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.
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.
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 TIME, The Guardian, the BBC, CNN International, Wired, The 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.
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 Vogue, Washington Post, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, VICE, PAPER Mag, BBC News, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, W Magazine, Glamour, Elle, 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
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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, 1815-1865, North 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 Acadiensis, Labour, and the Canadian Historical Review.
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 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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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).
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.
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).
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)
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.