Black History Month

February is Black history month. It is a time to acknowledge histories that have been struck from many books, stories, and curriculums. It is a time of reckoning. It is a time to celebrate brilliance. It is a time to demand change. It is a time to acknowledge that we can do so much better.


We can collectively do better, in order to embrace the possibilities that come with radical love, collective care, intersectional experience, disruption, and hope – because these are the lessons that come quickly forward when contemplating Black activism and Black brilliance. Lessons from Maya Angelou who described the profound possibilities of disruptions: The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind. The reminder from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr about the violence of silence: In the end, we will remember not the worlds of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Lessons about the power of radical love, as described by political journalist Uwa Ede-Osifo: A life rooted in radical love reorients us away from personal suffering and survival and turns us toward continuing a tradition of Black resistance to state-santioned or state-complicit oppression and subjugation. And the sober reminder from Laura Mae Lindo about the need for critical reflection, even about Black History month: When leaders don’t want to change systems of oppression, they celebrate the people they are oppressing. And, of course, the urgent lessons about hope and meaning, as described by Cornel West: “Without hope there can be no future, without meaning there can be no struggle”.


I invite us all to take some to time to reflect upon these lessons and more, there are many. Please find the inspiration that manifests in these lessons, inspiration to take with you into this month, this year, the rest of your lives.




Trish Van Katwyk, Director, School of Social Work 


For further reflection and learning:


uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

A message from Dr. Christopher Taylor, Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism 

OASW Celebrates Black History 

Government of Canada, February is Black History Month 

Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 

Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies 

Making purposeful use of available resources and providing intentional educational opportunities to all employees, Renison is encouraging committees and team members to make use of the following resources available through UW as a vehicle for enhancing our capacity to understand and practice our work through a lens of racial justice, reconciliation, and decolonization. 

University of Waterloo Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism 

Key functions: The Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-racism works with students, faculty, and staff across campus to advance equity through evidence-based policies, practices, and programs. 

One of the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism key functions on campus is to build knowledge, skills and awareness related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. This is accomplished by offering relevant educational opportunities. 

'Still I Rise', by Maya Angelou (PDF)

Unsettling the Great White North - Black Canadian History (PDF)

Congratulations to School of Social Work alumni Veen Wong and Rebekah Churchyard

The School of Social Work extends congratulations to Veen Wong and Rebekah Churchyard, recipients of Renison's Young Alumni Awards. The Young Alumni Award recognizes recent graduates of Renison University College who, having graduated from academic programs and/or Community and Professional Education (CAPE) programs or courses administered by the College within the past 10 years, or having lived in residence at the College for at least two terms within the past ten years, have made significant contributions to their field, either through academic achievement or service to the community.

Rebekah Churchyard completed her BSW in 2014, including a BSW practicum at the Working Centre (Field Instructor, Dori Ferr) in downtown Kitchener. She went on to complete a MSW, specializing in gerontology at the University of Toronto. Recently, Rebekah realized her longtime dream of establishing a day program for seniors rooted in agriculture. In April 2021, she founded Green Care Farms which is a social enterprise providing an agricultural program that addresses social care needs for people with dementia by hosting a day program on a farm. Their mission is to provide outdoor programs on farms for people with dementia to have responsibilities, purpose and belonging. Their vision is a green care farm for people with dementia in every community. In 2014, she founded an international organization focused on the growing global concern of dementia called World Young Leaders in Dementia. Rebekah has generously offered to support social work education at Renison by offering practicum opportunities for BSW and MSW students. Thank you and congratulations, Rebekah!

Veen Wong graduated from the MSW program at Renison University College in 2020 and is currently pursuing her PhD with the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Veen has distinguished herself in both areas of service to her community and through her academic achievements. Veen demonstrated a keen interest in pursuing a field practicum with the Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub (KDE Hub), to expand her learning in the areas of mental health promotion and knowledge mobilization. In this role she worked with both KDE Hub’s team and community partners to advance project goals and strategic mission, while carving the way forward for the KDE Hub’s student field internship program too. Veen’s contributions as a Graduate Student Representative on Academic Council, as a MSW Representative on SSW Search Committees, and the MSW Representative on the Practicum Advisory Committee are only a few examples of the ways she went above and beyond in supporting and her fellow graduate students and the SSW. Well-deserved, Veen! Congratuations!

MSW Students, Sunita Lad and Ashley Doyle Co-write article with Dr. Susan Cadell and Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller

Professor Susan Cadell, faculty, School of Social Work, Renison University College, and her co-investigator, Kathy Kortes-Miller, have been published in The Conversation, Canada. It is co-written with Sunita Lad and Ashley Doyle, current MSW Students at Renison.

People should be allowed to visit, say goodbye to those who are dying during COVID-19