Georgian professor Clement Bamikole has dedicated his life to the community and raising up each other.
Clement earned a PhD in Agricultural Science and joined two international research institutes in Africa while doing his postgraduate studies. After that, he worked in the banking industry before relocating to Canada with his family in search of a better future.
In Canada, he first worked in the health-care industry, then moved into training and management consulting and teaching at George Brown College in Toronto, before joining Georgian’s Liberal Arts department where he’s now both a professor and program co-ordinator.
The killing of George Floyd was a catalyzing moment for Clement. Inspired by his eldest daughter’s distressing letter to her employer, he worked that letter into a five-page letter to share with Georgian’s senior administration, “I hope you all are doing well. I’m not, and this is why.”
Clement wrote, “I’m here to represent everyone who looks like me – faculty, staff or students – and to make Georgian a more welcoming space, and I challenge the college to do something about it.”
He was surprised when less than two hours later, he received a response from Georgian’s (then) President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes encouraging him to take action.
This resulted in Clement working with like-minded colleagues and leading three separate anti-Black racism forums in 2020 with the goal to make the college a more welcoming space for everyone, regardless of socio-economic background, faith and orientation.
In 2021, for the first time ever, the group organized a college-wide Black History month program of events including a symposium open to the wider community and the global audience. Leading up to that, Clement was featured in both local and national media to sensitize the audience to the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd.
This working group formed the EDI Working Circle (EDIWC) and won a $400,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to establish an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) centre. In 2022, the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDIB) centre became operational at Georgian College.
Clement wants to ensure that when people come to Georgian, they can show up as their full selves, knowing Georgian is a welcoming place for everybody – not just for Black people, but for Indigenous Peoples, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, and more.
In the community, he served as chair of the Barrie Food Bank, board member of a faith-based group and volunteered at the Central North Correctional Center (CNCC), Penetanguishene to support re-integration of former inmates into the society, especially those from under-represented demographic.
Clement remains tireless in his commitment to raising up every person so they can be true to themselves, and breaking down barriers to promoting oneness. In continuation of his advocacy work, in 2023-24, he plans to proceed on Academic Professional Development (APD) to increase engagement of Black students in the life of the community and to embrace and celebrate the diversity that Canada offers.