Black History Month - BHM image
Webinar event date: 
Feb 22, 2023 7:00 pm EST
Webinar Presenters: 

Wanda Thomas Bernard - Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers (NSABSW)
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard is the first African Nova Scotian woman to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, representing the province of Nova Scotia and her hometown of East Preston. Senator Bernard champions issues impacting African Canadians and people living with disabilities. She is particularly invested in human rights, employment equity, and mental health. Through her involvement in community projects, her social work career, her time with Dalhousie School of Social Work, and now her work in the Senate, Senator Bernard has maintained a deep dedication to social justice and racial justice. Senator Bernard advocates for reparations for the historical and continued anti-Black racism impacting the lives of African Canadians.

Kehinde Ekpudu - Alberta Association of Black Social Workers (AABSW)
Kehinde Ekpudu (she/her) works as a Clinical Lead for Social Work and Mental Health & Wellness at Stoney Health Services, Morley Alberta. She received her social work degrees (BSW and MSW) from the University of Calgary, Alberta.  During her undergraduate program, Kehinde was a recipient of the PURE (Program for Undergraduate Research Experience) award grant. She conducted research on the immigration experiences of Nigerian women in Calgary. For this research, she was awarded the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Internationally Focused Research. In addition, Kehinde has be awarded with following Recognition of Excellence Award-Student Leadership, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, the Clarice Chodak Recognition of Excellence in Social Action by the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Kehinde is an alumni of the University of Calgary’s scholar academy. Kehinde’s interests are in research, community development, mental health, immigration experience and anti-Black racism. She is an avid social worker with over 7 years experience working and volunteering in the profession. She considers herself a global nomad having lived in over 15 countries in various continents. Her diverse experiences have influenced her worldview, her ability to adapt and her appreciation of other cultures. She is a co-founder of the Alberta Association of Black Social Workers and the current President.

Dr. David Este
David Este is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. He obtained a MA degree specializing in African Canadian and African American History from the University of Waterloo and subsequently completed his MSW and PhD at the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University respectfully., During his career Dave has contributed publications to the discipline of African (Black) Canadian history, Canadian social welfare history along with pieces focused on contemporary issues confronting the African diaspora in Canada. He also co-produced the documentary “We are the Roots: Black Settlers and their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies” which received the 2018 Governor General Award – “History - Community Programming”. He has worked with the following organizations/groups such as “The Association of Black Social Workers (Nova Scotia), the Ontario Black History Society and, the Race Relations Foundation of Canada, David has published six book and is author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. He is currently engaged in a number of research studies such as Canadian Social Work (English) and Canada’ African Canadian Communities, Diversity in Social Work Groups and is serving as a consultant for the Auditor General Office in Ottawa.

Dr. Akua Benjamin
As a long-time community activist, Professor Benjamin is no stranger to the labour movement. Her works and presence have greatly influenced the anti-racism policy and programs of various trade union organizations. Recently, she spearheaded the Anti-Black Racism Network to create more public awareness and mobilize efforts to eliminate the discriminatory racial profiling. In honour of Akua’s leadership and tremendous contribution to the community, Ryerson University launched an exciting initiative – the ‘Akua Benjamin legacy Project’. It is a unique recognition of the kind of activism and educational work that builds a just and inclusive community. The Project is a collaboration of academics from various postsecondary institutions with community activists from across the greater Toronto area. The primary objectives of the legacy are to host an annual ‘Akua Benjamin Public Lecture and Organize an Anti-Black Racism’ Conference. In 2016, it was held on February 18, to celebrate Black History Month. One of the initiatives was to produce a document that would honour and celebrate the lives of five legendary leaders who have left a phenomenal legacy in the battle against racism and the building of a stronger community for all of us.

Dr. Linda Kongnetiman
Linda Kongnetiman (she/her) is currently the City of Calgary Anti-Racism Program Manager. Prior to this Linda held the role of Provincial Manager in Addiction and Mental Health. She also worked as a Social Work Professional Practice Leader. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University. Her training and research interest focus on preparing professionals for working in global contexts. She is committed to social justice, anti-oppressive practice and equity in health care, human service organizations and integrating research into practice and advancing antiracist practice. She holds a PhD, a Masters and a Bachelor of Social Work Degree.

Sharon McLeod
Sharon McLeod is a multifaceted professional with a longstanding clinical presence in the field of Addiction and Mental Health. A social worker educator and full-time lecturer, she remains a keen and insightful observer of both the political and cultural realities that inform and affect her work. Her training as a broadcast journalist allows Ms. McLeod to bring informed perspectives to ongoing critical debates, issues and developments. Currently she serves as Creative Director of her boutique production company, Walk Good Art House. Born "ln the place in the water where the trees are standing" Tkaronto,  to immigrant African-Caribbean parents from the land of wood and water and raised in the Black Christian church, she lives for the values of dignity, liberation and social justice. Her devotion to spirituality, health, recovery, and the way the relate to diversity and inclusion has led to a serious examination and unsettling of persistent and structural social problems. Devoted to traditions of Black-Intellectual thought, Ms. McLeod works closely with persons and consumers living with complex identities and intersections; grief and loss, poverty, and trauma. Trained in the scholarship of Canadian Anti Black Racism trailblazer Dr. Akua Benjamin Sharon is devoted to dismantling Anti-Black racism, the advancement of this scholarship and rigor required to keep chronicle Black suffering and resistance trans globally. She draws keenly from Anti-Colonial, Anti-Indigenous, Anti-Sanist and Black Feminist thought and works in faith and civic contexts to fulfill the commission of Micah 6:8 "To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Toronto, University College and a Master of Social Work from Howard University and honed her production and broadcasting chops at Ryerson School of Journalism. Sharon is a self-described, lifelong learner whose fascination for people keeps her watchful and reflective.


The 2023 theme for Black History Month is: “Ours to tell”. This theme opens the opportunity to celebrate, learn and honour Black social workers that have made indelible impacts on the profession.

This celebration event will honour the work and lives of Dr. David Este and Dr. Akua Benjamin both of whom have positively impacted the lives of social work students, their communities and Canada as a whole.

The event will bring together Black social workers that were inspired and mentored by these two Black social work icons in Canada.

Join this event to learn. Join to be inspired. Join to honour and celebrate the stories that are ours to tell.

Co-hosting: Kehinde Ekpudu & Wanda Thomas Bernard

Honouring: Dr. David Este & Dr. Akua Benjamin  

Mentees: Sharon McLeod & Dr. Linda Kongnetiman

This event is co-sponsored by the Alberta Association of Black Social Workers (AABSW), the Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers (NSABSW), and the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW).