Black History Month banner

Black History Month

Black History Matters

Black History Month is a time to share and learn the numerous important contributions and achievements of Black Canadians to the history of Canada. As the Canadian Encyclopedia notes, people of African descent have contributed to Canada’s heritage and identity since the 1600s.


To connect and build relationships with others in the community of Black/African/Caribbean descent year-round, please visit the ACCANO website. 

The commemoration of Black History Month dates back to 1926 when a Havard educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson proposed setting aside a time to bring awareness to Black history to honour the achievements and contributions of African Americans. This birthed the Negro History Week in the United States.  In the early 1970s, the title was changed to Black History Week and in 1976 it was celebrated as Black History Month.

In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.

In February 2008, Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate, introduced a motion to the senate that officially recognized February as Black History Month. In March 2008, the motion was carried universally completing Canada’s parliamentary position on Black History Month in Canada. 

February is Black History Month. This year’s theme is Transformative Journeys: Black Resistance and Resilience.  Learn more about Black History here. The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Anti-Black Racism working group committee invites you to join us in this year’s Black History Month events. We invite students, staff, faculty, alumni and members of the Algoma U community to join upcoming month-long events on our campuses and communities.

Kick-off in person City Wide Proclamations:

Sault Ste. Marie: January 30, 2023 at 4:30 pm.

Brampton: Black History Month Proclamation 

Timmins: January 30, 2023 @10 am

Black History Month Virtual Keynote Speaker Event

Topic: Breaking Down Colonial Structures and The Architects of Anti-Black Racism | Date: February 03, 2023 from 7:00-9:00 pm

Black History Month Speaker Series

Topic: Active Resistance and Politics of Blackness | Date: February 10, 2023 from 7:00-9:00 pm

Black History Month Dinner Celebration

This event will feature a dinner menu reflective of ACCANO’s rich and diverse cultures, live music, dance performances, door prizes, a cash bar and much more.

student at convocation
Algoma University Black Graduation

Are you on track to graduate? We want to celebrate with you!  Fill out the google form below to participate in Algoma Universities 2021 Black Graduation Celebration.

Celebrating Black Excellence at Algoma University

Here, we centre the contributions and achievements of our Black staff, faculty, students, and alumni. In celebrating excellence, we aim to recognize the wide-ranging contributions these individuals have made in academia or beyond, and the different ways in which these achievements can inspire us.

Select Name to View
Brenda Wanjiru

Brenda Wanjiru, an undergraduate student at Algoma University completed her four years of business administration, specializing in Accounting. From there, she enrolled at the Chartered Professional Accountants in Ontario to complete her certification to be a CPA. Brenda is originally from Kenya and came to Canada with her family. In 2016, Brenda joined ACCANO and was part of the team advocating for students and helping in planning events and promoting diversity across the community. She was also part of the Algoma University Student Union as the diversity representative and sat in different committees across the school board. After graduating, Brenda joined BDO in Thunder Bay and has been working there as a junior accountant while taking her CPA classes. She also helps the community with financial services, filing taxes, and volunteers for a number of organizations across Ontario. In the future, Brenda wants to become an accountant hopefully become a partner, Business woman and a pillar of the community.  She firmly encourages people to be strong, persistent, and courageous and to always Enjoy your journey, learn as much as you can, and build many relationships.

Gilbert Totime

Gilbert Totime has enjoyed the value of global education, with his early experiences as a student in Cote D’lvoire, Ghana and Japan. He has lived in six African nations as well as Asia, Europe, and Japan before coming to Canada and Algoma University in January 2009 to study. As a West African from modest origins with a distinct international experience, Gilbert offers a unique worldview that informs his interest in global development and public administration.  

Since 2013 Gilbert has worked in the Enrolment and Financial Services departments at Sault College and Algoma University. Prior to these positions, he was a Student Recruiter, Financial Analyst and also Enrolment Services Officer. Among his many accomplishments, Gilbert developed a funding proposal for an international development project that focused on education and employment in Tanzania. Due to his efforts, Sault College was henceforth the successful recipient of a three-year funded project.  

