EDID in the 519

Campus Newsletter

Volume II Issue I • March 2023

Visit the VPEDI Website

Welcome from the VP, EDI

Welcome to our Spring issue!

Create. Centre. Celebrate.

This newsletter strives to build a culture that reflects the diversity of the University of Windsor and our surrounding Windsor-Essex community. It centres bold, unapologetic and forthright stories of excellence, advocacy, challenge, and change that impact our community and inspire a more equitable and just world.


If we do not capture these stories, no one else will. They will not be heard or seen. With this newsletter, we seek to create an expansive space where EDI issues are centered and celebrated. These stories tell us how far we have come and the potential of where we can grow as a community. 


This issue covers important history markers and campus-wide events related to EDI initiatives and Black History Celebration. We discuss the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the groundbreaking Black Studies Institute (BSI) spear-headed by Dr. Natalie Delia Deckard, the Pan-African flag-raising ceremony, Accessibility Awareness Days in March, the upcoming Celebration of Nations event, and relevant systemic concerns that impact communal, holistic wellness.

Read the Welcome Statement from the VP, EDI

Meet the VPEDI Team

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Importance of Commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly, through Resolution 60/7, selected January 27th as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. But why did it take sixty years from the end of World War II, sixty years after the attempted annihilation of an entire people, where over one-third of the Jewish population were systematically and brutally murdered, to implement this measure? The answer is implied in the question.

By 2005, the number of living Holocaust survivors had sadly diminished. The U.N. realized that as more Survivors died each passing year, the loss of personal witnesses would provide cover for the vicious, pernicious lies of Holocaust deniers. It became imperative to share the tragedies of the Holocaust, to pay homage and respect to those brutally murdered in this systematic genocide. In doing so, the world would remember the depths of human depravity and barbarism to hopefully deter other atrocities from occurring. Thus, the need for each of us to take on this responsibility took on a new dimension. We can only prevent such a heinous crime from occurring in the present by recognizing and commemorating what has happened in our collective past.

The essence of Resolution 60/7 is, therefore, twofold. The Resolution urges every member nation of the United Nations to acknowledge January 27th as a day to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust – six million Jews alongside members of other minorities methodically murdered. In tandem, it implores members to develop Holocaust education initiatives to ensure that this heinous crime never is repeated. To enact meaningful Holocaust education initiatives, we must first acknowledge and commemorate the victims of this most heinous chapter in human history. As the great Elie Wiesel -survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald - presciently noted, “to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time." We cannot risk the danger of forgetting. Through remembrance, we equip ourselves with the tools to recognize and subsequently take action to combat such evil crimes from being committed in the present.

The Honourable Irwin Cotler, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice in Canada writes, “[u]nto each person there is a name, each person has an identity, each person is a universe. Thus, the abiding universal imperative: we are each, wherever we are, the guarantors of each other’s destiny.” We must never allow the victims of this singularly horrific historical event to be erased or turned into mere abstract statistics. In recommitting ourselves to learning from the lessons of history, we become resistors to indifference and the bulwark against apathy. As former Secretary-General to the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, shared, “we must make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world." In order to apply these lessons, we must first learn this history. Let us begin learning.   

- Tiphaera Ziner Cohen   

Challenging & Changing UWindsor

The Black Studies Institute: A Groundbreaking Initiative

Following the murder of George Floyd and harmful racist incidents on campus, several faculty members, staff members, and students at the University of Windsor came together to create the University of Windsor’s Anti-Racism taskforce in Fall 2020. Of the many identified initiatives and recommended changes, the Black Studies Institute (BSI) emerged. Dr. Natalie Delia Deckard, the founding director from the Criminology department, is spearheading the Black Studies Institute with the grounding support of key Black faculty members at the University of Windsor such as Dr. Richard Douglass-Chin from the English Department, Dr. Kemi Anazodo from the Odette School of Business, Dr. Clinton Beckford, Vice-President of the EDI office and faculty member of the Education department, Dr. Judith Sinanga-Ohlmann from the Languages, Literatures, and Culture Department, Dr. James Oloo from the Education department, Dr. Eric Tanlaka from the Nursing Department, Dr. Christie Ezeife from the Computer Science Department, and Dr. Danardo Jones from the Law Department.   

Dr. Deckard discussed how "the establishment of a Black Studies Institute is watershed - it makes Windsor the home of the only Black Research Institute and Think Tank in Canada. That is, if you want to learn about Black people, communities, and knowledge from Black people in all areas of society, then the University of Windsor is the only place to do that. Represented in classrooms, reports, books, and peer-reviewed journal articles, the Black Studies Institute is a Black-led, Black-staffed, and Black-serving organization of excellence. We have so much to be proud of that we have an organization of this magnitude on our campus."  

