The London Black History Coordinating Committee has adopted as the theme for this year’s Black History Month celebrations Building Bridges to a Brighter Future – furthering the collective role of the Black community. With support from Pillar Nonprofit Network, the Committee has invited a panel of speakers to explore this theme, including Carl Cadogan; Aaliyah Ilupeju; Dr Nicole Kaniki; Christina Lord; Winston McAuley; Janessa Nkubito, Inspector D’Wayne Price; and Justice Christopher Uwagboe.
In the celebration of Black History, there has been a necessary process of rediscovery for members of the community who had been separated from their own stories. This panel discussion confronts the question, how does the community ensure that the Black History being made today isn't marginalized, siloed, and lost so that it will someday have to be 'rediscovered.' How does the community ensure that the activities of the present do indeed build bridges to a brighter future?
Black History Now is a sequel to No Going Back, a panel discussion at Innovation Works London in 2022 featuring poet and author Greg Frankson and LBHCC organizer Carl Cadogan, moderated by Dr Nicole Kaniki. In that conversation, the three were able to find, through stories, many personal threads that they wove into multiple shared histories. Greg Frankson reminded the audience that this has been the work of the community.
"If there's anything that the post-George Floyd environment has created, it is a greater and a broader understanding that Black folks are not teachers. We're human beings trying to learn how to live and we want to live in community with everybody else. But it's not our jobs to teach you about ourselves. It's our jobs to discover ourselves and express that so y'all can see it and you can learn from it if you want."
On February 23, we explore how we keep alive the stories and connections we forge today so that we are never again separated from our stories and the futures we build.
Learn more about the panelists:
Carl Cadogan has served on numerous boards, committees, and task forces, including the CBA, the Premier’s Council on the Voluntary Sector , and the Provincial Work Group on Gaming (that redesigned the Ontario Trillium Foundation. He has a long history of volunteering and was a founding member of Pillar Nonprofit Network and Eva’s Place and is the Chair of the London Black History Coordinating Committee, the Treasurer of the Aya Afrika Foundation, and is on the BODs of the Vanier Institute of the Family and the Grand Theatre.
Carl is currently the Senior Regional Manager, Community & Fund Development-Southwestern Ontario for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, an organization dedicated to kidney health and improved lives for all people affected by kidney disease. Carl is working on his collection of short stories he hopes to have published in 2024 or 2025. He lives in London, Ontario with his wife Cynthia and in his spare time, Carl loves to travel and has been to every province and one territory and to thirty US states and sixteen African countries. He is an avid cyclist, reader, and kite flyer.
Aaliyah Ilupeju is a Graduation Coach for Black Students with the London District Catholic School Board. She is motivated to create culturally safe and equitable environments for African, Black, and Caribbean students to explore their identity and build community. Aaliyah hopes that providing mentorship and empowering students will lead to academic success and positive well-being. Through this role, she is able to understand and break down potential barriers students and families may experience in the education system.
Dr. Nicole Kaniki, PhD is the Director of Senomi Solutions Inc., an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Consulting company based in London, Ontario where she supports institutions and organizations in the development and implementation of EDI strategies. Dr. Kaniki has held several EDI leadership roles in post-secondary education in Canada including the Director of EDI in Research and Innovation at University of Toronto where in her role she examined, advocated and advanced EDI in all aspects of U of T research, innovation and entrepreneurship. She is also the former Special Advisor on Anti-racism to the President at Western University where she supported the establishment of the inaugural office of the Associate Vice-President EDI and contributed to the implementation of significant EDI considerations for the institutional strategic plan.
Dr. Kaniki holds an MSc in Kinesiology, a PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with an emphasis in Measurement and Methods, and a MA in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research. Dr. Kaniki has a passion for social justice and uses an anti-racism and decolonization framework in her EDI work.
Christina Lord MA Ed is a long-time member of the London Black community and has served in a volunteer capacity with several organizations over the years. She currently serves on the London Black History Coordinating Committee of which she was a founding member, The Congress of Black Women- London Chapter, and Fanshawe Pioneer Village.
