Black History Month 2024

Diverse voices are essential in every conversation. Especially those conversations held around the council table. Equally important is ensuring those voices are heard. This work of elevating diverse voices aligns with MNL’s commitment to advocating for local government that better reflects the diversity of our populations. To recognize Black History Month, 2024, we are pleased to present the following Black community builders in Newfoundland and Labrador compiled by Laurabel Mba.

Respondents were asked to provide a bio and answer one of the following three questions:

  1. What aspect of Black history resonates with you the most, and why do you think it is crucial to commemorate during Black History Month?
  2. How has your personal experience contributed to or been influenced by the broader Black experience, and what significance does that hold for you?
  3. In your opinion, why is it essential to emphasize Black perspectives and ensure representation in the arts and across various industries?

Community Builders

Richard Owusu-Ansah

Richard Owusu-Ansah is a consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, currently working at the Carbonear General Hospital as a Staff OBGYN and division head of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He provides much-needed services in the Health NL Eastern Rural Zone.

He holds a bachelor of Science degree (BSc) and a medical degree (MB.,ChB) from the School of Medical Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He also holds a Masters degree (MSc) in Advanced Surgical Practice from Cardiff University in Wales, UK. Having graduated from medical school in Kumasi, Ghana, he proceeded to the UK to pursue postgraduate medical training and completed his specialist training in the esteemed Simpson’s centre for reproductive health at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in Scotland, having worked all over Scotland in various medical positions in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Dundee.

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist (FRCOG) and also holds a fellowship with the World Laparoscopy Hospital ( FMAS).

Richard relocated to Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada with family in 2013. He currently lives with his wife and four kids, in the region of the beautiful Baccalieu trail.

“It is extremely important and essential to emphasize Black perspectives and representations in all facets of contemporary life in view of the historical precedent of the “whitewashing” of Black peoples’ contribution to the progress and development of human lives.

Until recent times, especially in the last decade, the world did not know of the contributions of Black people in science, medicine, space exploration, business, and economics among others. We have and always had something to contribute to the well-being and progress of our communities and societies but our voices were silenced and our contributions not acknowledged.

The current generation of Black people therefore cannot afford or allow our narratives and history to be “whitewashed” again hence the need for emphasis on our contribution, perspective, and representation across the arts and industries wherever we find ourselves. In the age of Information Technology, posterity will judge us harshly if we do not document and emphasize our representation and perspectives in the 21st century. The documentation of our participation and contribution today will also help shape the current and future generation in their ultimate quest of achieving equality and diversity across the various industries.”

Ana Maria Alcantara

Ana Maria Alcantara is a Brazilian journalist living in Newfoundland. A Black feminist and activist, she fights for gender and race equity. Her activism is focused on empowering Black women.

In short, her work translates into denouncing and questioning the status quo of situations that oppress the Black community, focusing on the oppressions suffered by Black women. Ana Maria is a Master’s student in Gender Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and reflecting under a decolonial lens, her research focus has been to expose the dangers and harms of racism, including how racist oppression is interconnected with sexism and colonialism.

In July 2022, she received the Tereza de Benguela award in Brazil, a recognition of her efforts to mitigate racism and empower Black women. And this year, she received the Sally Davis Award 2022-2023 in Canada.

“The aspect of Black history that resonates most with me is resistance.”

Gift Bassey

I was born and raised in Nigeria, lived a few years in Ghana and currently live in Canada studying for a Masters degree in Applied Ocean Technology.

From the beginning of my career as a marine engineer, I have worked in international waters with colleagues from various countries and cultures. Having worked on cruise ships, I got to be in five of the seven continents and experience people differently. I embrace the versatility of life and people and view my uniqueness as a strength.

“Throughout the period I worked at sea, I have always been one of the few black people on international ships; while this does not come across as a fault of anyone, it has automatically reminded me of the need to be of commendable character as a representative. I generally carry this aura around. It is important that when people relate with me as a black person, trust and respect is established as this is our responsibility. It is earned not given!”

Esther Ukpe

I am a 26 year old Nigerian from Akwaibom. I am studying at Memorial University with artificial intelligence at the masters level. I love making people beautiful and I spend all my time working or trying to leave the world a better place one hair or face at a time.