The Black Studies Institute will officially launch in September 2023 as part of the innovative Interdisciplinary and Critical Studies Academic program. The BSI hiring committee is currently working on appointing 12 new Black scholars, faculty members, and library staff members across various disciplines and faculties on campus. The Black Studies Institute will promote critical, Afrocentric, academic courses, culturally informed teaching pedagogies, and innovative data and research practices that demonopolize information. The Black Studies Institute aims to reduce unnecessary obstacles Black students and faculty members face in accessing critical knowledge on African diasporic research.  

Dr. Douglass-Chin stressed “the grassroots aspect that made the Black Studies Institute possible.” Indeed, this groundbreaking initiative would not see the light without the Black staff members, students, and allies who worked hard to address systemic issues on campus. Kaitlyn Ellsworth, the Black Student Support Coordinator, added that “the grassroots labour and activism of past Black students, Black staff and faculty and alumni are coming to fruition in the creation of the Black Studies Institute. Black resistance and activism is the reason we are at this very place. As someone who has a Black Studies degree, I'm excited for current and up-and-coming Black students to have their Black ways of knowing, cultures, histories, etc. celebrated. The University of Windsor should have had a Black Studies Institute and Program decades ago."


Thankfully, this trailblazing enterprise will move the University forward in its mission to nurture and develop exceptional students, promote lifelong learning, and foster a safe, supportive academic atmosphere conducive to multicultural interdependence and collaboration. The Black Studies Institute will also favor a person-centered approach to career advancement for Black students who are not usually represented in course material nor supported in receiving culturally-sensitive and empowering academic mentoring. For more information, please check out the official website hereThe Black Studies Institute.  

- Doxa Zannou  

Accessibility Awareness Days Event: March 2023

The Office of Human Rights, Equity and Accessibility (OHREA) is happy to announce the 10th annual Accessibility Awareness Days event! Events will run every Tuesday throughout March. Each week, participants will gain knowledge and practical skills to help create a more inclusive campus community. The first 3 weeks will consist of a 30-minute virtual workshop. The last week will be our first in-person event since 2019! Join us in celebrating disability rights with a fireside chat featuring Dr. Laverne Jacobs and celebrate her election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Week 1 – ADHD: A Student Perspective (virtual) Week 2 – Accessible In-Person and Online Presentations (virtual) Week 3 – Quick Tips for Making Your Brightspace Site More Accessible (virtual) Week 4 – Celebrating Disability Rights: A Conversation with Dr. Laverne Jacobs (in-person). Visit the Accessibility Awareness Days website to register.  

- Cherie Gagnon       

Celebrating Pan-Africanism

Watch the Video

First Pan-African Flag Celebration

In honor of Black History Month, the Office of the Vice-President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Black History Black Futures Working Group raised the Pan-African flag for the first time on the University of Windsor campus on Wednesday, February 1st 2023.   

In 1920, as the leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Marcus Garvey instituted the Pan-African flag to symbolize Black freedom for African diasporic communities. The flag has three horizontal, red, black, and green stripes. The red stands for the blood Africans have shed in fighting for liberation and emancipation from White colonizers and enslavers. The Black represents the African Diaspora, and the green represents the rich fertile land, fruitful future, and growth of the African diaspora. The Pan-African movement united diasporic communities spread across North America and the Caribbean with African countries who experienced similar realities in fighting oppression and seeking independence from colonial empires such as France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Portugal.   

Dr. Clinton Beckford, Vice-President of the EDI office, Kaitlyn Ellsworth, the Black Student Support Coordinator, and Lila Iriburiro Happy, a 4th year Law and Politics student, provided moving speeches to commemorate this historic event in the history of the University of Windsor. They invited community members to celebrate the African diaspora in Canada and worldwide who have always been core pillars in national and global development.   

Kaitlyn Ellsworth began her remarks by meditating on her position as a “6th generation Underground Railroad Descendant,” “a Black loyalist descendant,” and “an Afro-Indigenous woman.” She noted that her “ancestors liberated themselves from enslavement in the Southern United States and ended up in Windsor, Ontario, Puce, Ontario and Owen Sound.” Kaitlyn also discussed the importance of recognizing Sandwich Towne as a historically Black Underground Railroad community,” while also acknowledging the Indigenous lands on which the Pan-African flag was raised. She described Pan-Africanism as “collaboration among all people of African descent whether they lived inside or outside of Africa.”  

