Wilfrid Laurier University celebrates Black History Month and the thriving Black community at Laurier.
This year, Black History Month honours the resistance of African, Caribbean and Black peoples in Canada towards dignified self-determination, racial inclusion and freedom from anti-Black ideologies, racial terror, police brutality and discriminatory racial policies and practices.
Laurier is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and diverse community and supporting the growth of the thriving Black community across our campuses and locations. As we seek to honour Black resistance against systemic oppression, marginalization and exclusion, we recognize our institutional participation in the legacies that manufacture vulnerability in Black communities.
We hope to shift our collective awareness of Black resistance to understanding this necessary labour as equity-seeking, intersectional and beneficial to the broader social transformation needed to redress anti-Black racism on our campuses and beyond.
Throughout Black History Month and the rest of the year, we invite you to learn about our inspiring Black student leaders, exceptional faculty, staff members and our impactful alumni who are working to make the world a more just and equitable place through the stories, events and learning opportunities featured here.
Manager Lauren Burrows discusses the centre’s purpose, programming and her passion for social justice at Laurier and beyond.
With more support, the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will be better able to meet the needs of Laurier’s increasingly diverse student population.
Waterloo Brewing and Mammoth Mug have announced five new Athletic Financial Awards to support equity-diversity student-athletes at Laurier. The awards, along with milestone sponsorship agreements, total more than $500,000.
Founded in 2021, the Black Students of Lazaridis club is building community and connections among Black business and economics students at Laurier.
The Association of Black Students and Black Student Collective are student-led services at Laurier that aim to inform and empower the Black community at our Waterloo and Brantford campuses and Kitchener location.
Together with our donors, Laurier provides student financial support, educational initiatives and events through the campus Centres for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Highest Priority Needs fund.
You can support Laurier’s thriving Black community with a donation to the Centres for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion or the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Highest Priority Needs Fund at give.wlu.ca/edi.
Laurier alumni around the world are working to build more equitable and just communities:
Stories celebrating the work of Black staff and faculty members at Laurier will be shared throughout Black History Month. Be sure to check back often.
The inaugural African Women Leaders lecture, "Inspiring the Next Generation," brought together leading African women in academia to share their careers and life experiences with students on Laurier's Brantford campus.
The event was co-produced by Lauren Burrows, manager of Laurier's Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Oliver Masakure and Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, leaders of the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa.
Laurier’s Black Faculty and Staff Caucus aims to engage, empower and protect the interests of Black faculty and staff members while contributing to the capacity and community building necessary for the equitable participation of Black professionals at Laurier. The caucus formed in February 2021 under the guidance of Lamine Diallo, an associate professor in the Leadership program and an equity, diversity and inclusion faculty colleague.
Membership is open to all faculty and staff who self-identify as Black and provides the opportunity to support equity, diversity and inclusion on Laurier’s campuses as it relates to Black experiences.
Black faculty and staff members interested in learning more, getting involved or continuing their involvement can email email@example.com for next steps. Together, we can enhance the experiences of all Black faculty and staff and champion the benefits of diversity across Laurier.
In May 2022, the Laurier Centre for Music in the Community hosted the inaugural Mel Brown Music Festival and Symposium. The three-day event celebrated Black musical heritage in Waterloo Region through the legacy of blues musician Mel Brown. Laurier researchers are examining systemic racial inequities within university music programs to ensure that Black students and musicians are welcomed and represented.
Kevin Burrell, an associate professor in Laurier’s Department of Religion and Culture, studies how the Hebrew Bible influenced identity formation, colonization and slavery in Western history. He interrogates the very origins of “race” that continue to permeate our culture.
“People often trace racism back to Social Darwinism or 18th-century philosophy, but my argument is that the Bible was the first tool used to construct a biological notion of race for the purpose of legitimizing power,” says Burrell. “We’re living something that was passed on to us. Most people are unaware that there is no such thing as a biological basis of race.”
Several exceptional Laurier events take place throughout Black History Month. As an institution, Laurier continues to build and support Laurier’s thriving Black community by offering workshops, learning from research, and adding courses on equity, diversity and inclusion.