Ogaga Johnson

Ogaga Johnson is a dynamic project management leader, speaker, and workforce development expert.

As the Director of Workforce Development at econext, she demonstrates her innovative approach by spearheading projects, training initiatives, and professional development programming focused on equipping the current and future workforce for the blue/green economy in NL. With a proven track record of managing a substantial project and program budget of $100 million throughout her career, she is a seasoned professional dedicated to driving impactful outcomes.

As the founder of Verisult, Ogaga propels a forward-thinking company committed to guiding immigrants seamlessly into in-demand and fulfilling career paths, while also offering specialized project management training and consulting services to businesses, positioning Verisult as a beacon of innovation in the realms of career empowerment and strategic business solutions.

In addition to her professional roles, Ogaga serves as a dynamic seasonal and guest lecturer at universities and colleges, sharing her extensive knowledge in project management, leadership, team development, business, and career development. Her engaging courses contribute to the enrichment of academic environments, showcasing her diverse expertise.

Having lived and worked as a seasoned Project Management professional across three continents, Ogaga brings a wealth of global experience to her endeavors. Beyond her professional pursuits, she embraces her role as a devoted disciple of Christ, wife, and mother of her two children. An enthusiastic traveler, Ogaga enjoys exploring new horizons with her family.

Ogaga is a powerhouse dedicated to making a positive impact.

“If you can see it, you can become it. There are so many barriers that have created limiting beliefs and shattered dreams of many black talented individuals. Seeing someone who looks like you living a dream you have that you thought wasn’t possible helps you dream again and makes you know it is possible. I’M POSSIBLE.

This is why it is essential to emphasize black perspectives and ensure representation across various industries. If I can do it, so can you.”

Felix Mba

Felix is a 26-year-old Nigerian-Candian rapper/songwriter with a calm, expressive flow and passion for creating. With a strong belief in the power of art and inspiration from artists such as JID , WESTSIDE BOOGIE , LaRussell as well as Neek Bucks and Benny The Butcher his style of rap is self-described as “theme songs for moments.”

Focusing mostly on hip-hop, Felix creates music that embodies the emotions and thoughts he experiences with the belief that universally spreading his music can unify and positively impact others in similar circumstances. He has performed at open mic events, community-organized events in Ottawa (in affiliation with Cap City Cyphers), organized events in Waterloo (through Wilfrid Laurier’s Creative Collective) and has singles that have appeared on Kitchener’s Flip Da Style Radio (102.7 CKMS) and Ottawa’s CHUO FM (89.1 FM). Felix debuted Call On Me, his first studio single in two years in 2021, followed by two more singles that year. He has since release 2 other singles in 2023, with plans to drop a studio project in the New Year.

“Black perspectives and representations are important to acknowledge in art spaces and other industries because of the amount of effort and impact we have made in such spaces. To omit our presence is to discredit the leaps and bounds we have made to be present and valued. There are so many traces of black excellence involved in various successes and achievements through the world that denying our impact is simply untrue.”

Ikechukwu Iroanyanwu

I am from the eastern part of Nigeria and migrated to Newfoundland and Labrador for my post-graduate studies between 2018 and 2019. I am currently working as a project controls coordinator for a construction company and married with two beautiful kids.

“I have two kids who are mixed race and this, among other reasons, makes black history month important as it provides a platform for awareness of our rich history as black people.

My experience as a Black man in Newfoundland has been influenced by the broader black experience in the sense that it has made me more aware of who I am and that I am being “watched”. This has made me aim to be the very best of myself in the community.

There is beauty in diversity. It is essential to have a healthy representation of Black perspective in arts and various industries to help in understanding the culture of the growing black community.”

Winifred Ohwoka

Winifred Aghoghome Ohwoka is a seasoned professional with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and a Diploma in Accountancy. As the proud proprietor of Signage Clothing and Crafts located in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Winifred leads her business with a passion for creativity, cultural appreciation, and a dedication to celebrating diversity.

Signage Clothing and Crafts embodies an ethos of excitement and cultural exchange, emphasizing the inherent richness that diversity brings to our global community. The mission of the establishment is clear: to transform casual wear into an exhilarating experience by crafting designs that are not only joyful and vibrant but also intricately inspired by traditional African culture.

Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, Winifred finds fulfillment in the world of arts and crafts, constantly exploring and mastering new techniques. Her love for travel is evident in her desire to connect with individuals from various cultural backgrounds, fostering meaningful exchanges and broadening her perspective.

A beacon of positivity, Winifred derives immense joy from making people happy, a sentiment that extends beyond the realm of her business. In her personal life, she is happily married to Mr. A. Ohwoka and cherishes the blessings of raising two wonderful children.

In summary, Winifred Aghoghome Ohwoka’s biography paints a picture of a dynamic entrepreneur, creative enthusiast, and advocate for cultural diversity. Her commitment to infusing joy and vibrancy into both her designs and personal interactions reflects a life dedicated to making a positive impact on those around her.

“One aspect that is often highlighted is the struggle for civil rights and the achievements of individuals and communities in overcoming systemic racism and oppression. Commemorating this history during Black History Month is crucial for several reasons.

Education and Awareness: Black History Month serves as an opportunity to educate people about the contributions and experiences of Black individuals throughout history. It raises awareness about the challenges they have faced and the progress that has been made.

Recognition of Achievements: It’s essential to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Black individuals in various fields, including science, literature, politics, and the arts. By doing so, we acknowledge the richness and diversity of Black contributions to society.

Inspiration and Empowerment: Highlighting stories of resilience, courage, and success within the Black community can inspire and empower people of all backgrounds. It sends a powerful message about overcoming adversity and making positive change.

Understanding Contemporary Issues: Examining the history of racial inequality provides context for understanding contemporary social issues. By reflecting on the past, we can better address present challenges and work towards a more equitable future.

Promoting Inclusivity: Black History Month fosters a sense of inclusivity and belonging. It encourages people from all backgrounds to appreciate and respect the cultural diversity that enriches society.”

“I’m delighted to share my personal journey of finding acceptance and appreciation in Newfoundland for my family and our craft. Bringing the richness of African fashion and craft to our new community is not just a personal endeavor but a contribution to the diversity and cultural vibrancy of the community I now call home.

Through the act of sharing my cultural heritage, I’ve seen firsthand how it fosters understanding and connections among people from different backgrounds. By making the conscious choice to introduce elements of African culture to our new home, I’ve experienced a warm reception and genuine appreciation from the community. This demonstrates the transformative power of cultural exchange, not only in building bridges but also in creating a profound sense of belonging.

The impact of this exchange goes beyond personal enrichment; it plays a crucial role in fostering inclusivity and breaking down cultural barriers. It serves as a testament to the inherent value of diversity and showcases the positive outcomes that emerge when individuals embrace and celebrate the unique contributions of various cultures.”

“Diversity Enriches Creativity: Including Black perspectives brings a diversity of experiences, ideas, and cultural influences. This diversity is a catalyst for creativity and innovation, fostering a dynamic and enriched environment within the arts and industries.

Reflecting Societal Reality: A diverse society should be accurately reflected in its cultural expressions and workforce. Highlighting Black perspectives ensures that the arts and industries mirror the complexities and nuances of the broader community, promoting authenticity and relevance.

Breaking Stereotypes and Biases: Representation challenges stereotypes and biases that may exist. It provides opportunities to showcase the diversity of talents, skills, and narratives within the Black community, helping to dismantle harmful preconceptions and fostering a more accurate understanding.

Inspiring and Empowering Communities: Seeing individuals who look like oneself in the arts and various industries can be empowering. It serves as an inspiration for aspiring individuals within the Black community, encouraging them to pursue their passions and ambitions in any field.

Cultural Exchange and Understanding: Emphasizing Black perspectives fosters cultural exchange and understanding. It allows for the sharing of unique stories, traditions, and art forms, contributing to a more interconnected and harmonious society.

Economic Empowerment: Inclusion in industries promotes economic empowerment within the Black community. It provides opportunities for career advancement, entrepreneurship, and economic participation, contributing to overall societal growth.

Social Equity and Justice: Representation is a fundamental aspect of social equity. Ensuring fair and equitable opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds helps address historical inequalities and promotes a more just and inclusive society.

