The Convergence Committee is excited to announce that Dr Funké Aladejebi, has accepted our keynote invitation. The selection of our keynote was a month-long process where committee members put forth candidates whom they believed fit with the conference theme of “Confronting Crisis: Writing History in Uncertain Times.” Beginning in December 2020, we had 12 potential keynote speakers, and the nominators defended their nominations in our weekly meetings. Through a ranked ballot process, we gradually narrowed down the nominees to four potential speakers. All were excellent candidates whose scholarship would strengthen our conference. With four potential speakers left, we decided that the candidate with the most votes would be the keynote speaker, and the remaining three would close out the conference with a round table discussion.

As our conference considers crisis through history, we have chosen Dr. Aladejebi as our keynote speaker because her work emphasizes the importance of the intersectional identities of race, class, and gender in the historiography of Black Canada.

Dr Aladejebi is a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in Black Canadian history in the twentieth century, Black Canadian women’s history, and transnationalism. Her forthcoming book, Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers, explores the importance of Black Canadian women in sustaining their communities and preserving a distinct Black identity within restrictive gender and racial barriers.  (https://www.history.utoronto.ca/people/directories/all-faculty/funk%C3%A9-aladejebi)

This morning, the Convergence Committee was pleased to learn that we received the Anti-Black Racism Initiative Fund, which “supports events, programs and initiatives that challenge anti-Black racism and provide support for Black students, faculty and staff” (https://www.yorku.ca/laps/addressing-anti-black-racism/ ). The Committee would like to thank Dr. Andrea Davis, Special Advisor to the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Strategy at York Unviersity.

Finally, today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we would like to bring awareness to the long and continued struggle for equality. While last summer saw the Black Lives Matter movement take over mainstream media, as historians, it is imperative that we acknowledge, understand, and accurately discuss how movements, organisations, and groups have fought against anti-Black racism, injustice, and discrimination for centuries.

I will end my post with a quotation from Dr. King: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” (3 December, 1959)

Yours in Power,

-Ash

Follow Ash’s Twitter posts @CYUT21

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