The unifying power of the flag was even more evident in the multiple voices present. Lila Iriburiro Happy began her resonant address with the Kiswahili proverb “Ikiwa unataka kwenda haraka, nenda peke yako. Ikiwa unataka kwenda mbali, nenda Pamoja” which “comes from the Indigenous Maasai People of Kenya and Tanzania and translates to ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. This proverb epitomises the philosophical essence of Pan-Africanism including self-determination, resistance, and unity. The powerful Red, Black, and Green Pan-African flag-raising ceremony is a profound step towards anti-colonization. As K'naan said: ‘They'll call me freedom just like a wavin' flag.' Canada and UWindsor would never be at the level of prosperity without Black and African activists, innovators, and students.”  

The University of Windsor and the office of the Vice-President Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion thank the community for celebrating and honoring the legacy of those who came before us and those who continue to work amongst us to ensure healthy, equitable, and sustainable futures for coming generations.

- Doxa Zannou

Celebration of Nations 2023

The University of Windsor's Celebration of Nations 2023 event will be held in person on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023. This annual event celebrates the rich and diverse cultures from across the globe represented in our University community. It is an opportunity to promote awareness of cultural differences, learn about other cultures, and encourage everyone to celebrate their own heritage. The Celebration features a variety of cultural performances, demonstrations, and displays of food, dance, dress, music, and education. The event will begin with a flag parade at Leddy Library, and festivities will continue at the Toldo Lancer Centre. The event starts at 12pm and ends at 3pm. Click here for more information.

- Diane Luu-Hoang

New EDI Journal and EDI Awards

New Academic Journal on Critical Race Studies

The Office of the Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Windsor is pleased to launch the bi-annual, peer-reviewed, open-access journal titled - Journal of Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Decolonization (JCRID). The fully open-access (OA) journal will cover a broad range of articles on Critical Race studies, Black studies, Indigenous studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies, Latin American studies, and Diaspora studies. JCRID provides space for intellectually stimulating academic discourse by international researchers and scholars on a range of issues with implications for praxis and practice in the broad areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, decolonization, and Indigeneity. JCRID aims to be a catalyst for international research that highlights exemplary intellectual thought that can inform and transform postsecondary education institutions. 

The journal editors invite submissions of original research manuscripts that focus on topics in a broad range of issues concerning Race and Racialization, Indigenization and Decolonization Praxis, Grassroots Approaches to Anti-Racism and Decolonizing Practices, Critical Writing and Research on Issues Relating to Indigenous Peoples and Communities, Critical Race Theory; Critical Social Theory, Decolonizing Disciplines and Pedagogies of Decolonization, Anti-Racist Organizing and Transformation, Race and Intersectional Identities, Teaching and Pedagogy in Anti-Racism and Decolonization. 

If interested, please feel free to submit your article here. You can also visit the Journal of Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Decolonization for more information. We look forward to hearing from you! 

- Samuel Ehikhuenmen 

2023 EDI Awards  

The inaugural UWindsor Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Awards were open for nominations between January 10th and February 10th, 2023 with an awards ceremony to be held in Alumni Auditorium, CAW Centre, on March 30, 2023.

The purpose of these awards is to recognize and bring attention to individuals and groups who have played a significant role in creating a campus community that is more diverse, fair, and inclusive. These individuals have shown a solid dedication to addressing the systemic obstacles, as well as past and present injustices and inequalities, experienced by various marginalized groups, including Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, racialized individuals, the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, women, and other groups deserving of equitable treatment.  

I love how EDI Awards provide a unique opportunity for the campus community to acknowledge and encourage community members' contributions and commitment to meaningful change. 

The 2023 EDI award recipients include: 

  • Student EDI -Tyrone Sequeira, Dual JD student, Faculty of Law 
  • Faculty Award - Dr. Richard Douglass-Chin, Associate Professor, Department of English
  • Staff Award - Jaimie Kechego, Learning Specialist, Indigenization, Centre for Teaching and Learning 
  • Team/Committee AwardUWindsor Pride
  • Alumni Award - Jermain Franklin, alumnus, BA '99

To RSVP for the EDI 2023 Awards ceremony, please visit the EDI Awards page.

- Samuel Ehikhuenmen 

Global Outlook

When 'Mental Illness' Becomes a Scapegoat for Systemic Failures 

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental health concerns. Currently, youth between the ages of 15 to 24 are most at risk for increased psychological distress and substance use difficulties. While mental health concerns can affect anyone regardless of age, socioeconomic status, and ethnic background, those who suffer most are the ones who face the most systemic harm and injustice.