Global Competitiveness: In an increasingly interconnected world, diverse perspectives contribute to global competitiveness. Industries and artistic endeavors benefit from a wide range of viewpoints, enhancing their ability to navigate the complexities of a globalized landscape.

In summary, emphasizing Black perspectives and ensuring representation is not just a matter of fairness; it is a strategic imperative that leads to more vibrant, innovative, and equitable societies. It acknowledges the richness of diversity and contributes to a more inclusive and harmonious world.”

Efemena Obukohwo

Efemena is a seasoned IT Business Analyst and Environmental Engineer. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria with a family of 4 kids, her mom being an international business woman and dad a Civil Engineer.
 Efe attended Babcock University where she studied Biochemistry and on graduation worked at the laboratory of a hospital until she grew bored and ventured into IT as a Business Analyst where she developed a love and passion for Software development. Coming to Canada, Efe decided to study Environmental engineering and systems engineering with the hope of merging her IT skills with her science background to work on developing sustainable technologies. After her Masters program at MUN, she successfully landed a job at PAL Aerospace as a Business Analyst. In a new industry- Aerospace engineering, she‚Äôs been able to merge all skills and knowledge gained to enable PAL achieve its business goals being a prime lead in implementing and on-boarding technology to enable the organization manage its requirements. Diversity is a concept and direction NL is still growing in and Efe is the only person of color on her team.  She also serves on the DEIB committee at PAL by bringing her perspective as a Black woman and immigrant to enable PAL implement inclusive practices and policies.

“Black perspectives are essential in every space as this fosters inclusiveness and representation especially for the younger and next generation.
 If I were ever told that there was a Black woman doing incredible things in North America as a young child, my perspective on life would have been shaped differently. In addition, it enables non-Blacks to embrace Black culture- be aware, conscious of it and respect Black culture just as much as theirs. The world is rich in culture and all good culture that promotes social growth has to be embraced and celebrated.”

Faith Nwanguma

Faith is a Nigerian/Canadian. A Nurse. She works with the Nursing Department of Eastern Health in Newfoundland, Canada. She also holds a Certificate in Website Design and a diploma in Database Processing. She never stops learning. Faith is a motivational and public speaker. She is the President & Founder of Fankep Humanitarian Foundation. An organization that provides humanitarian assistance, skills acquisition, interpersonal development, empowerment programs, social welfare to widows, single mothers, prisoners, less privileged, and other vulnerable members of the society. She is the lnternational Leadership Mind Ambassador Award Winner 2023 (lLMA). She is currently the ILMA Brand Ambassador 2024.

Faith is a serial entrepreneur, and currently a Brand Ambassador of NJ OmaempireHairs company  and a Brand Ambassador of Colcathy Beauty Skincare, Nigeria. She is a presenter and consultant with The Royal Apron-Saladmaster, Canada, where she educates individuals on healthy cooking, eating, and living. Through Saladmaster, she is committed to teaching people how the power of foods work in the fight against diet-related diseases. Made with 316Titanium stainless steel, the Saladmaster cookware is the healthiest and safest cookware in the world. As a serial entrepreneur, her mission and vision are to see that young and upcoming entrepreneurs are succeeding in business, as she promotes and supports their business endeavors through her platform. She uses her entrepreneurship mindset and resources to assist many individuals start up small businesses to become financially independent. She is the owner and CEO of MamaKing’s Kitchen in St. John’s Newfoundland. She’s a chef, and a cooking coach.
Besides her entrepreneurial spirit, Faith is a passionate philanthropist and humanitarian who goes above and beyond to positively impact lives daily. She is a co-founder of Colcathy Foundation Nigeria, a charitable organization that brings hope to the hopeless. Due to her passion and relentless dedication to humanitarian works, she was honored with a Philanthropist and Leadership Award on October 22, 2022, by Colcathy Foundation, in recognition of her outstanding contributions, selfless services to humanity, and initiatives for being a dynamic and extraordinary philanthropist and leader. Additionally, Faith was also recognized during the 2023 Black History Month by the Lieutenant Governor Judy M. Foote of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Faith is happily married to Ernest Nwanguma and they are blessed with two lovely boys, King and Prince, both were born in St. John’s Newfoundland. She takes exceptional pride in being a wife and mother. She is on a mission to create a significant and impactful positive change in the world.