Professionally, Christina has worked in various levels of education and jobs connected with serving people. She co-produced Melanated View, an award-winning show on Rogers TV; is the owner of Creating Change, committed to community building; and is co-owner of Shifting Perspectives offering an Anti-racism Education Program. She is humbled to have been acknowledged for her work in the community including being named to the Mayor's Honour List in 2011 for Humanitarianism.
Christina strives to promote global consciousness and unity. She does this via workshops offered by Creating Change and focuses on creating inclusive communities.
Winston McAuley is a retired Registered Social Worker who, along with his wife, Rita, has made London, Ontario his home for the past fifty-five years. He hails from Grenada, where he completed his secondary education and worked as a clerical officer in the Civil Service. He earned his BA at the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University.
For most of his career he provided clinical counselling services on various in-patient programs at London Psychiatric Hospital/ Regional Mental Health Care. He has also been passionately involved in Employment Equity and Multicultural Heath. He is a past President of the now-dissolved West Indian-Canadian Organization; and has been affiliated with a variety of community organizations, including the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and two of London’s past cultural festivals, Kavalcade and Panorama. Mr. McAuley and his wife are the parents of the McAuley Boys, a musical quartet that was recently inducted into the London Music Hall of Fame. The couple also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the London Black History Coordinating Committee in 2023.
Janessa Nkubito is a 17-year-old Grade 12 Catholic Central High School student making waves in academics and community service. Janessa is an Honour Roll student and a recipient of the prestigious Horatio Award, recognizing her outstanding achievements. In addition to excelling in the International Baccalaureate and LEAP programs, Janessa is a dedicated member of the Student Council for the second consecutive year, demonstrating her leadership prowess and commitment to positive change within her school community.
This past summer, Janessa embarked on a transformative internship with the London Police Service through the Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI), gaining valuable insights into law enforcement and community service. As Janessa navigates her final year of high school, her story is one of academic excellence, community engagement, and a promising future as a compassionate leader ready to make a lasting impact.
Inspector D’Wayne Price is a 28-year veteran of the London Police Service. He obtained the rank of Inspector in 2020 becoming the first black officer in senior leadership with the London Police Service. As an inspector, D’Wayne was put in charge of Uniform Patrol and is currently in charge of the Administrative Support Branch. D’Wayne has worked in several areas with the London Police over his 28 years, including Cell Block, Uniform Patrol, Downtown Community Foot Patrol, Investigative Response Unit, Professional Standards and Vice and Drugs. Although his ten years as an Undercover Operator in the Guns and Drugs Section were both exciting and challenging, the four years spent as a member of the Downtown Community Foot Patrol were the most rewarding. D’Wayne valued his time in this Unit and truly enjoyed working with the community daily. For his efforts with Foot Patrol, D’Wayne was a recipient of the Downtown Champions Award given by the Downtown Business Association. D’Wayne still maintains close relationships with many community partners as a result of his years on Foot Patrol.
In his free time, D’Wayne volunteered to coach and mentor youth in the community through Rookie League baseball, minor hockey and youth basketball. D’Wayne has also made it his priority to assist London Police in promoting more diversity within the Service. D’Wayne has made himself available for job fairs and community events involving all youth, focusing on those geared towards minorities and new residents to Canada. Being a minority himself, D’Wayne relates well with others from different cultural backgrounds, and their success within the community is important to him.
Justice Christopher Uwagboe is passionate about career development, networking, and mentorship. He has spoken on panels and provided guidance to students and youth from many of the region’s Colleges and Universities. As a law student, Justice Uwagboe was President of the National Executive of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada.
Justice Uwagboe was called to the bar in 2007 where his career started in the Middlesex Crown Attorney’s office in London. In 2011, he opened a private practice representing clients in criminal defense, real estate, small claims, and immigration cases. He was appointed to the Legal Aid Ontario Board of Directors in April 2021 and served as the Chair of the Operations Committee. He was appointed in 2023 as a justice assigned to Windsor, Ontario.