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Black History Month Archives

Explore past programming in the Faculty of Social Work

Thanks to the Faculty of Social Work Anti-Black Racism Task Force, students and staff who worked so hard to create our compelling program.

Black Canadian Changemakers Series

Canada has a rich history of inspiring Black individuals who shattered barriers and broke through the black ceiling. Join us as we learn more about some of these remarkable figures in Canadian history this Black History Month.

Past Black History Month Events


Honouring the Mind, Body and Spirit: A Panel on Black Health and Wellness

The Anti-Black Racism Task Force is hosting a virtual panel discussion on the physical, spiritual, and sexual health of Black people. This panel aims to address the unique challenges and barriers that Black individuals face when it comes to their overall well-being, including issues related to discrimination and systemic racism within healthcare systems. The panel will feature a diverse group of experts, including medical professionals and community activists, who will share their insights and experiences on how to promote better health outcomes for Black individuals. The goal of the panel is to raise awareness and foster a deeper understanding of the specific needs of Black people when it comes to their physical, spiritual and sexual health, and to provide tangible strategies for how to support and advocate for their well-being.

Read More About Our Panelists here

Working towards Equity: A Conversation on Social Justice

The goal of the panel is to provide a platform for discussing solutions and strategies for promoting social justice and equity. We will focus on the ongoing struggles for racial justice and equity in various spheres such as legal, education, and employment. The discussion will centre on the effects of anti-Black racism, discrimination, and various forms of oppression on Black communities. Our diverse group of experts, including lawyers, educators, and activists, will share their perspectives on how to promote social justice and equity for Black individuals and communities. The panel will also explore ways in which individuals and organizations can take action to support the Black communities and work towards systemic change. Presented by: The Anti-Black Racism Task Force and the University of Calgary’s Black Law Students’ Association


  • Susannah Alleyne, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Counsel and Equity Ombudsperson, Law Society of Alberta
  • Keshia Holloman-Dawson, JD’22
  • Sheryl Thompson, MSW, RSW, PhD Candidate

The Anti-Black Racism Task Force invites you and your friends to join us for a fun afternoon of dodgeball during Black History Month! Faculty, students and staff of the University of Calgary are welcome and encouraged to participate. Come as a team (minimum 4 people, plus 2 substitutes) or as an individual and you can create a team with other participants. Unwind, have fun and cheer your friends on!

There is no registration fee for this event. If you wish to participate, please sign up via the form below by February 12, 2023.

Date: February 17, 2023
Time: 3-5 p.m.
Location: University of Calgary Active Living Center - Gold Gym

Black History Month Event - Edmonton

This event is a partnership between the Faculty of Social Work, Anti-Black Racism Taskforce and the African Canadian Civic Engagement Council (ACCEC) https://accec.ca/.

Date/Time: February 24, 2023 from 5-8 PM.
Location: Santa Maria Goretti Centre (11050 90 St NW Edmonton, AB)

View poster here


Black Resilience and Resistance at the Intersections

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?

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.

A Poetic Performance on Black Cultural Awareness & Literacy

Join Wakefield Brewster for a poetic performance on Black cultural awareness and literacy.

“[Wakefield] Brewster, who describes himself as a “PoEmcee” — his own portmanteau of poet and emcee — moved to Calgary in 2006 and quickly rose to prominence as one of the city’s most energetic and accessible spoken word artists.” ~ Avenue Magazine

View poster here 

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

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.

The Team

Ken Williams
Is a social worker, educator, a creative and program developer. I am interested in how forms of radical healing intersects with Black cultural production. Hip Hop, Jazz, and Soul is the pulse of his heartbeat.

Freda Bizimana
Is a social work student and works directly with young people living on the margins of society. Freda is a singer, songwriter and spoken word artist by night. Music is her true therapy.

Precious Myers
is a social worker and youth worker. She is the co-founder of Project Next of Kin a project that works directly with families in need. Hip Hop music has been an integral part in her life.

Black Students’ Experiences: The Cost of Admission

Join us for a panel discussion mixed with poetry, music and dance.

The University of Calgary is one of the top research universities in Canada and home to a diverse student population. What does this mean for Black students? How are our voices heard? What are the responses to our needs? Join the ongoing discussion on what it means to be Black in post-secondary education.

Aligning with the 2022 Black History Month theme “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History Today and Every Day”, this program will showcase the creativity and strength of Black students, instructors, and other faculty members within the world of education. Following creative performances by Black artists, a student-led panel will highlight the real cost of admission for Black students. The focus of this discussion will be Black excellence in academia and the resilience that is required to succeed, using a variety of different experiences and journeys into post-secondary institutions.


