ottawa, Ontario and works as the Press Secretary to the Honorable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.
Husoni is a graduate of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB. He is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement in Fredericton. His advocacy is rooted in a passion for community empowerment and Black liberation. During his time at St. Thomas, he organized numerous inaugural Black History Month events, using education and advocacy as a tool to address anti-Black racism in his community. During his time with BLMF, Husoni has led grassroots initiatives related to defunding the police, anti-oppression education and advocacy for Black history to be incorporated in the New Brunswick public school curriculum.
Kjeld Mizpah (KJ) Conyers-Steede
KG is from Smith's, Bermuda and has lived in Atlantic Canada for almost seven years. A graduate of University of New Brunswick (UNB), he worked as an Innovation Strategist and Facilitator with New Brunswick's Government based out of the government's executive council office., and as the executive director for the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) an advocacy organization that represents over 12,000 undergraduate students within the province of New Brunswick. Kjeld lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and works as the policy advocate and operations manager for Spring Garden Area Business Association. Kjeld believes in human-centred policy development; and believes in using his lived experience to improve the quality of life of residences and business owners within the area.
Jalana worked as a non-practicing lawyer in the areas of policy, research and film before managing the political campaign for Lindell Smith, the first African Canadian candidate to be elected to Halifax’s Regional Council in 18 years. Jalana has also worked as Lead Researcher with the Lord Dalhousie Panel, commissioned to explore the relationship between Dalhousie University, race and slavery and the Knowledge Lead on the African Nova Scotian Youth Lab, a project committed to identifying ways to address disproportionate unemployment rates among Black youth in Nova Scotia.
A native of Fredericton, N.B, Josephine Watson began her artistic career performing with TNB and Characters Incorporated. A graduate of the professional theater program at Dawson College in Montreal, she toured with Geordie Productions and Village theater, at the Montreal Fringe Festival. She taught theater and movement at the Black Theater Workshop youth program and created her Hostess (MC) role with the Kalmunity Vibe Collective. Josephine has performed her Spoken-Word with the Charles Ellison Jazz Ensemble at Oscar Peterson Hall, recorded a French-speaking reggae album with a grant from the Young Volunteers, and has participated as a solo artist in numerous spoken word events such as Wired on Words and Voix d'Amérique, and as a singer with Coeur Maha, backing DJ Champion at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Since moving to Moncton, she has continued to perform as a poet and MC with the Inspire and Flash festivals and had the honor of being the first female Poet Flyée for two consecutive years with the Frye Festival in Moncton. NB Josephine’s latest projects include a French translation of the children’s book “Africville” by Shauntay Grant, and a self -discovery project of her genetic past and present with a focus on her experience being a black adopted child in a white family and her search for her biological and adopted relatives.
Dr. Joy Mighty
Dr Joy Mighty recently retired from Carleton University at the distinguished rank of Professor Emerita. She previously served as Carleton’s Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) and later as Senior Scholar for Innovation in Teaching and Learning in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), on secondment from the Sprott School of Business and the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies. Prior to her work at Carleton, Dr. Mighty served as the Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Queen’s University and as a Full Professor in the Queen’s School of Business. Before moving to Queen’s she was the coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Centre and a professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick.
Dr Mighty has an eclectic academic background and a wealth of experience as an administrator, teacher, educational developer, researcher and consultant. Her special interests are organizational development and change, with emphasis on equity, diversity and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has provided consulting services to private, public and not-for-profit organizations in Canada, the Caribbean, China, England, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the USA. In 2019, as a volunteer with Academics without Borders, she helped a newly founded university in Uganda to create and implement its five-year strategic plan. A frequently sought keynote speaker at regional, national, and international conferences, she has published in various conference proceedings, journals and books, and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed publication Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Dr Mighty has received awards for excellence in teaching, research, and “extraordinary service and professional leadership”. She is a Past-President of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), was the inaugural chair of the Educational Developers Caucus (EDC), and served as Canada’s representative on the Council of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED). She is also the recipient of the 2020 Christopher Knapper Lifetime Achievement Award and currently chairs the STLHE’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.