Danielle Ponder

Black History Month at Laurier

Black History Month takes place every February to recognize the historical and ongoing struggle towards racial equality, and to celebrate the experiences and accomplishments of black Canadians. There are many events at Laurier this month to raise awareness and promote equality and respect. This page will be updated as information becomes available.

Black History: Who We Are, Where We Came From and Where We Are Going

Monday, Feb. 5: Laurier SOUL (Student Opportunities for Unity and Leadership) presents a series of short talks on the theme “Black History: Who We Are, Where We Came From and Where We Are Going.” Speakers include Funké Aladejebi (Trent University), Radcliffe Dockery (HigherEye Training and Consulting), Lauren Burrows (Wilfrid Laurier University), Tolulope Ojo (McMaster University) and Mary Ola (Brand Active). The free event is open to the public and will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the SC Johnson Building on the Brantford Campus, Room SCJ 127.

Trivia Night

Wednesday, Feb. 7: Laurier’s Association of Black Students is hosting a trivia night featuring questions on Canadian black history at Wilf’s Restaurant and Bar on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, beginning at 10 p.m.

Movie Screening and Discussion

Thursday, Feb. 8: Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work in downtown Kitchener is planning a screening of the documentary Profiled, facilitated by Paula Butler, a part-time faculty member in Laurier’s Department of Global Studies and author of Colonial Extraction: Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa. The evening in the Faculty of Social Work auditorium (Room 101) starts with drumming at 6:30, followed by the movie at 7 p.m. Finger foods will be provided courtesy of Laurier’s Diversity and Equity Office. The Faculty of Social Work is also hosting a Black History Month display in its lobby and a book display in the Social Work Library, both celebrating black excellence.

Beating the Odds Conference

Friday, Feb. 9: The Beating the Odds conference, led by Laurier’s Association of Black Students, seeks to empower black high school students to pursue post-secondary education. This is the thirteenth anniversary of the conference, which has grown from 30 participants in 2005 to nearly 200 registrants this year. The full-day conference takes place on Laurier’s Waterloo campus and includes speakers, workshop and arts activities. For more information, contact abs@wlu.ca.

Discussion on Race and Religion

This event has been cancelled – Tuesday, Feb. 13: Laurier’s Association of Black Students and Muslim Students’ Association are collaboratively presenting a talk by Canadian spoken-word poet and writer Boonaa Mohammed, with a facilitated discussion on the intersection of race and religion.

The Night of Black Heroes

Thursday, Feb. 15: Laurier’s Diversity and Equity Office, Laurier SOUL (Student Opportunities for Unity and Leadership) and InWARD present a screening of Black Panther, including a reception and talk on representation of black identities and experience in the media. The talk/reception starts at 5 p.m. in the Commuter Lounge on the Brantford campus and will be followed by a trip to the Brantford Galaxy movie theatre. For tickets and more information, see Eventbrite.

Afro Fusion Dance Class

Monday, Feb. 26: Laurier’s Association of Black Students is hosting a free dance class to be led by Kenechi Chidolue of the University of Waterloo’s AfroFusion Dance Club. Dancers at any level, from any style, are encouraged to attend. The Turret, third floor, Fred Nichols Campus Centre, Waterloo campus, 6-8 p.m.

Historical and Contemporary Figures Display and Drumming Circle

Monday, Feb. 26: The Concourse in the Fred Nichols Campus Centre, Waterloo campus, will be the site of a display featuring prominent black figures from throughout history. The displays, up from 1-4 p.m., will include biographies of and information about current community groups and individuals in Waterloo Region. There will also be a drumming circle at a time to be announced. Hosted by Laurier’s Association of Black Students. Also check out the association’s Black History Month window display at the Laurier Bookstore.

Discussion on Racial Identity and Conformity

Tuesday, Feb. 27: Spoken-word poet, writer and storyteller Faduma Mohamed of RISE Edutainment will host a discussion on the topic of racial identity and conformity in post-secondary settings. The discussion will also cover intersectionality and navigating identity as racialized people. Participants will be given the opportunity to write about their experiences navigating identity. Dr. Alvin Woods Building (DAWB) 2-105, Waterloo campus, 7-9 p.m.

Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People

Wednesday, Feb. 28: Award-winning musician and criminal defence lawyer Danielle Ponder (pictured) will be at Laurier’s Waterloo campus for a workshop, question-and-answer session, and concert sponsored by Laurier’s Women and Gender Studies program, Diversity and Equity Office, Student Life Levy, Faculty of Arts, Campus Experience Enhancement Fund and Students’ Union.

Ponder received her law degree from Northeastern University, where she was a recipient of the prestigious Public Interest Law Scholarship. Through her professional life and music career, Ponder has shown a commitment to social justice work and developed an expertise in racial justice and criminal justice policy. Her band, Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People, has received multiple awards.

  • Workshop: 1-3 p.m., The Turret, Fred Nichols Campus Centre. Snacks provided.
  • Question-and-answer session: 3-3:45 p.m., The Hawk’s Nest, Fred Nichols Campus Centre. Snacks provided.
  • Concert: 7-9 p.m., Maureen Forrester Recital Hall.

Melanin Showcase

Wednesday, Feb. 28: Laurier SOUL (Student Opportunities for Unity and Leadership) presents Melanin Showcase, the annual Black History Month celebration on the Brantford campus. Featuring dance, music, fashion, drama and art, the event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes a dinner at 7 p.m. Free tickets are available at the Diversity and Equity Office at 95 Darling Street, St. Andrew’s Community Centre, Office 300 (second floor) or from a SOUL executive member. The event will be held at the Brantford Civic Centre, 79 Market St. S. and the dress code is “classy with a touch of culture.”

Lifting As We Rise: A Night of Excellence

Friday, March 2: Laurier’s Association of Black Students presents its annual culture show featuring a variety of performances, fashion and artwork. The show aims to encourage empowerment, progress and solidarity. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m. Location to be announced (Waterloo campus).