The Catalyst Anti-racism Newsletter - Issue 21

Thursday, March 23, 2023
The Catalyst banner

Welcome to the 21st issue of The Catalyst Anti-racism Newsletter.

The Catalyst provides the University community with monthly updates from individuals and teams working across campus to counter systemic racism and oppression and highlights excellence from Black, Indigenous and other racialized groups.  

View the past issues of The Catalyst.  

In this issue:

Subscribe to The Catalyst to receive each issue directly to your inbox

Message from the editor

International Women's Day (IWD) celebrated on March 8, is a global celebration of women's achievements. IWD is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and to recognize the ongoing work needed to achieve gender equality.  

This year's theme of "Embrace Equity" highlights the urgent need to address the systemic inequities faced by racialized women.  

As we reflect on the ongoing fight for gender equality it is important to recognize the intersectionality of gender with other forms of oppression, such as race, class, and sexuality. It is also necessary to also acknowledge the diversity of experiences among racialized women and ensure that solutions are intersectional to address the unique challenges faced by women in different communities. 

This requires a commitment to ongoing learning and growth, as well as a willingness to listen to and learn from the experiences of those who have been marginalized and excluded. 

In recognition of IWD 2023 the March issue of the Catalyst is cantering racialized women actively working to dismantle structural barriers to create a more just and equitable world for all. 

Happy Reading! 

Tracelyn Cornelius 
Editor, Catalyst Newsletter 
Director, Inclusive Communications

Back to top

Anti-racism across campus

Leading anti-racism at Waterloo

Jennisha Wilson

Originally published by Waterloo News on March 15, 2023 

Many universities struggle with dismantling systemic racism and bias in their policies, practices and culture.  In response to this challenge, the University of Waterloo created an anti-racism unit — the first-of-its-kind academic support unit. Under the leadership of Jennisha Wilson, director of anti-racism within the Equity, Inclusion and Anti-racism Office (EDI-RO), the unit identifies and addresses systemic racism in the University's policies, procedures and practices. 

“It’s about looking at our systems — the ways in which we do work at the University, and looking at our policies and procedures to really analyze the history of how those practices and policies came to be in order to better the University campus,” she says. 

Read the entire article on Waterloo News. 

Back to top

A candid discussion with Dr. Laura Mae Lindo

Dr. Laura Mae Lindo

Originally published by Waterloo News on March 15, 2023 

Women face significant barriers when it comes to achieving equity, particularly in politics. Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, the Kitchener Centre Member of Provincial Parliament, addressed these issues at a recent event, as part of an International Women's Day (IWD) series, hosted and organized by the University of Waterloo, in collaboration with the Women in Communications and Technology Waterloo Region Chapter (WCT WR). 

Speaking at the March 1 discussion called Barriers to equity: Women, political representation & family, Lindo shared personal experiences of being a Black, single parent involved in politics. 

Read the entire article on Waterloo News.  

Back to top

Black-led student clubs and activities

Students Naomi (she/her) and Justine (she/her)

Written by Naomi (she/her) and Justine (she/her), students 

At Waterloo, we like to talk about our student clubs. A lot. The vast 250+ to choose from. The diverse range of interests they cater to. How important they are to student culture. 

That’s because being part of a club at Waterloo is about more than just picking an extracurricular to slap on your résumé. It’s about finding a community that you can feel comfortable in, one that allows you to create meaningful connections with likeminded people. 

Being a member of a marginalized community can sometimes cause you to seek out those people that have similar lived experiences and safe spaces that make you feel comfortable. At Waterloo, those spaces are abundant and easy to find. Our campus has so many clubs that strive to empower and celebrate Black students and culture; places where you can learn, engage with others, express yourself, dance, eat, make friends, have fun — you name it. 

Read the entire article on the Future Students website

Back to top

Student feature

Finding the intersection between race and health   

Rachel Almaw

Originally published by Co-operative Education on March 9, 2023 

Rachel Almaw’s (she/her) dedication to research has resulted in remarkable work, for which she is being recognized with the Co-op Student of the Year Award for the Faculty of Health. She is a fourth-year student in the Health Studies program, with a minor in Gerontology. Rachel shares the various elements of working in a research lab and walks us through her passion for bridging the gap between health and race. 

Read the entire article on the Co-operative Education website

Back to top

Making space for racialized voices

Celine Isimbi

Originally published by Sustainability News on January 27, 2023 

Celine Isimbi is an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Environment and works to support equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives across campus. She was formerly the environmental education co-director with Black Girl Environmentalist, a non-profit aimed at creating space for underrepresented voices in the mainstream environmental movement. 

The sustainability of our quality of life is intricately connected to our social, economic and environmental well-being. However, the realities of the climate crisis have not impacted everyone equally. We asked Isimbi how we should enact the intersectional changes required to ensure a prosperous future for the planet and everyone on it. 

Read the entire article on Waterloo News.

Back to top

Research Spotlight

Women in the digital workforce

Dr. Nada Basir

Originally published by Waterloo News on January 9, 2023 

The work world has been permanently transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Zoom meetings are the new norm, even now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Employers are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence programs for many work tasks that humans once did. But against this backdrop there are also labour shortages in many sectors. The unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio is at a historic low across Canada, partly because baby boomers who are close to retirement age have left the workforce, but not enough younger people are coming in behind them. 

Nada Basir, a professor at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, says there is an aspect to this conundrum that is rarely talked about: providing opportunities for women, particularly immigrant and racialized women, to get jobs or create new businesses amid this changing economy. 

Read the entire article on Waterloo News.  

Back to top

Bulletin board

Beyond the Bulletin Episode 150 – Anti-Racism, Research Ranking, Eagle Staff 

Beyond the Bulletin with microphones

Jennisha Wilson, director of anti-racism, discusses the unit’s priorities and plans, and what we can all do to advance anti-racism efforts at Waterloo. Research Infosource designated Research University of the Year among Canadian comprehensive universities for the 15th consecutive year. The University community will welcome an Eagle Staff, which reflects the wisdom, strength, and honour of those who carry it. And registration is open for the annual staff conference. 

Listen to the podcast.

Back to top