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Black Women in Manitoba.

Cultural Awareness Workshop 2021 – Women Blazing Trails: Black Women in Politics

The COBW annual Cultural Awareness Workshop (CAW) was held virtually on Saturday, July 17. The atmosphere was powerful and the speakers were inspirational. The event highlighted the knowledge, experiences, and stories of Black Women in Politics, enhancing awareness and encouraging multicultural education.

Event Overview:

The Minister of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery, Minister Audrey Gordon, welcomed attendees with opening remarks followed by a moving keynote address from the first Black Canadian woman to serve as a federal Minister of the Crown and Member of Parliament, Hon Dr. Jean Augustine. The event also featured the following dynamic panel speakers: 

  • MLA Uzoma Asagwara (they/them), a member from Union Station, addictions specialist and registered psychiatric nurse
  • Arielle Kayabaga, London City Councillor and community advocate
  • Celina Caesar-Chavannes, former MP and author of “Can You Hear Me Now?”
  • Alexa Joy, researcher, and journalist for CBC Manitoba. 

The event wrapped up with lively discussions of the following topics in breakout rooms by around 80 participants in attendance:

1.      “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – What does it mean to have a seat at the table, and how do you bring or make your own if you are not invited.

2.      Breaking stereotypes – What are the political experiences of Black politicians, and how do you overcome the stereotypes or imposed expectations? What does it mean to be a trailblazer, and how do you leave a positive legacy for the next generation?

3.      Parenting and politics – What are the realities of parenting while working in politics? How do we create a family-friendly environment so more mothers/parents can run for office?

4.      Activism and Politics, what’s the difference? – This theme explored community organizing and how to create change from the grassroots level touching on the challenges of emotional labour and how to support yourself while you support your community.

5.      Intersectionality and Politics – What is the importance of representation in politics, and how do we create better governments and policies that serve Black communities in Canada. 

Living History: Local Voices, Racial Inequality on the job: Then and Now

Oral history is a way of collecting and interpreting human memories to foster knowledge, knowledge transfer, and human dignity. Living History: Manitoba Educators 1960s-1980s – is a video that highlights the experiences of ten (10) Black educators, from various levels of academia, who emigrated from the Caribbean. Listen to them share their poignant and personal experiences as they navigate the Canadian educational system during the 1960s to the 1980s. Viewers will have the opportunity to reflect actively on their own personal experiences. This will help them to create a comparison between life then and now. 

DISCLAIMER: This video is a Congress of Black Women (COBW) and MultiSec funded Initiative. The views and opinions expressed in this video are those of the speakers and do not necessarily express the views and opinions held by the Congress. This video is not to be reproduced or used for profit.

This video is for general informational purposes only.  COBW reserves all rights.

Supporting Documents

The resources below are to be used with the Living History: Local Voices, Racial Inequality on the job: Then and Now video. Each document provides in-depth instruction that guides participants on an inquiry-based journey encouraging them to examine personal beliefs and critically think about ways to make a difference.

ENGAGEMENTS: The participants in this video are willing to participate in panels or Q & A discussions. If you would like to have participant-educators present in your classroom or at your event, please contact:

Dr. Lois Stewart-Archer

Living History Project Coordinator

COBW Past President


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