Join us as we learn about Black experiences, break barriers, and continue to support Laurier’s thriving Black community. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
Feb. 3, 3 to 5:30 p.m., Lazaridis Hall, room 1001. Register. Open to students only.
The Black Students of Lazaridis and the Association of Black Students are hosting three professional development workshops on personal branding, networking, and Black-student-specific scholarships and job opportunities. Following the workshops, students can have their headshots taken during a photo shoot in the Lazaridis Atrium.
Feb. 8, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Zoom. Register. All welcome.
In the settler nation-state known as Canada, Black and Indigenous peoples are poorly represented in the Canadian mosaic. In this Inspiring Conversation, Laurier Associate Professor Ann Marie Beals and Assistant Professor Karen Cyrus will explore why it is essential to document and honour Black and Indigenous histories, and how sharing their stories has a positive impact in our modern times. The event is part of the Inspiring Conversations webinar series hosted by Laurier Alumni.
Feb. 9, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Turret, Laurier's Waterloo campus. Open to high school students only.
Organized by the Association of Black Students at Laurier, Beating the Odds Conference is an all-day conference held on Laurier’s Waterloo campus for high school students to boost their aspirations for achieving higher education. For more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 8, 4 to 5 p.m., 232 King St. N., Waterloo and online via Zoom. Open to faculty, staff and students.
Join Associate Professor Dana Elizabeth Weiner for a presentation on her research into William Alexander Leidesdorff, a biracial ship captain from St. Croix. Leidesdorff's past is compelling but even more so are others’ widely varying tales of his life and its changing meaning for the history of the American West, race, and identity. The presentation is part of the History department's colloquium.
Feb. 10, 4 to 7 p.m., Laurier's Brantford campus, Carnegie Building, room 100. All welcome.
A discussion featuring Kojo Damptey, community leader; Amanda Mersereau, Unite Against Hate Brantford; and Tracy Cain, historian. The event is co-hosted by the Laurier Hub for Community Solutions.
Feb. 15, 2 to 4 p.m., Laurier's Waterloo campus, MacDonald House, CSEDI Hub, All welcome.
The Black Muslim community of Laurier invites faculty, staff and students to explore African tea traditions during a drop-in event. Historical information about African tea traditions will be shared while making Nigerian Zobo tea, Somali spiced tea with milk and Moroccan mint tea.
Feb. 16, noon to 2 p.m., One Market, room 310, Laurier's Brantford campus. Register.
Laurier International and the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion invite Laurier faculty, staff and students to enjoy African- and Caribbean-inspired dishes. Halal and vegetarian options will be available.
Feb. 17, 12:30 to 4:15 p.m., Concourse, Laurier's Waterloo campus. All welcome.
Hosted by the Laurier Association of Black Students, the market is an opportunity to shop Black-owned small businesses from the Laurier community. Follow the Association of Black Students on Instagram for more details.
Feb. 17, 7 to 11 p.m., RCE004, Laurier's Brantford campus. Open to Laurier students, faculty and staff.
Join the Black Student Collective for annual Black History Month Gala. The gala welcomes performances and programming honouring the diversity of the Black diaspora coming together as one. The All Black Affair invites participants to celebrate the solidarity built across Black identities and experiences. For ticket information, follow the Black Student Collective on Instagram.
Feb. 24, 1 to 2 p.m., Zoom, Register. All welcome.
Laurier welcomes Chandra Prescod-Weinstein, assistant professor of Physics at the University of New Hampshire, as part of the Lamine Diallo Speaker Series. Joined by Laurier Physics Professor Shohini Ghose, Prescod-Weinstein will discuss her contributions to physics research, her work as a theorist of Black feminist science studies, and her recent book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred.
Feb. 28, 1 to 2 p.m., Zoom. Register. All welcome.
Hosted by the Muslim Chaplaincy at Laurier, this online session provides a space to discuss the challenges and opportunities of experiencing intersectional identities. The discussion will be led by Abdirahman Said.
Looking to learn more about the issues and injustices facing our society? Explore some of Laurier’s undergraduate courses that address Indigeneity, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.