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Black History Month

Black History Month

This February marks the 25th anniversary of the first time Black History Month was officially commemorated in Canada. This declaration was thanks in part to the work of Glendon alumna Rosemary Sadlier (BA) and honourary alumna Jean Augustine (LLD ’11). Throughout the month of February we’ll be sharing the stories of Black York alumni and opportunities to participate in events across the university celebrating the contributions made by the Black alumni, staff, students, and instructors of York. Visit York’s Black History Month website for more information.

Asare Kester-Akrofi

Alumni Spotlight: Asare Kester-Akrofi (MPPAL ’20)

Completing a degree while working full-time is no small feat. Asare Kester-Akrofi (MPPAL ’20 ) graduated from York's Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program during a global pandemic while working full-time in public service and volunteering with the United Way.

Learn more about Asare's interest in the MPPAL program and how he gives back to his community.

Exploring the future of Blackness

When Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu (BA ’10) was hired in January 2020 to take the helm of Toronto’s Obsidian Theatre as its new artistic director, she had no idea how much the world would change by the time she started the job in July. Her first project with the theatre involved telling the stories of 21 Black playwrights answering the question “what is the future of Blackness?”

Learn more about Mumbi's experience working on Obsidian's 21 Black Futures during a global pandemic.

Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu

Sarah Embaye

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Embaye (BSW '16, MMgt '17)

A graduate of both York's School of Social Work and Schulich's Master of Management program, Sarah brings a unique perspective to her role as a partnerships coordinator at MLSE LaunchPad where they aim to improve social outcomes for youth facing barriers through sports.

Learn more about Sarah's career path since graduation.

Alumni Spotlight: Stachen Frederick (BSW '13)

Named by the Women Executive Network (WXN) as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Stachen Frederick (BSW ’13) has over 20 years of experience in the field of community and program development both nationally and internationally.

Learn more about why Stachen chose York and her work on the frontlines of change.

Joseph Smith, founder of Generation Chos3n

Alumni Spotlight: Joseph Smith (BA '11, BEd '12, MEd '14)

Joseph Smith is a man who wears many hats. He is a PhD student, an educator, researcher, consultant, volunteer leader and co-founder of Generation Chos3n, a not-for-profit organization that supports young adults in the Jane and Finch community.

Learn more about Joseph Smith's experience at York and work in the local community.

York University's Black Alumni Network (YUBAN) [VIDEO]

York University's Black Alumni Network (YUBAN) connects former, current, and future Black York students. YUBAN's goal is to engage its members as well as provide networking and professional development opportunities as well as to give back to the community.

To connect with YUBAN, find them on Instagram at @blackyorku.

Brandon Hay speaking at event

Alumni Spotlight: Brandon Hay (MES '16)

In 2001, Brandon Hay discovered he was going to be a dad for the first time. After visiting community centres seeking out help for Black fathers, he realized there were no resources available for him, so he developed one for other young Black men.

Learn more about Brandon and what motivated him to start the Black Daddies Club.

How a Glendon alumna helped make Black History Month official in Canada

Like many new grads, when Rosemary Sadlier completed her Bachelor of Arts from Glendon College she struggled to find work. While working contract and part-time jobs to save up for her Masters in Social Work she also volunteered as a board member of the Ontario Black History Society, the only Provincial Heritage Organization (PHO) in Canada that focused on Black history.

Find out how Rosemary's work led to the permanent commemoration of Black History Month.

Rosemary Sadlier, Glendon alumna

Dr. Jean Augustine. (Photograph by Kwaku Kufuor)

Claiming a seat at the table

Former MP Jean Augustine (LLD '11) helped establish Black History Month in Canada. Now, a committee is fundraising to establish an endowed chair in her name at York. They've launched the “25K in 25 Days” initiative to highlight the 25th anniversary of Black History Month.

Learn more about the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora and how you can contribute.