A Discourse: Racism and Justice

November 6, 9:30 – 17:00 EST

Recordings available below

Moderator: Beryl Wajsman

9:30 – Wes Hall: The Black Experience in Canada

Wes Hall is the founder of Kingsdale Advisors. The Globe and Mail has called him one of the nation’s “most influential powerbrokers” and Canadian Business magazine named him one of the “most powerful businesspeople” in 2016.

Wes is Founder and Chairman of The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and the BlackNorth Initiative, committed to the removal of anti-Black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians.

10:00 – Michael Mostyn: The History and Future of Black-Jewish Relations

Michael Mostyn is the Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada and oversees the breadth of B’nai Brith’s programming and advocacy initiatives. He serves as a senior spokesperson for the community and regularly speaks out on behalf of Canadian Jewry and those whose human rights are under threat globally. Michael is a barrister and solicitor in good standing with the Law Society of Upper Canada.

B’nai Brith and The Black Chamber of Commerce recently signed a MOU to join forces and fight together on issues of race and antisemitism.

10:30 – 11:00: Q&A Period

11:00 – Peter Flegel: Remembering the Holocaust: A Key to Eradicating Racism

Peter Flegel is the Director of the Government of Canada’s Anti-Racism Secretariat, a cornerstone of Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022. In addition to coordinating federal action and driving the overall strategy, he and his team are responsible for working with federal departments and agencies to identify and coordinate initiatives, identify gaps, and consider the impacts of new and existing policies, services, and programs on communities and Indigenous Peoples.  Peter has a distinguished career as a social entrepreneur, fundraiser, columnist, community organizer, and musician, with extensive Canadian and international experience working in multilingual and multicultural settings. He has a history of leadership in the government, NGO, and philanthropic sectors, in areas including diversity and employment, human rights, Anti-Black racism, Indigenous issues, homophobia and transphobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, youth, culture, and multiculturalism.

11:45 – Ric Bienstock: Enslaved

Ric Esther Bienstock O.C. is a Vanier graduate and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her “commitment to raising awareness of global events and conflicts through film”. She has produced and directed investigative and social issue documentaries including Sex Slaves, an investigation into the trafficking of women from former Soviet Bloc Countries into the global sex trade, Tales From the Organ Trade, an exploration into the trade in black market body parts, The Accountant of Auschwitz, a film exploring post-war trials in Germany and Ebola: Inside an Outbreak, which took viewers to ground zero of the Ebola outbreak in Zaire. She has garnered dozens of awards for her films including a U.S. Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, two Edward R. Murrow Awards and 2 Amnesty International Award.

Her latest project, Enslaved, is a six-part documentary series that sheds new light on 400 years of human trafficking from Africa to the New World, led by Hollywood icon and human rights activist Samuel L. Jackson. Using new diving technology – such as advanced 3D mapping and ground-penetrating radar – to locate and examine sunken slave ships on three continents, the series reveals an entirely new perspective on the history of the transatlantic slave trade.

12:30 – Marie-Claude Landry

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., has been the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission since March 2015.  As Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ms. Landry has undertaken several major initiatives, notably the reorganization and simplification of the human rights complaints process to break down barriers to access to justice for people in vulnerable circumstances.

Ms. Landry meets regularly with many organizations and stakeholders across Canada to hear and understand their concerns. She has taken upon herself and is committed to amplifying the voices that may otherwise go unheard.

To raise awareness of the enormous socio-economic impacts of systemic racism and discrimination, Ms. Landry continues to participate in various events and engage with racialized communities.

13:15 – Stephen De Four-Wyre: Race and the Canadian Immigration System

Stephen De Four-Wyre, B.Mus. (McGill) 2010; B.C.L., LL.B. (McGill) 2014; M.A. (McGill) 2017, was admitted to the Law Society of Ontario in 2016 and the Barreau du Québec (c.l.a.) in 2017. He joined Goldberg Berger in September 2017. His law practice is focused on immigration-related matters. In addition to practicing law, Me De Four-Wyre has a parallel career as a university lecturer. Since January 2018, he has taught courses in employment/labour law and business law at Concordia University. More recently, in January 2020, he began teaching employment/labour law at McGill University.

14:00 – May Chiu: Anti-Asian Racism in Times of COVID: Towards Building a Movement of Resistance

May is a family attorney, single parent, anti-racism activist (against South African apartheid, Chinese head tax campaign, a campaign against Bill 21, for rights of migrants, etc.), and for the past two years, a member of Extinction Rebellion fighting for climate justice.

14:45 – Nakuset: The Resilience of Urban Indigenous People

Nakuset, the Executive Director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montréal, is Cree from Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan.  She has three beautiful boys, Kistin, Mahkisis and Mahihkan. She was adopted by a Jewish family in Montreal and draws on her adoptee experience in her advocacy work for Indigenous children in care. Nakuset created, produced and hosted the television series Indigenous Power, she was voted “Woman of the Year 2014” by the Montreal Council of Women, and she is the Indigenous columnist for MaTV’s CityLife. Nakuset was featured in Real Talk on Race, the award winning CBC series. In 2017, she was selected by the CKX City Series as a speaker/shift disturber due to the work she does to shift the status quo for urban Aboriginal women. In November 2017, she was a speaker for TEDxMontrealWomen. In 2018, she testified for 3 days at the Viens Commission, a public inquiry into the discrimination of Indigenous people of Quebec. She testified in June, 2018 at the MMIW Inquiry in Calgary. In February 2019, she presented at WE Day. She was recently featured in the “End of 2010’s interview for Global” to discuss the past decade work with the urban Indigenous community. She is honoured to spearheaded and run the Cabot Square project since its inception and to co-found Resilience Montreal. She is dedicated to improving the lives of urban aboriginals. 

15:30 – Fo Niemi: Racial Profiling

Mr. Niemi is the co-founder and, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), which is a small non-profit civil rights organization based in Montreal.  He is a graduate in social work from McGill University and also studied political sciences at Concordia University, with specialization in judicial activism and the civil rights movement in the US and Canada.

16:15 – Vanier Student BIPOC Panel

Fatoumata Baldé – “Being a Black Muslim woman, Fatoumata Binta Balde has learned from a young age that she would navigate in spaces differently. She identifies as an Afro feminist and has come to realize the many ways her blackness intersects with her gender and her religion. Initiating change in our institutions and communities are things she is determined to do as it is often a matter of survival.”

Angélique Chu – “A self-described ambiguously Asian person. Angélique is a second-generation immigrant and eldest child of two Vietnam War refugees. They are no stranger to racism, xenophobia, and colonialism. They are their ancestors’ wildest dreams.”

Issa Ammari – “Issa is a Vanier alumnus who graduated in 2016.  He is in Law at the University of Montreal and President of the Law Student Association (the second ethnic person to ever hold this position).”

Kat Louis – “Kat Charles (she/they) is a queer Haitian writer, playwright, performer, therapist in training and community activist based in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal). She is currently pursuing a Master’s in creative arts therapy at Concordia. They have also recently co-founded the Black Healing Fund in Montreal to make mental health services more accessible for black Montrealers.”

Mariem Mohamed Vall – “A young Canadian girl from mixed African and Arabic backgrounds who grew up rejected by her communities because she was “too dark” or “too light”. “