Speaker Series

Check Events for details about our next speaker.   

The BC Black History Awareness Society hosts speaker events generally 4 times per year in February, April, June and October. The speakers, their credentials and topics recognize the breadth and depth of the interests of our members, those who support us and the Boards steadfastness to fulfill our purpose. The speaker events are by donation, you do not need to pre-register.

Snapshot Title Speaker Description
Speaker Annie Djoitsa - True Black Strong and Free True Black Strong and Free - Becoming Black in Canada Annie Djiotsa Annie Djiotsa was born in Cameroon. She has been living in Canada for over 25 years. She has been working as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces for nearly 20 years. Annie will share her story - a story of darkness and light. A story of peace and war. Mostly a story of strength, love, and hope.
Speaker Michael Regis Greater Victoria Police and Local Ethno Cultures Greater Victoria Police and local ethno-cultures Michael Regis Michael Regis shared his graduate work on local police and local ethno-cultures of African-Caribbean, Indigenous, Muslim and Chinese. Michael holds a Masters in Dispute Resolution, University of Victoria. His research with the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC) and Victoria ethno-cultural communities is engaging and thought-provoking. Key points covered the negative and positive experiences and perceptions with the police and community concerns, vulnerabilities and recommendations for the Greater Victoria Police in trust-building best practices.

Read the reportPolicing in Greater Victoria: A Study in Addressing the Gaps in Engaging Greater Victoria's Diverse Communities (2017)

Perspectives and Experience of Police Officers The Perspectives and Experiences of 2 visible minority Police Officers Police Officers 2 police officers from Oak Bay Police Department with combined experience of more than 25 years. Both officers have experience in various departments within the police force such as School Resource Officer, Community Liaison Officer and Homicide investigations as well as the RCMP. Both officers attend the Greater Victoria Diversity Committee as Oak Bay departmental representatives.
Speaker Silvia Mangue Cultural Competency for Volunteers Cultural Competency for Volunteers workshop SIlvia Mangue SIlvia Mangue, Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in Human Resources; postgraduate diploma in Intercultural Education, BCBHAS Director and was elected as President of the Society in 2017, This workshop focuses on the management of social interactions with diverse people in everyday life. As a human resources specialist, Sylvia seeks to create models of diversity in the area of human resources that can be used by organizations seeking a more just and equitable workplace.
Speaker Beth Cruise Climate Change, Racism and the UN Conference in Paris Climate Change, Racism - What's the Connection? Beth Cruise With slides and conversation, Beth Cruise, MA at the University of Alberta, Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Earth Institute, a certified Teacher, and a Journal Editor for the international organization, Sustaining All Life (SAL), BCBHAS Director and Treasurer; presented details about her trip to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris as a delegate with the non-profit organization ‘Sustaining All Life’. This organization, to which Beth has been a member for 20 years, presented thirty-two workshops, forums, listening projects and caucuses there. She will talk about the people and the work of ‘Sustaining All Life’, perspectives and tools on eliminating racism and racism’s connection to climate change.
Speaker Handel Koshop Wright Did you sat "Black" British Columbia? Did You Say “Black” British Columbia? The Politics of Absent Presence between the Black Pioneers and Present Day African Refugees. Handel Kashope Wright Handel Kashope Wright, Professor and Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education, University of British Columbia. Wright addresses the purpose and effects of erasing a substantial part of Black history. He also names the projects that document Twentieth Century Black BC. There is an urgent need to strongly assert that Black Lives Matter, in historical, contemporary, geographical and political terms, despite constituting a small percentage of the BC population.
Speaker Paul Winn - The Black Experience in Canada The Black Presence in Canada Paul Winn Paul Winn’s career experience includes Lawyer, Staff Liaison with the Multiculturalism Committee in the BC Law Society and Senior Staff at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation; at the Multiculturalism Secretariat; at the Affirmative Action for Visible Minorities Services; at the National Literacy Secretariat; and the Anti- Discrimination Directorate. He wrote and hosted “The Canadians” a weekly television program which looked at the various multicultural communities that make up Canadian society. The focus of the show was to emphasize the similarities shared by all Canadians regardless of background or ethnicity. Paul has won a variety of awards and certificates of appreciation for his work on race relations. He will be talking today about Black individuals, groups, and organizations across Canada; historical perspectives and concerns for the present.
Speaker Dr. John Lutz - Grafton Tyler Brown - Pioneering Black Artist The Mystery of Grafton Tyler Brown: Race, Art and Landscape in 19th Century British Columbia Dr. John Lutz Presented by UVIC History Department Chair John Lutz, writer and art historian. Grafton Tyler Brown was a cartographer, lithographer, and painter and is considered the first professional Black artist, working and living at the time largely in the Pacific North West as well as British Columbia and California. Dr. Lutz will talk about the life of Brown and present examples of his work.
Speaker Sgt.Craig Smith, RCMP "You'd Better Be White By Six AM" “You Had Better Be White by Six AM.” Sgt. Craig Smith Sgt. Craig Smith, RCMP Officer from Nova Scotia, who has been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) since 1997. However, he is best known as an author and for his activities on behalf of youth and Black history.
Speaker Dr. Michael Vaughan The History of Jamaica and its relationship with Canada The History of Jamaica and its relationship with Canada Dr. Michael Vaughn Dr. Michael Vaughan, the Honorary Consul of Jamaica giving an informative and entertaining presentation about the History of Jamaica and its long relationship with Canada. The presentation includes information about a number of Jamaica’s most prominent citizens, past and present, including Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, and Usain Bolt.
Building Bridges through Art Michelle Jacques Michelle Jacques, Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to present about her past projects in Toronto and her future plans here in Victoria
Notable Black Women in Canadian History Merna Forster In celebration of Women's History Month in Canada, local historian and writer Merna Forster will give a presentation on notable Black women in Canadian history. She will share stories and images of some of the Black women featured in her books, from the first female police officer in North America to the first woman to found, publish and edit a newspaper in Canada.
Blacks Today – History in the Making Moussa Magassa Moussa Magassa, Human Rights Education Adviser from the University of Victoria.