The CAMH notes that Canadians with the lowest income experience higher levels of psychological distress. Unfortunately, 11 people die of suicide daily, and this amounts to approximately 4,000 Canadians a year. Sadly, the mental health system often exploits individuals' vulnerabilities without taking systemic action to support individual and communal holistic wellness. 

To nurture a healthy society, we cannot ignore how systemic failures lead to increased psychological distress, nor can we ignore how the mental health system capitalizes on these systemic failures to ensure continued profit at the expense of the people they are supposed to support.

Frantz Fanon, a postcolonial scholar and psychiatrist, noted that Eurocentric psychology thrives on pathologizing people it oppresses instead of identifying the systemic injustices colonizers have implemented to exploit others. Much of this dogged ignorance stems from the refusal to dismantle the systems of oppression that benefit political authorities. Consequently, healthcare systems gaslight members from marginalized communities into believing they are inherently dysfunctional for the distress they experience. They fail to identify and correct the root issues (ie: laws, regulations, legislations) that value financial profit over human lives and holistic wellness.

Thankfully, many mental health workers now recognize these issues and advocate for critical reform. In October 2021, the American Psychology Association issued an apology for the unfortunate role psychology plays in enforcing systemic racism, promoting Eurocentric standards of research, emphasizing helping methodologies rooted in Eurocentric biases, gatekeeping the field via race-based, gender-based, and class-based hierarchies, and maintaining Eurocentric curriculums in accredited education programs.

While some may consider this apology a step in the right direction, we must take concrete action to decolonize the field of psychology. Further yet, we must promote compassion-based, human-centered wellness through systemic advocacy and culturally informed healing philosophies. Some initial considerations could include:

  • Revising psychology curriculums across the helping professions.
  • Recognizing and promoting Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and healing.
  • Embracing culturally informed healing methodologies previously excluded due to false Eurocentric standards of scientific legitimacy.
  • Addressing the capitalist, profit-based paywalls that prevent academic research articles from being open access. These for-profit publishers gatekeep research by requiring exorbitant publication fees most researchers and students cannot afford.
  • Hiring ethnically and culturally diverse mental health practitioners.
  • Reducing the financial and career development barriers that prevent students from entering the field.
  • Addressing the insurance-led profit margins that prevent people from accessing affordable mental health support.
  • Engaging in political advocacy on affordable housing and health care, community-led recreation centers, communal support centers, etc.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of solutions, and we invite you to join the conversation to ensure sustainable change!     

- Doxa Zannou

The EDI Policies that Fail International Students 

Postsecondary institutions have gradually embraced the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) movement in Canada. However, they have struggled to implement swift changes due to rapid EDI growth and evolution. Furthermore, increased greed and capitalism has led current EDI efforts in Canadian universities to focus on face-value participation in committees, subcommittees, and associations with little impact on systemic change nor much power to implement policy changes. Consequently, EDI has become an institutionalized, performative process.  

Policymakers follow mandates and prioritize mainstream issues without paying attention to immigration, employment, education, and social class systems which are critical in building wealth and fostering economic development. While initiatives to expand student enrollment in higher education exist, concrete policies and resources to solve EDI challenges have not ensued. We need policies that foster inclusive and social spaces.

We also need initiatives that help students participate in equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts through their academic programs and engagement opportunities. Methods that bridge intersectionality, accountability, social positionality and privilege reinforce EDI sustainability. Universities must re-examine and educate students on societal systems that cause systematic exclusion. As future politicians and activists, students should understand racial, ethnic, and religious complexities to effectively dismantle pervasive obstacles that continue to work against disenfranchised communities.

Another recommendation is for provinces to boost the number of overseas students nominated through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). This immigration program seeks employees with the necessary talents, education, and job experience to contribute to the economy of specific provinces. Increasing the PNP quota for international students may facilitate permanent residency pathways in the provinces where they study. Increased PNP slots for international students would also boost their retention in their respective academic fields.

To establish a more egalitarian, varied, and inclusive educational setting, we must involve racialized communities in meaningful ways. Doing so ensures exceptional, creative, and efficient research practices and improves culturally responsive academic methodologies and teaching pedagogies to local, national, and global concerns.    

- Samuel Ehikhuenmen 

Have ideas for stories? We'd love to hear from you about people, initiatives, or events we can highlight for future issues. Submit your submissions here.

EDI Events Calendar: If your upcoming event advances EDI, submit it to the University's EDI Events Calendar here.

View the EDI Calendar

Office of the

Vice-President, EDI

401 Sunset Avenue

Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4

519-253-3000; 4671



We foster a community of inclusion where traditionally silenced stories are centred and celebrated at the University of Windsor and in the Windsor-Essex community.