Webinar event date: 
mar 29, 2022 6:30 pm EDT
Webinar Presenters: 

Some of the speakers will include:

  • Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, PhD, LLD, C.M., O.N.S, Honorary Executive Member of ABSW: Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard is a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and advocate of social change. She is a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) which helps address the needs of marginalized citizens, especially those of African descent. As a former member of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and as its past Chair, was instrumental in the development of advice to ministers regarding frameworks for gender violence prevention and health equity. At the national level, she has served as a member of the National Coalition of Advisory Councils on the Status of Women. She has served as an expert witness in human rights cases and has presented at many local, national and international forums. Dr. Thomas Bernard has received many honours for her work and community leadership, notably the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. Dr Bernard was appointed to the Senate of Canada in November 2016, by The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau.
  • Rachelle Sweeting, ABSW Vice President, is a Registered Social Worker from Halifax, Nova Scotia, with roots in the historic Black Community of North Preston. She holds a BA from Mount Saint Vincent University and a BSW and MSW from Dalhousie University. Over the past 8 years, Rachelle has held various positions in the field of Social Work, including a Child Protection Social Worker with the Department of Community Services (DCS). During her time with DCS, she was a founding member of “Because We Matter” which was a small group of Black staff that developed to highlight and address experiences of racism within the Department. This work ultimately led to significant changes in Child Welfare policy and practice which continue today. In May 2019, she was recognized for this work and received the Minister’s Award. Following her time with DCS, she worked as a Continuing Care Coordinator with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and currently, she works as a Case Manager at Veterans Affairs Canada. She is the Chair of ABSW’s Child Welfare Committee and is passionate about advocating for culturally appropriate services and systemic changes for Black children/youth and their families. Rachelle commits her time providing education and training around Anti-Black Racism; as well as raising awareness around social issues that impact marginalized populations. She is a strong advocate for the African Nova Scotian community and remains dedicated to the work that contributes to the health and well-being of people of African descent.
  • Dr. Delores Mullings is a Professor, former Interim Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and former Chair in Teaching and Learning at Memorial University, School of Social Work. Her scholarly interests fall under the umbrella of Anti-Black racism and Critical Race theory. Dr. Mullings' research informs her teaching and learning pedagogy as well as a strong history of community engaged scholarship including community collaboration, supporting students in community service-learning projects, and partnering with interdisciplinary scholars nationally and internationally. She has an innate love for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) which is exemplified in the decolonized learner-centred, community-engaged approach that she employs by integrating a variety of teaching pedagogy to challenge and engage learners in ways that respect their knowledge, life experiences, agency, and differing social locations.
  • Joan Davis-Whelan, MSW, RSW, CASW President: Well known in the Social Work community, Joan has experience in clinical practice including Adult and Child Mental Health and Addictions, Family Violence, Oncology, Palliative Care, Dermatology, Medicine, Nephrology, Surgery, Emergency/ Trauma, Women's Health and Child, Youth and Family Services. She has worked in Quality and Risk and in Human Resources –Organizational Development. Joan has presented on various topics including grief and loss, team dynamics, change management and social work practice. Her areas of interest include social work competencies and education, leadership, clinical services, ethics, and evaluation.
