EDID in the 519

Campus Newsletter

Volume I Issue II February 2022

Visit the VPEDI Website

Welcome from the VP, EDI

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Welcome back. Happy Black History/Black Futures Month!

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. This newsletter’s goal is to create an expansive space where EDI issues are centred and celebrated. These stories tell us how far we’ve come and the potential of where we can grow as a community. 


This issue covers important, emerging EDI-related events and initiatives at UWindsor with a special focus on Black excellence, creativity, resilience, and joy. We discuss why we capitalize the ‘B’ in Black. We explore the past and present in celebration of the 16th annual AfroFest. Two key members of the VP, EDI team are introduced: Marium Tolson-Murtty, the Director of Anti-Racism Organizational Change, and Kaitlyn Ellsworth, the Black Student Support Coordinator. Meet the Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations and Outreach, Dr. Beverly Jacobs. Take a look at the feature on Dr. Naved Bakali, as well as a community spotlight on Black alum Robert Small, a recent recipient of the Order of Canada. Finally, we highlight the services and resources provided by the Campus Pride Centre.

Read the Welcome Statement from the VP, EDI

Meet the VPEDI Team

Celebrating Black History & Black Futures

Black v. black: Why We Capitalize Black

W.E.B. Du Bois commenced a petition over 100 years ago for a letter in a term used against Black people to be capitalized. The Civil rights activist, author, and Pan-Africanist’ advocacy continues in 2022. Back then, the term in question was the ‘N’ word. In the words of Harvard University’s first Black PhD graduate, “I believe that eight million Americans are entitled to a capital letter” (Du Bois, 1898). Today, the term Black, referencing Black people, ethnicity, and culture is lobbied for capitalization. Similarly in the case of capitalizing the racial term “Coloured," consistent resistance can be traced prior to Du Bois’ initiative by Black and racialized people refusing to be dismissed by a lack of basic respect and recognition of humanity, given the history of dehumanisation of peoples of African descent. 

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AfroFest: Past, Present & Future

AfroFest is an annual celebration of Black History Month at the University of Windsor that hosts a cornucopia of cultural and educational activities to celebrate the many contributions made by peoples of African descent living in the diaspora. This year marks its 16th anniversary since being founded in 2006 by UWindsor alumna Camesha Cox (B.Com ‘07, B.Ed ‘10).

As a student, Cox envisioned the University becoming “the centre of African heritage celebration within the [Windsor-Essex] community.” Through AfroFest, the broader community would come to the University to “learn, share, and engage with students, while also giving the opportunity for students to engage with the broader community.” AfroFest was, in many ways, a response to the gaps in knowledge building, resources, and services left unaddressed by the University. Yet, it was also a vision for what the Black student experience and Black cultural celebrations could look like at the University. That vision required resilience and advocacy. 

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View Black History/Futures Month Events

Challenging & Changing UWindsor

Marium Tolson-Murtty

Inaugural Director of Anti-Racism Organizational Change

Marium Tolson-Murtty is the newly appointed Director of Anti-Racism Organizational Change (AROC) in the Office of the Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Her promotion from Strategic Planning Officer for the Initiatives Against Anti-Black Racism to her current position was first announced in November 2021 as the University of Windsor’s commitment to addressing all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

Law and Politics international student Lila Iriburiro Happy declares Tolson-Murtty’s appointment “revolutionary”, adding that “the existence of a role such as the Director of Anti-Racism Organizational Change acknowledges the urgency of anti-colonial transformation at the institutional level. Tolson-Murtty has a champion track record of stepping up to the challenge with a sustainable vision and innovative leadership.”

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Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations & Outreach

Dr. Beverly Jacobs has been appointed Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations and Outreach at the University of Windsor, effective January 17th, 2022, for a two- year term.

Dr. Jacobs (C.M., LL.B., LL.M., PhD), a member of the Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, Bear Clan, comments on the gravity of her role, “I have a huge mandate to assist in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action by working directly with President Gordon as well as with the executive leadership team, Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, staff, students, administrators, and members of Indigenous communities on and off-campus.”

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Meet the Black Student Support Coordinator

If she had had the opportunity to interact with Black-centric student supports when she began studies her transition from high school to the University of Windsor would no doubt have been smoother, says Kaitlyn Ellsworth (BA 2014), the new Black Student Support Coordinator.

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Student Speaker Series Launches

Communication is an integral part of change.

On January 26th, the Office of the VP, EDI hosted the first session of its Initiatives Against Anti-Black Racism Student Speaker Series. The Speaker Series informs and educates students, staff, and the greater community about a wide variety of concepts related to the Black experience.  

The first panel, “Black Student Support Services,” aimed to provide students and members of the campus community a space to learn about student support services and resources available to Black students at the University. 

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Faculty Feature

Naved Bakali

Dr. Naved Bakali, Assistant Professor of Anti-Racism Education

In 2021, Dr. Naved Bakali, the author of Islamophobia: Understanding Anti-Muslim Racism Through the Lived Experiences of Muslim Youth, was appointed as the Assistant Professor in Anti-Racism Education. Dr. Bakali’s research focuses on the study of anti-Muslim racism, also referred to as Islamophobia. Additionally, his research includes internationalizing and decolonizing higher education, refugee education, Islamic pedagogy, as well as educational programming for survivors of trauma.

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Community Spotlight

Robert Small: Officer of the Order of Canada

Robert Small, a UWindsor alumnus, is one of 38 Canadians on whom Governor General Mary Simon recently bestowed this title. One of the highest honours that can be granted to a civilian in the country, Small’s recognition is for “his long-standing commitment to highlighting the contributions of Black people in all sectors of Canadian society.”

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Robert Small

Centring Pride

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Campus Pride Centre

The Campus Pride Centre provides a positive and inclusive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirited, Intersex, Pansexual and Asexual individuals and their allies on the University of Windsor campus. The Centre holds a variety of events during the year to celebrate national and international Queer identities such as: National Coming Out Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and International Women’s Day.

Their mission focuses on diversity, safety, empathy, and education where they seek to create a space for individuals to be equally valued through support and empowerment. 

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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.