The Black Experience: Past, Present and Future – virtual panel

Thursday, February 25, 2021
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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A mosaic of panelists' faces: Shak Edwards, Michèle Newton, Yaa Deane, Ainsworth Spence, Claudine Cousins and Clement Bamikole

Georgian is organizing an important virtual panel on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. to mark Black History Month.

The event is called The Black Experience: Past, Present and Future and will offer an opportunity to learn from local Black leaders.

The panel includes:

  • Dr. Clement Bamikole: Professor and Program Co-ordinator for Degree Breadth, Liberal Arts, Georgian College
  • Claudine Cousins: Chief Executive Officer, Empower Simcoe
  • Yaa (Ramona) Deane: Activist and Educator
  • Shanicka (Shak) Edwards: President, Shak’s World Association and owner, Shak’s World Community Centre
  • Michèle Newton: Keynote speaker and consultant (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
  • Ainsworth Spence: Social Justice Capacity Builder

Moderator and Georgian faculty member Dr. Daphene Francis will guide conversation for the first hour and a half, then invite the audience to ask questions.

The panel is open to all Georgian employees, students and alumni — as well as the broader community. Please register in advance and the link to the virtual panel will be emailed to you.

RSVP to get the event link

Learn more about the panelists

Dr. Clement Bamikole: Dr. Bamikole has worked on poverty and food security issues in the international research centers in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the financial services sector. Since moving to Canada, he has worked in a variety of industries including management consultancy. He served as Chair of the Barrie Food Bank, board member of a faith-based group, and volunteered at the Central North Correctional Centre to support re-integration of inmates from under-represented groups into society.

Claudine Cousins: Claudine is the Chief Executive Officer of Empower Simcoe and a part-time instructor in Georgian’s Business and Management programs. She is a strategic, big-picture thinker with a drive and passion for social justice issues and its link to business outcomes. Claudine has over 25 years of leadership experience with various ministries within the Ontario Public Service and the not-for-profit and profit sector. She brings expertise from an operations, governance, diversity, and human resources leadership lens within unionized and non-unionized organizations.

Yaa (Ramona) Deane: Yaa is the Board Chair and Education Director of UpLift Black, an organization working to build the visibility and socio-economic development of Black people based in Simcoe/Muskoka. Yaa dreams of a world where kindness and love is natural and freeflowing and hate ceases to exist! She has big dreams!

Shanicka (Shak) Edwards: Shak’s World was created to build respectful and successful athletes/community members, while bringing awareness to their mental and physical well-being, through basketball and community engagement. Shak’s mentorship program bridges the gap between mental and physical health by creating a safe space for youth and bringing together communities through a game that transcends age, race and sex. Shak’s World Community Centre is the home of Barrie’s very first for-youth-by-youth centre, run predominantly by young Black community members. This is the Stay. Humble. And. Kind. Movement – or the S.H.A.K.

Michèle NewtonMichèle is the creator of Our Mosaic Lives, co-founder of Making Change and a communications professional with her firm PMJ Inc.  She’s guided by her “better together” philosophy – growing relationships, nurturing collaborations and facilitating partnerships, especially those with a shared focus on strengthening our community.

Ainsworth Spence: Ainsworth is a Social Justice Capacity Builder at SEIU Healthcare—one of Canada’s largest healthcare unions. In this role, he is responsible for designing programs and campaigns that advance social justice for all equity seeking groups. The focus is on racial and economic justice, which include strategies to close the wealth gap. He’s a dynamic and passionate trade unionist, and serves at the national level, as Vice President at the Canadian Labour Congress, Representing Workers of Colour, defending workers’ rights and the promotion of fairness and equity.

Dr. Daphene Francis, moderator

Dr. Daphene Francis, moderatorDr. Francis is a full-time nursing faculty member at Georgian College. Her PhD dissertation research examined health behaviours of Black Caribbean immigrant women living in New York. She continues to explore the diverse factors contributing to health inequities for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). As a Grenadian-Canadian global citizen with personal and professional ties to a few countries, Dr. Francis understands first-hand how Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices and policies impact health outcomes, education access and job opportunities for many BIPOC individuals. She is inspired to address these disparities.