  • Winnie Grant , BSW, MSW, M.Ed, RSW: Winnie is the mother of two beautiful Afrikan Nova Scotian women, Kyiaisha and KaSteva Benton, enjoys her 2 year old grandson, is patiently awaiting the arrival of her granddaughter and is married to her partner, George Grant. Winnie holds the position of Executive Director, Inclusion, Diversity and Community Relations Division with the Department of Community Services and is an Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie School of Social Work. Winnie attained her Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees at Dalhousie University. Winnie’s Master of Social Work thesis is entitled: The Evolution of Afrikan Consciousness: The Effects of R.A.C.I.S.M. On Afrikans in the Diaspora. Winnie also completed her Master of Education in life-long learning, with an Africentric focus on policy development at Mount Saint Vincent University. Winnie is an active members of the Association of Black Social Workers and is a licensed social worker with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers. Winnie mentors social workers seeking licensure with the Nova Scotia College of Social Work and serves as a “big sister” to a little guy for the past four years., through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Winnie works hard at employing an Africentric theoretical perspective and a Critical Race Analysis (CRA) in everything she does: in her full-time employment, her teaching assignments and when reflecting on her lived experiences.
  • Jareeca Jones is a young African Nova Scotian (ANS) woman from the historical ANS community of Upper Hammonds Plains. Her passions are working with children and youth in care and volunteering on various committees. She is currently employed as a Youth Counsellor with the Department of Community Services and a part-time student enrolled in The Bachelor of Social Work program at Dalhousie University. Apart of the Upper Hammonds Plains Community Development Association that supports community programming and services for the residents of Upper Hammonds Plains she has been apart of putting together events for seniors, planning the annual Canada Day events, fundraising initiatives, and hosting important community meetings. Since 2019 she has been a member of the Road to Economic Prosperity Advisory Committee for ANS Communities and is the co-chair of the Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment subcommittee. The African proverb ubuntu states “I am only because we are” and represents to Jareeca the importance of community. The only reason she has been able to strive today is because of the relationship she has within her community. Without the support of community and family she believes she would have never made it to where she is today.
  • Damini Awoyiga is a teenager with a passion for making change, using her countless talents in countlessly creative ways. Spoken word poet, fashion designer, content creator, and—of course—student, Damini uses the power of artistic expression and community to drive her messages home. Damini is a Nova Scotia Youth Ambassador for Digitally Lit, opens a new window (and founder of its Afro-Indigenous Youth Book Club, opens a new window) and Junior Artist in Residence for Wellness Within: An Organization for Health & Justice, opens a new window.
  • Kyiaisha Benton, BSW, SWC was born and raised in Halifax Nova Scotia and graduated from Dalhousie University with both a Bachelor of Science and Recreation and a Bachelor of Social Work. Kyiaisha is a social work candidate. She currently works as a Community Outreach Worker with Nova Scotia Health within Community Mental Health and Addictions and is excited to start more conversations of providing better mental health and addictions services to individuals from marginalized populations. Kyiaisha plans to have her own private practice in the future open to individuals of African descent. Her goal is to respectfully advocate for more services to be available to individuals from marginalized populations and challenges her colleagues and friends to educate themselves on how to effectively work with individuals who are racialized. Furthermore, Kyiaisha is an active member of the Association of Black Social Workers and currently is the co-chair of the Dalhousie Student group committee. She has also volunteered within Iona Stoddard's municipal election. Kyiaisha has a strong passion for helping others and is excited to embark on her new career as a social worker. She is a proud and loving sister and an amazing Aunty to her nephew who just turned two and is patiently waiting on the arrival of her niece.
  • Afolake Awoyiga BSW,MSW,RSW Afolake lives in Hammonds Plains and is a clinical social worker with experience in community development and working with women and marginalized populations. She currently works at the IWK Health Centre and she is a part-time sessional instructor at the Dalhousie School of Social Work. Afolake is a co-founder of Generation 1 Leadership Initiative (G1LI).

The Association of Black Social Workers and the Canadian Association invite you to: Celebrating Pioneers of African Descent in Social Work: Passing the Torch

Join us as we recognize and celebrate the amazing work of our African Canadian Social Work Pioneers who were highlighted in the book “Africentric Social Work.” A collaboration between the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) and the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), join us to:

  • Reflect on the theme of passing the torch: six speakers will reflect on the theme to share personal experiences from within the social work field;
  • Engage in our Question and Answer Period, where we may be able to hear first-hand from some of the pioneers themselves, or the authors of the chapters of Africentric Social Work, on their contributions to this essential profession.