EDID in the 519

Campus Newsletter

Volume I Issue III March 2022

Visit the VPEDI Website

Welcome from the VP, EDI

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Welcome back. Happy Womxn’s History 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 EDID-related events and initiatives at UWindsor with a special focus on Womxn's History Month. We highlight how our campus and greater community continue to be transformed and upheld by womxn's advocacy, research, engagement, resistance, and collective impact.

Read the Welcome Statement from the VP, EDI

Meet the VPEDI Team

Celebrating Womxn's History Month

"Muslim Women Resist:"

Ayesha Mian Akram's PhD Study

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Ayesha Mian Akram is a doctoral candidate at the University of Windsor’s Department of Sociology and Criminology. She holds a master’s degree in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta, where she conducted a qualitative project to study how racism impacts the identity negotiations of Canadian-born Muslim women who practice hijab. Her research is rooted in the intersections of anti-racism studies, religion, gender, and subjectivity.


As a doctoral candidate, Ayesha is currently conducting a study on Muslim women’s community building and resistance to anti-Muslim racism. Ayesha’s study is a community-based project being conducted locally in Windsor, Ontario and is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Currently, she works with a group of Muslim women from diverse positionalities, including race, age, educational background, employment sector, and veiling practices. 


In the current climate of anti-Muslim racism, her project focuses on the importance of the community, for Muslim women to have a space to reconnect with one another, nurture one another, be each other’s strength and support, and take care of themselves and each other. The goal of her doctorate proposal is to create a community for and by Muslim women to uplift each other as a means of countering the hate and violence of today’s society. 

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Challenging & Changing UWindsor

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Black Studies: Next Steps Post-Black History/Futures Month Celebration

As February concludes, the legacies and celebration of Black people does not end. Black History is relevant every day of each month all year-round. At the Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office, our theme this Black History Month (BHM) is “Black History - Black Futures.” The vision is to bridge the gap and balance between remembering the often-traumatic past while being hopeful for a better, more just future. Events and activities throughout the month of February, including AfroFest, “28 Books in 28 Days,” and the Distinguished Speaker Series, have all created space to facilitate discussions that centre the Black experience at the University of Windsor, the greater region, and internationally as well. In addition to the anti-racist scholar Professor George J. Sefa Dei and the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome author Joy DeGruy, the campus community also heard from the anti-colonial activist Dr. rosalind hampton. 

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Mary-Ann Shadd:

A Woman of Influence

Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893) was an African Canadian abolitionist, teacher, lawyer and the first Black woman to own a newspaper, “The Provincial Freeman” (1853-1860). She grew up with free parents Abraham Doras Shadd and Harriet Burton Parnell in Delaware who assisted self-liberated formerly enslaved Black Americans on the Underground Railroad to Canada. This inspired her vision of empowering Black people to become self-reliant. She spent her life fighting for Black people’s rights, equality, and justice.

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Nursing, like many medical professions, is a field that lacks diversity and is predominantly white. The formal occupation was derived from Victorian ideals of “true womanhood,” which was reserved for white women. Despite the origins of the field, Black women found their way and continue to advance through the profession. Even though they face obstacles at every level of their professional advancement.

In Canada, Black women were prohibited from reserving a nursing degree. Gwennyth Barton and Ruth Bailey were the first two Black women to graduate from a Canadian nursing school in 1948. Three years following the first Black woman was hired to work in public health in Nova Scotia, for the first time in Canada.

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The Bystander Initiative

The University of Windsor offers sexual assault prevention training through student-led workshops known as Bringing in the Bystander. The workshop encourages participants to envision themselves as proactive bystanders that have the opportunity to intervene and stop sexual assault before it happens. 

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Faculty Feature: Promoting Excellence

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Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grant: Black Women in STEM

The gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is a 17.0 percentage point or 36.4% at the post-secondary level (StatCan), with women making up a dismal 22% of engineering undergraduates. Just 13% of licensed engineers in Canada are women (Engineers Canada). The number of ethnic minority women in Canada, particularly those who identify as Black in engineering is even more staggering. 

The intersectionality of race and gender creates further barriers for Black women in engineering. Two phenomenal sisters in the University of Windsor’s undergraduate and graduate Engineering departments have begun paving the way to dismantling these barriers within their community. 

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Community Spotlight


Celebrating 40 Years of W5: Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women

On November 18, 2021, the Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women, or W5, celebrated 40 years of helping immigrant and refugee women and their families. In 1981, W5 emerged in the basement of Mrs. Daphne Clarke’s bookstore where she envisioned an organization that supported immigrant domestic workers in Windsor. Clarke, a Jamaican-born Canadian, passed at age 86 in 2019. She was a trailblazer, community activist, and registered nurse for 25 years, distinguished with numerous local, provincial, and national honours.

The W5 sought to create a women-led environment that welcomes, supports, and empowers newcomer women and their children. Now, 40 years strong, W5 continues to carry out its mission to serve and support immigrant and refugee women and their families to transition into fully participating members of Canadian society. It employs over 60 individuals while providing services for 7,000+ people annually, including newcomers, women, youth, seniors, job seekers, business owners, and individuals from low-income families.

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Did You Know?
Picture of person wearing hijab as the words "smarter in seconds - disability" span the page.

Social media can be fun, but it can also be educational. Let us acknowledge an internet creator that uses their platform for educational purposes. 

Blair Imani is a critically acclaimed activist, author, influencer and historian. Imani’s work centers around the Black community, women and girls, and the LGBTQ+ community. Their written work includes Read This to Get Smarter: about Race, Class, Gender, Disability, and More (2021) and Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream (2020). 

As an influencer, Imani uses their platform to educate individuals on a wide variety of topics. Their Smarter in Seconds is a highlight of their TikTok account. The series consists of short videos explaining various social and environmental justice-related issues. Imani presents the topic alongside an individual or group who has such lived experience.

Guest Submission: Professor Fatimah Fakih

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I am a female Muslim educator in Ontario, and before becoming an educator I was a student in the education system for more than 25 years. Growing up in Ontario in the ‘90s, I could only dream of ever seeing the day when my teachers looked something like me, wearing a hijab. It’s a different world for young people today. Today, thousands of students are afforded the opportunity to see themselves reflected in their teachers. Today, diversity is recognized as an asset by which Canadians can become more culturally competent and tolerant.




Recently, an incident took place in Canada that violated the freedom of religious expression of Muslim girls and women across the country. Fatemeh Anvari, a third-grade teacher in Chelsea, Quebec, was fired in early December, not because she was unqualified or incapable of doing her job, but because she chose to wear the hijab. The decision to remove Ms. Anvari is backed by Quebec’s Bill-21, enacted in 2019, banning public workers such as teachers, police officers, and lawyers from wearing religious symbols at their place of work. This bill unfairly targets ethnic minorities in a sad effort to uphold secularism in a country that claims religious freedom for all.

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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.