During Black History Month at Ryerson we celebrate black excellence (past and present), critically engage with today’s social and political realities, and actively look forward to a better future. We are using the #BHMatRU hashtag to collect our stories and photos. Please share yours as well.
How do you use your talents in creative design to elevate the voice of black folks?
It is reflective in my photography work and hobbies. I try to include diverse voices and unconventional ways editing. I did a photo project for Black History Month where my photos were edited with gold accents highlighting Black folks of the past and the present. Also, representing the black community in the creative design field is so important as there are very few of us there.
1st year Accounting and Finance, Muslim of Ethiopian Descent
What is one piece that you take from your religion and apply it to fighting injustice in your community?
In one word, it would be patience. Just being able to remain patient through the toughest of situations and remember that what you are facing is a test from God.
Current Vice President Equity, Ryerson Students’ Union and advocate for environmental justice.
What is your driving factor when it comes to work on environmental sustainability and equity?
Environmental sustainability is always an equity issue. The environmental movement, at the end of the day, isn’t about “saving the planet”. It’s about ensuring that humans and other living beings can continue to thrive on this planet. So advocating for environmental justice must always come from a place that prioritizes and uplifts the most marginalized people. My family comes from Trinidad and Jamaica. Islands are threatened by rising sea levels and climate change, in general, so this work is very personal to me. I care about protecting my people and the vibrant cultures in the West Indies. The people who contribute less to environmental degradation should not carry the majority of the burden. It should be shared fairly – and that in itself is the definition of equity.
3rd year Social Work Student
What motivates you to organize and advocate for Black and LGTBQIA+ folks as someone who identifies as both?
I don’t really see any other option, when made aware of the injustices in the world I do not know how not to take action and being part of a community that is on the margins of the margins, I feel a sense of urgency to do so. I have access to resources in the form of community, Elders, uni etc. so it is my responsibility to do what I can to resist always. I wish I could be more poetic about it, but honestly my drive comes from my love for my people and an insatiable need to resist all forms of oppression, while honouring this Land, it’s First People, the histories of my folks and the future. As a young Haitian, Queer, Trans kid, resistance is literally in my blood.
What does the work of the National Black Society of Engineers do for folks like yourself and how do you play in that role on campus?
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) provides an opportunity for black engineering students to join together and foster personal, academic and professional growth within an career that we are under represented in. NSBE this month will be hosting their first ever railway networking night and we invite all engineering students to learn more about the railway industry with professionals from TTC, Hatch and Metrolinx.
4th year Mechanical Engineering Student, Proud Jamaican-Canadian.
What is one hope you wish to see in the STEM field as a Black female student in Mechanical Engineering; a field that sees only 5-7% females enrolled every year?
Woman have always been a under-represented group in STEM fields, with an even smaller group being black. When I entered Ryerson in 2013, there were only 43 women in Mechanical Engineering by 2015 that number has grown only up to 68 women! I believe by introducing STEM at a young age helps to foster a love for this field; allowing kids to see that STEM is open to everyone who loves to know how the world works. There are different outreach programs such as with the National Society of Black Engineers where they go into middle and high schools and get the interest peaked in the STEM fields at young age.