"Growing Up in the South Sudan" William Goldiet William Goldiet, President of the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI), sharing his story from growing up in South Sudan, to becoming a refugee and coming to Canada.
Speaker John Adams Victoria’s Black Pioneers in the 1860’s and Sir James Douglas. Victoria’s Black Pioneers in the 1860’s and Sir James Douglas. John Adams John Adams is an Historian, author, founder, and owner-operator of Discover the Past, a history company in Victoria BC that specializes in research, writing, presentations and walking tours. For 17 years, until his retirement in 2004, John was the regional manager for southwestern British Columbia and Vancouver Island for the Heritage Branch, responsible for the overall management of thirteen historic sites. He holds a Masters of Museology, University of Toronto.
As a member of the Old Cemeteries Society, John co-leads the BC Black History Ross Bay Cemetery Tour every February. John has a natural style that is lively and humorous which will make this presentation a memorable experience.
Blacks in the Canadian Military Bart Armstrong Bart Armstrong, Military Research Specialist. He served in 3 different regiments of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves; after 17 yrs. service he retired as a Master Warrant Officer. His presentation, in honour of Remembrance Day, focused on Blacks in the Military in Canada.
Speaker Janie Cooper-Wilson African-Canadian History African-Canadian History Janie Cooper-Wilson Janie Cooper-Wilson, artist, author and speaker on African-Canadian history. She has been featured in made-for-television documentaries such as, Bloodlines: Famous Last Words and Raise the Spirit; written two full-length historical publications; a regular contributor to the Northern Terminus African-Canadian Journal.
Crawford Kilian - Author Go Do Some Great Thing "Go Do Some Great Thing" Crawford Kilian Crawford Kilian, author of the book “Go Do Some Great Thing”, the story of BC's Black pioneers. Kilian shares his experiences in researching and writing this book.