Earlier as a student at Algoma U, Gilbert became involved with the Algoma Multicultural Student Association (AMSA), in the role of Vice President. AMSA is a campus club that promotes cultural diversity to bridge the gap between domestic and international students. With his international and cross-cultural background, he was often consulted to assist with significant projects on campus, including a special campaign designed to assist international students experiencing culture shock. Gilbert became involved in ACCANO in 2014 and since then he has planned 4 successful Black History Month events with the team. 

Gilbert also served on the Algoma University Students’ Union (AUSU), as Vice-President External, Chair Person and then Vice President Finance. With AUSU, he was actively involved in student life holding great responsibility to represent and advocate on behalf of the student population, securing programming and entertainment, project management, and volunteer management. Gilbert was also the contact person for the Canadian Federation of Students (provincial and national), travelling to different parts of Ontario to participate in campaigns associated with student organizations.  

He is currently the Student Services Coordinator at the AU Brampton Campus. He has always been passionate about helping students from various walks of life. He is always here to provide a smooth transition and help you navigate through it all. The best way is to try to get involved in a number of community engagements ranging from social and cultural events.

Jeannette Adderley

Born in the Bahamas Ms. Adderley moved to Canada in 2006 where she attain her undergraduate degree in Accounting with a certificate in Law. She has worked in the finance industry for 20 years. She is the proud Co-owner of

Diamond Engagements an event planning and rental company started in 2012 which has established itself as a quality service provider in the wedding and events industry. Diamond Engagements can be found on many social media platforms including Facebook and Google Business.

She is also the Co-owner of Driverseat Sault Ste. Marie, which is a transportation solution service established in the Soo in 2013. Driverseat provides many services including but not limited to Designated driving, assisted transportation, shuttle service and much more. Driverseat can be found on many social platforms as well as at

Marlene Mae Henry

Marlene Mae Henry, is a Community Chaplain who personifies Charity, Compassion and Responsibility. She is the President of Helping Hands International, a non-profit organization with a focus on supporting individual and community maximize their full potential. Marlene believes that the holistic approach to Community advocacy and capacity building are best supported though awareness, information, training and counselling.

Marlene is an Algoma University alumni with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Community Development (ComDev)  

She is also a co-author in the number one International Best-selling Anthology “Broken Trust” 

She is also:

  • An Anti-Black Racism Trainer/Facilitator  and is currently completing her Masters’ of Theology (MTS) Studies in Christian Education at Tyndale University and Seminary.

 Her other Achievements Include:

  • Tyndale University Baraca Philathea Scholarship for Christian Education Award, 2020 – 2021
  • Tyndale University, Senate Committee Student Representative, 2020 – 2021
  • Tyndale University, Vice President (VP) Student Council, 2020 – 2021 
  • Tyndale University Baraca Philathea Scholarship for Christian Education Award, 2020
  • Social  Service Worker Diploma, Honors, Seneca College 
  • Seneca College, Leader by Example Award, 2013
  • Seneca College, Student Mentoring in Life and Education (SMILE) Award, 2013 
  • Featured Story in the Seneca Alumni 2013 Red Magazine
  • Poster Child for Seneca College “Because it Matters” Ad Campaign, 2014 
Pauline Danquah

So why is it important to celebrate Black History Month? Although it may seem we only have one month dedicated to our ancestors, to our successors and to us who are present today, to me, Black history is every single day. Every single day we are marking history! Not a day goes by that I don’t acknowledge the work my people have done for me, the sacrifices that they made for me to be where I am today, and for that, every Black person living in North America should be proud and remember their roots. As an Alumni of AU, I learned so much more about myself and the influence I portrayed over Black women and as well Black men. I did not realize the strength and power I carried walking through the halls of such a sacred place once known as a residential school. It is important for us to acknowledge the spaces we’re in and the positive actions we want to create on them. 