“Black perspective art and creativity at its essence is important because it allows us to share our culture, struggles, triumphs, gifts, and brings the black story around the globe to life. The arts offer a powerful platform for addressing social issues, promoting awareness, and advocating for change. This representation shows black boys and girls that there is enough room for them across various industries to be creative and take up space.”

Collins Chukwuma

I’m Collins Chukwuma, the founder and CEO of ScanSolve, currently in my third year pursuing a degree in Computer Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. My journey started with humble roots, working as a home support worker and later as a server at Magic Wok Eatery. Leveraging my passion for technology and problem-solving, I transitioned to the tech industry and founded ScanSolve. This venture allowed me to combine my entrepreneurial spirit with my technical background, creating a platform that revolutionizes education. ScanSolve has made a positive impact on the education sector by providing accessible, personalized learning experiences. The platform’s success is reflected in the positive outcomes it has generated, empowering learners and transforming the way knowledge is acquired in the digital age. As a self-employed individual and a proud member of Genesis, I continue to lead ScanSolve towards innovation and success in the dynamic tech landscape.

“My personal experiences have been strongly influenced by the broader Black experience. Growing up, I’ve encountered both the challenges and triumphs that characterize the Black community. This connection is significant to me, instilling pride in my heritage and a sense of responsibility to contribute to a more inclusive society. It’s a reminder of the ongoing journey towards equality and justice.”

Chanel Rolle

Bahamian vocalist, Chanel Rolle, is known for her vocal versatility. She sings various musical styles ranging from afro-pop and traditional Latin music to neo-soul, jazz, and classical music. Chanel is passionate about BIPOC and multicultural representation in the arts, and she actively promotes multicultural diversity and inclusivity in her performances, and through her community projects with the DEA (Diversity, Equity, Anti-racism) chamber ensemble and MusicNL’s Instrumental Connector Program.

“Black representation in the arts not only affects how others see us, but it affects how we see ourselves. A lack of Black representation and authentic Black perspectives can not only lead to the reinforcement of negative stereotypes but promote feelings of exclusion.
Positive representation in the arts can increase the self-esteem of people in marginalized groups. Increasing BIPOC representation in the industry is essential because to be it, you must see it. I believe that it is hard to imagine yourself in a certain position without having a role model that looks like you. Seeing someone from your culture, race and gender in a specific role gives student‚Äôs visible access and permission to enter into a field as an equal and inspire them to achieve their goals, regardless of the odds.”

Kerenhappuch Gandu

My name is Kerenhappuch Gandu, a Northern Nigerian who moved to Canada to study Visual Arts at Grenfell Campus (MUN). I’ve been fortunate to grow and evolve over the years. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to serve as secretary of the GCSU Black Students Caucus, the CFSNL Campaigns Coordinator, the CFS National Black Students Caucus Chairperson, and the 2021 Human Rights NL Artwork award, amongst others.
 My artwork surrounds the exploration of Black and Nigerian experiences, struggles, and cultures, as an attempt to answer questions often lost and self explorations.
 I currently work as the Communications and Public Relations Officer at the Canadian Federation of Students.

“While in Nigeria everyone is Black, I was recognized and identified by my tribe, and region. Moving to Canada, readjusted my perspective, I was no longer a person, but a Black person, in a strange man’s country that tried to effortlessly accept me but failed. This built a need to constantly express myself, and teach others about my experience, which unfortunately drains the wholesomeness of my experience, and makes it forcefully shared.
Micro-aggression, systematic racism and ignorance have always been in existence.  Many people try to accept Black people and the Black experience, but never understand, and may never understand that experience. It takes constant, continuous attempts to gain self-awareness to ones our personal biases, privileges and racism.
 This creates a need to effortlessly and fearlessly celebrate the Black experience while highlighting efforts to adjust a system that has historically been against that experience, to create a world where diversity is not a question or a quota, but a necessity. Our stories need to be told, by us, until they become embedded in the walls, roads, and spirit of society. The fight may be exhausting now, but we fight and thrive until it becomes a reality.”