Christina Mukaga - University of Calgary Undergraduate Arts student
Daniel Habte - Registered social worker with teaching experience and a University of Calgary Master of Social Work student.
Janelle Lee-Pong - Master of Social Work student 
Nafisa Moallim - Registered social worker and University of Calgary Master of Social Work student.
Serge Nyirinkwaya - PhD student with the Faculty of Social Work

View poster event here


Event by University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work

Our Black History Month series continues with an evening of poetry and thought-provoking discussion.  This event will feature a presentation by Dr. Afua Cooper and poetry performances by two dynamic Calgary poets: aloT of Poetry and Nyabuoy Gatbel.

4347500500true0,0,199,199Dr. Afua Cooper’s indomitable research on slavery, abolition, freedom, Black education, and women studies across Canada has made her a leading figure in African Canadian studies. She’s currently a history professor at Dalhousie University.

Her book on Canadian slavery, The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Slavery in Canada and the Burning of Old Montreal broke new ground in the study of Canadian and Atlantic slavery. Angelique was nominated for a Governor-General’s award, and was named by the CBC as one of the best books published in Canada.

Her co-authored publication, We’re Rooted Here and They Can’t Pull Us Up: Essays in African Canadian Women’s History helped centre the study of Black women’s history in Canada. A recognized poet, spoken word artist, and wordsmaestra, Afua helped found the Dub Poetry movement in Canada, and popularized Dub Poetry around the world. She has published six books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Copper Woman and Other Poems, and her most recent is Black Matters: Poetry and Photography in Dialogue, a collaboration with German multidisciplinary scholar and artist, Wilfried Raussert.

As an academic leader, Afua founded the Black Canadian Studies Association and the Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus. She also established the Black and African Diaspora Studies Minor at Dalhousie.

4344500332aloT of Poetry: Adetola Adedipe has Nigerian roots and was raised in South Africa. She has been a featured artist at events all over YYC from Open mics to Poetry festivals and the November 2019 Calgary Slam Champion. She has published in the YYC: POP Anthology by Poet Laureate Emeritus Sheri-D Wilson.


Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB.
She was born in Ethiopia and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She’s now an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. She is also a social entrepreneur, fashion model, writer and author of the book, The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.

Our Black History Month series continues with this special community discussion and panel presentation on Black fatherhood and masculinity. Presented by Alberta Network of Immigrant Women and Alberta Men’s Network

The image of Black masculinity and the caring roles Black fathers play are evolving.

There are increasing examples of Black fathers challenging stereotypical images and social norms that have defined Black masculinity and fatherhood for generations.

Please join us for a rich and insightful conversation with Black fathers involved with the care of their children. We will explore two main questions:

1) What are the opportunities and challenges for fathers involved in caring for their children?

2) What are the current perceptions and narratives around Black fathers/Black masculinity?

Join the discussion!

Event by University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work

Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard is a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and advocate of social change.

She has worked in mental health at the provincial level, in rural community practice at the municipal level, and, since 1990, as a professor at the Dalhousie School of Social Work, where she also served as director for a decade. In 2016, she was appointed Special Advisor on Diversity and Inclusiveness at Dalhousie University and she is the first African Nova Scotian to hold a tenure track position at Dalhousie University and to be promoted to full professor.

Dr. Thomas Bernard has worked with provincial organizations to bring diversity to the political processes in Nova Scotia and teach community members about Canada’s legislative process and citizen engagement. She is a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) which helps address the needs of marginalized citizens, especially those of African descent. As a former member of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and as its past Chair, was instrumental in the development of advice to ministers regarding frameworks for gender violence prevention and health equity.

At the national level, she has served as a member of the National Coalition of Advisory Councils on the Status of Women. She has served as an expert witness in human rights cases and has presented at many local, national and international forums. Dr. Thomas Bernard has received many honours for her work and community leadership, notably the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada

Event by University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work

Event by Faculty of Law - University of Calgary, Black Law Students' Association - UCalgary Chapter and University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work   

Join the UCalgary conversation on Anti-Black Racism initiatives, asking, “What are you doing to become an anti-racist?” The Faculty of Social Work leads a cross-faculty discussion on anti-Black racism initiatives on the UCalgary campus.

Student representatives include:

  • Faculty of Law: Ms. Keshia Holloman-Dawson
  • Faculty of Arts: Mr. Ebenezer Belayneh
  • Student’s Union: Ms. Semhar Abraha

Faculty representatives include:

  • Faculty of Law: Ms. Catherine Valestuk, JD
  • Faculty of Arts: Dr. Virginia Tumasz
  • Faculty of Medicine: Dr. Pam Chu
  • Faculty of Science: Dr. Steven Vamosi
  • Faculty of Social Work: Dr. Patrina Duhaney

Digital Storytelling

Black Social Workers in Alberta

Kehinde Ariyo

Cynthia Okafor

Chipo Emmah Bvindi

Shayla Dube