But, no one really understands the unique struggles we face in academia and in our everyday lives, and this month is dedicated to all Black students and Black people who have worked tirelessly to be where they are today. Black excellence is ongoing and is defined not only by our academic achievements but by being able to survive the pain, and the multiple forms of racism, stereotypes, and discriminatory practices towards us. My experiences at AU and becoming the first Black female President was a breakthrough and a success I can never forget. I prayed to God to lead me in the right path. I understood the purpose of my role and how it would leave others who looked like me inspired, especially Black women. I truly believe we are so strong and powerful; anything we set our mind to is possible and that is the excellence I have strived for. I want to encourage all Black students at AU to just believe in yourself, remember where you come from, and know that we are all rooting for you and are here to support you. As I digress, it is significant for me to state that on January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States of America, and a Black woman of that! We are so proud and will celebrate this moment in history! Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to all my brothers and sisters who lost their lives last year to acts of violence and racism. They will always hold a special place in my heart and may they rest in perfect peace.

Dr. Teni Araba

Olúwaténíayòfúnmi (Teni) Araba is a Nigerian-Canadian and hails from Ibadan, in the Southwest region of Nigeria, West Africa.

She is currently the Director of Human Resources at Algoma University and holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration with 19 years of professional experience as a Human Resources professional and TV presenter.

Before moving to Sault Ste. Marie in June of 2018, Teni was the Director of HR and Training for Driving Change Automotive Group in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where she was responsible for all office locations in both provinces.

Teni loves to sing and is currently a vocal student at the Algoma Conservatory of music. When Teni isn’t working in HR, she is singing with her family, friends, in church/at a concert or planning an event on social media. Teni is married to her husband and mentor, Gabriel, and they live in the Sault with their 3 children!

Black Excellence for me, means holding on to my truth; holding firm to my roots and making my world a better place because I am in it! I cling to the universal values of love, joy, peace and hope that transcend every race, colour, tribe or gender. 

Teni is driven by a passion for transformational development and interpersonal capacity building. Teni believes no mountain is insurmountable. She proved this by being the only female member of a crew of senior executives who in September of 2011 successfully reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro; the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, 5,895 metres above sea level.

Teni is a proud member of the African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario (ACCANO) and Musical Comedy Guild of Sault Ste Marie.

A Message from the President

February is Black History Month and Algoma University joins communities worldwide in celebrating the important contributions of the Black community on our campuses.

As we celebrate Black History Month, and the history of Black people, let us reflect on the current challenges faced by Black communities and on how we can intentionally be a more welcoming, safe and inclusive, learning, teaching, and working environment where all students, faculty and staff are represented, and respected. 

Algoma University affirms its commitment to the  National Dialogues and Action in addressing anti-Black racism and Black inclusion on its three campuses. This will include ongoing anti-Black Racism education awareness sessions and concrete steps to value the strengths, knowledge, and contributions of Black students, faculty, and staff through a more comprehensive definition of institutional excellence.

AU is embarking on ongoing Anti- Black Racism Awareness Education dialogue sessions for its senior leadership teams, as well as employees and students as part of its demonstrated commitment to EDI. 

Join us in the many virtual events happening throughout the month of February!

A‌sima C. Vezina

A‌sima C. Vezina

President and Vice-Chancellor

student speaking up
Mental Health Resources for Black Canadians

With the events of recent months and the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure that our community’s mental health receives the attention it deserves. On this page, you will find access to multiple Black mental health services and organizations across Canada that can help support you and your loved ones.

Learn More
Suggested Reading Resources For The Month
  • They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black  Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada, Cecil Foster
  • The Hanging of Angelique, Afua Cooper
  • How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney
  • White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo
  • The Skin We’re In, Desmond Cole
  • From #Blacklives Matter to Black Liberation, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Free on Amazon Kindle for Prime members)
  • The Colonizer and the Colonized, Albert Memmi (at Wishart Library)
  • Black Skin, White Masks, Franz Fanon  (at Wishart Library)
  • Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, Angela Davis
  • Theorizing Empowerment: Canadian Perspectives on Black Feminist Thought. Edited by Njoki Wane.
  • So You Want To Talk About Race. Ijeoma Oluo.
  • Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to Present, Robyn Maynard
  • They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up by Eternity Martis.

Interested in adding a resource to the list? Contact [email protected]