Dr. Afua Cooper, “The Voice of the Fugitive: Henry Bibb and the Beginning of the Black Press in Canada"
Dr. Afua Cooper is a multi-award-winning and celebrated speaker, scholar, historian, author, poet, performer, and social and cultural commentator. She is Principal Investigator at the Black People's History of Canada, Killam Research Chair of Black History and African Diaspora Studies at Dalhousie University, a Visiting Scholar at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University and a member of the International Scientific Committee of Routes of Enslaved Peoples for UNESCO. Dr. Cooper's many awards include the 2015 Nova Scotia Human Rights Award, the 2020 Portia White Prize, the 2021 Dalhousie President's Award for the Advancement of Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness and the Royal Society of Canada's 2022 J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian History.
Kamilah Gure, “Navigating Spaces within Academia and My Community"
Kamilah Gure, an M.A. Candidate at Lakehead University, speaks about her journey through academia as a Black woman, how she arrived at her research on equitable leadership and found her passion in community organizing.
Kamilah Gure is a graduate of the University of Ottawa. From a young age, she immersed herself in various community-organizing initiatives in her hometown of St. Catharines. As a Black woman, Kamilah found that it was rare to see representation and leadership that looked like her. Community organizing has grown to be a central part of her identity. Over the last few years, Kamilah has striven to not only become a strong leader within the communities she is a part of, but also to teach others how to be strong leaders in their communities as well. Her current research and community work is centered on what equitable leadership looks like and how we can emulate strong leadership qualities to make our communities and workspaces more inclusive.
Dr. Barrington Walker, “Slavery and Emancipation in Canada"
Dr. Barrington Walker is Professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, where he is also the inaugural Associate Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. He is a specialist in the fields of Black Canadian history, race and the racial state, law and immigration. He is the author of Race on Trial: Black Defendants in Ontario's Criminal Courts 1858-1958 (2010).
Janie Cooper-Wilson, “Boots on the Ground: In the Public Interest"
Janie's presentation provides a brief overview of how her decades-long career and experiences as a Historian, Archival Researcher and Investigative Field Worker may be utilized to bring about greater insight into the lives of Ontario's early African Canadians; the historical perceptions of their value as citizens; the role they played in the formation of our Province; and how the final resting places of these courageous Black Pioneers are dealt with in today's society. The audience will be motivated to ask themselves, “What is in the public interest, and how do we want our Ancestors remembered?"
Janie Cooper-Wilson has had a lifelong passion for history and has dedicated her adult life to researching and documenting the history of Black Ontarians. She is a strong advocate for the preservation of Ontario's endangered historical buildings and early cemeteries. Janie is the Founder and Executive Director of the SilverShoe Historical Society and a Director of the Ontario Historical Society. Her roles at the OHS include Field Representative for Simcoe and Grey Counties and Co-Chair of the Cemetery Preservation and Defence Committee. Over her long career, Janie has authored numerous articles and publications. She was the driving force behind the restoration and heritage designation of the Bethel Union and Old Zion Presbyterian Cemeteries in Clearview and was the face of the intense public relations initiative to preserve the Oro A.M.E. Church National Historic Site. Her many awards include the Ontario Historical Society's 2012 Carnochan Award, the Orillia Museum of Art and History's 2015 Historic Reconstruction Award and the Ontario Black History Society's 2018 Harriet Tubman Award. Presently, Janie continues her efforts to assist families attempting to locate their hereditary links to long-lost ancestors and is attempting to save several crucial Black History Sites in Haldimand County from obliteration.