Frieda Musa

Frieda, a trailblazing figure in the realms of computer science and finance, is from Plateau, Nigeria. Raised in a loving and supportive family, Frieda learned the values of hard work, perseverance, tenacity, discipline and the importance of education from an early age.
As a child, Frieda showed an early interest in technology. Whether it was dismantling household gadgets or spending countless hours exploring the possibilities of the computer was called my dad’s secretary, their passion for understanding how things worked hinted at a future in the world of computer science.

With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Frieda excelled in school and gained admission to pursue a degree in computer science at Bingham University, Nigeria. The academic environment not only deepened my technical skills but also exposed me to the diverse world of possibilities within the field. That made me travel down to St John‚Äôs NL in pursuit of my Masters’s degree.
After graduating with honours, Frieda entered the tech industry with determination. Overcoming challenges, and expectations, and breaking down barriers, she became a prominent figure in the male-dominated field, demonstrating that talent and innovation know no gender or racial boundaries.
Driven by a desire to expand her skill set, Frieda recognized the symbiotic relationship between technology and finance. A decision to pursue additional education in finance opened doors to new opportunities, leading to a dual expertise that set them apart in the professional landscape.
Frieda found herself at the forefront of the financial technology revolution with a mission of no family being left behind financially and fighting crime. Through groundbreaking projects and innovative solutions, they played a crucial role in shaping the intersection of finance and technology, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
Never forgetting her roots, Frieda dedicates her time to mentorship and community outreach initiatives. Through speaking engagements, workshops, and educational programs, aimed to inspire/support the next generation of underrepresented individuals to pursue careers in STEM and finance.
Today, Frieda stands as a trailblazer and role model, proving that a combination of passion, education, resilience, and hard work can break down barriers and open doors to unprecedented opportunities. Her legacy continues to inspire, and as she looks to the future, Frieda remains committed to driving positive change in the ever-evolving landscape of technology and finance.

“My personal experience of stepping away from the social and economic barriers of my home country and being a black woman working in fintech, I find myself a times struggling to fit in. I have felt the imposter syndrome. When working with others, sometimes I felt uncomfortable with how I spoke or expressed my opinions.
Surrounding myself with supportive advocates, sponsors or mentors. Has helped me gain visibility and grow friendships that make working in the corporate world enjoyable and you feel your authentic self. This support system paves opportunities as you are no longer in a silo and you feel confident in taking up any challenge because your role models are inspiring you.
I encourage people like me to take more roles in Fintech seeing more people like me would increase your confidence, have less consciousness of being judged, and reduce any effects of imposter syndrome feelings. In my perspective, this makes work life enjoyable without having the sense of switching personalities when at work or with friends outside work. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Working with people that you can relate to boosts your career and productivity.”

Nita Badaiki

Nita Badaiki (She/Her) is a Last-year Political Science and Criminology student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is currently a Fieldworker with the Canadian Federation of Students, NL. Nita is passionate about telling the stories of Black people, especially students in Newfoundland and Labrador. She was the former Vice-president of the Black Students Association at Memorial University (BSA-MUN). She is also very knowledgeable about creating timely campaign and community building strategies.

“Being from Nigeria, I’ve seen the amazing mix of cultures across Africa. What hits close to home for me is the resilience of our people and the rich cultural heritage of African communities alongside Black- American and Black- Canadian communities. Celebrating this during Black History Month is important. It’s about showing the world the depth of our heritage, breaking stereotypes, and making sure our stories are heard. By sharing the achievements of African communities, we build a global conversation that appreciates our diversity and sets the record straight about our history.”

Jummy Lasisi

I’m Jummy Lasisi , the heart and soul behind Jummy’s Treats, my cozy home-based bakery nestled in St. John’s. Born into the vibrant culture of Nigeria, I grew up in a family where food was much more than sustenance—it was a celebration. My earliest memories are filled with vivid memories of all the places I’ve lived, where I learned that baking is an act of love.

Moving to St. John’s brought a new chapter in my life, but I carried my experiences with me. After honing my skills through exploring new areas, I realized that my true passion lay in sharing the flavors of my childhood, combined with the new techniques I had learned. Thus, Jummy’s Treats was born during a time when we all needed a little more sweetness in our lives.

