The lived experiences of students and faculty will be among the topics discussed at “Addressing Anti-Black Racism on Campuses,” an event being held Friday, Jan. 20 from noon to 3 p.m. at Brock’s Pond Inlet.
Hosted by the University’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (FAHS) Anti-Racism Task Force, known as the ART initiative, this is the second major event since the group’s formation in March 2022. These events are part of a larger Faculty goal of creating and facilitating action-oriented initiatives toward more inclusive, equitable and just intellectual spaces for BIPOC-identifying FAHS students, staff and faculty. The events also reflect the University-wide strategic priority of fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.
“ART Initiative members are happy to have created momentum with action-oriented initiatives to foster inclusivity and belonging for BIPOC-identifying people in our Faculty,” says Kirsty Spence, FAHS Associate Dean, Teaching and Undergraduate Studies. “Our committee work with the ART Initiative has been extremely rewarding. It has been a way to not only connect and work with BIPOC students, but to also hear their concerns and create action toward anti-racism.”
Christabel Oghinan (BSc ’22), an alumna with a passion for advocacy and human rights, helped lay the foundation for these events alongside her peers Temi Odunuga (BSc ’22) and Akua Asare (BSc ’21), approaching FAHS Dean Peter Tiidus and Spence during the COVID-19 pandemic to garner support for under-represented students.
“We were very surprised to learn how open the Deans were to hearing our concerns,” Oghinan says. “With their support, we hosted the first FAHS student-led Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Town Hall virtually in April 2021.”
The responses generated at the Town Hall enabled useful feedback to be compiled and submitted to FAHS leadership, which helped get the ART Initiative started, Spence says.
“We were pleased to have created an event where students felt comfortable to open up,” Oghinan says. “It feels like we really activated something that has made us a part of the change process at Brock.”
Friday’s event will comprise of a panel of internal and international guest speakers moderated by Brock Human Resources’ Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Culture and Education Trecia McLennon.
Representing Brock University on the panel are Professor of Information Systems Anteneh Ayanso, Goodman School of Business; Professor Dolana Mogadime, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Studies; Professor Beatrice Ombuki-Berman, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Science; and doctoral student Nwakerendu Waboso, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences.
Also joining the panel from the U.S. are Associate Professor John Singer, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Sport Management, School of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University; and Associate Professor of Sport Management Kwame Agyemang, Department of Human Sciences at Ohio State University.
“Friday’s panel is but one initiative where we hear from our Black colleagues to understand what further actions are needed toward developing a campus eradicated of anti-Black racism,” Spence says.
In addition to lived experiences, participants can expect to learn more about contemporary and historical acts of anti-Black racism in academic institutions, research and on campuses.
“I’m looking forward to not only what this accomplished group of international scholars have to say but also the participant feedback,” Oghinan says. “It is when talks are unscripted, and students feel safe to speak up about their campus experiences that voices really start to get heard. This is my favourite part, when we lay the groundwork for the after-effects to be put into action.”
Friday’s event is free, but spaces are limited. Please register via EventBrite to secure a spot.