My specialties? Cakes and cupcakes that tell a story. I love experimenting with flavors, infusing classic and modern trends into my creations, making each bite a unique experience. Whether it’s a rich, decadent red velvet cake for a birthday or light, zesty blueberry lemon cupcakes for a gathering, I pour my heart into making sure they not only taste good but also bring a piece of my world to yours. Jummy’s Treats is more than a bakery to me—it’s a bridge between cultures, a place where every cake and cupcake is a celebration of my journey to St. Johns, and an invitation to share in the joy of baking. I can’t wait to welcome you with a treat that feels like home.

“Emphasizing the Black perspective and ensuring representation in the arts and industries like baking is essential for several key reasons. It promotes diversity and inclusion, making cultural landscapes more reflective of the diverse tapestry of human experiences. Representation in these fields fosters cultural exchange and understanding, allowing for the celebration and integration of unique traditions, techniques, and flavors, especially in culinary arts where heritage plays a crucial role. It also serves as a source of inspiration for young Black individuals, showing them that success is achievable in their chosen fields and helping to break down systemic barriers. Economic empowerment is another critical aspect, as supporting Black-owned businesses can address economic disparities and contribute to a more equitable industry. Furthermore, diversity fuels innovation and creativity, bringing new ideas and perspectives that drive the evolution of the arts and culinary practices. Addressing historical underrepresentation is also vital, acknowledging and valuing the contributions of Black individuals to cultural and industry development. Ultimately, emphasizing the Black perspective and ensuring representation is about creating a more equitable, innovative, and inclusive society that values the contributions of all its members.”

Joy Ejabena

Joy Ejabena is a Nigerian in Canada who is a dedicated advocate for inclusion and is passionate about fostering diverse and supportive communities. With a background in Political Science and Gender Studies, Joy brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to every endeavor.

“The part of Black history that means a lot to me is the resilience and strength shown by Black individuals despite facing challenges. Honoring this during Black History Month is crucial because it inspires everyone and teaches us about the power of perseverance.

My personal experiences have been shaped by the broader Black experience, showing me the importance of unity and understanding. This holds significance for me as it reminds me of the shared struggles and triumphs that contribute to our collective journey as Black people.

Emphasizing Black perspectives and ensuring representation in the arts and different industries is essential because it brings diversity and richness to our understanding of the world. Everyone, regardless of race, deserves to see themselves represented and celebrated.”

Patrice Gordon

I am an Early Childhood Educator residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, who migrated to Canada 10 years ago. I like to refer to my profession as a vocation, as it takes a true love for children and an deep interest in their growth and development to be able to do my job, and do it well. My greatest joy is being able to positively influence the lives of future generations, by giving them the tools, not only to excel academically, but also socially.

My interest in Early Learning and Childcare extends beyond the classroom, as I am a proud advocate for the sector. For too long Early Childhood Educators have been classified and recognized as babysitters, and therefore have not been given credit for the work we do, shaping the minds and lives of young children. I currently volunteer with a group that advocates strongly for a quality, affordable childcare system that is accessible to all, and a system that recognizes ECEs as professionals, and provides adequate compensation for workers in the sector.

“Black people have always been a minority group, which makes it so much more important for us to make positive, impactful contributions to society.

Historically we are rarely given equal opportunities, and our contributions, irrespective of how valid, most times have gone unnoticed. Black people have always had to fight for recognition, justice and equality. Since moving to Canada as an Early Childhood Educator, I have felt the same level of unimportance, insignificance, injustice.

Early Childhood Educators have traditionally been regarded as childminders, not educators. And though we are the caregivers for children in the most formative years of their lives, we never get credit for setting up the framework for future development.

I have always seen my fellow black brothers and sisters fight for what what they believe in, for what they know they deserve, for a better way of life for generations to come. So it is with the ELCC sector. I am now a part of a movement that is fighting for the right to recognition, fair compensation and good working conditions for workers within the sector. Being black and knowing the experiences of my forefathers gives me the courage to forge ahead in the fight for equality and justice.”