Photo above: Viola Desmond. Photo credit: public domain.
TORONTO, Ontario March 1, 2016 — Ryerson University will honour the extraordinary achievements of Black women from the university’s campus, and in the community, at the 8th Annual Viola Desmond Day Awards Ceremony tomorrow.
As part of the Black History Awareness series at Ryerson, the annual Viola Desmond Day Award Ceremony showcases talent from students, staff, faculty and the larger community, while raising awareness of the diverse and little-known stories and contributions of past and present women of African descent in the building of Canada.
The event is named for the catalyzing efforts made by Ms. Viola Desmond in achieving human rights and desegregating public spaces for Black people in Canada during, and following, her arrest for being Black in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in November, 1946 (nine years before the incident in the United States involving Ms. Rosa Parks).
The recipients, selected by a committee of Ryerson students, staff and faculty, will each receive an award named after the following prominent Black Canadian leaders:
Viola Desmond High School Student Award and Bursary — Priscila da Silva, Central Technical School;
Dr. Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré Faculty Award — Jennifer Clarke, School of Social Work;
Ms. Chloe Cooley Staff Award — Mandissa Arlain, Ryerson Library;
Dr. Pamela Appelt Student Award and Bursary — Pascale Diverlus, 4th Yr. Journalism.
Also being given out on the evening, is the Viola Desmond Bursar,y which offers financial support for a Ryerson student who exemplifies success and involvement at Ryerson and in the local community. The name of this year’s recipient is Susanne Nyaga, a third year Social Work student.
Interim Ryerson University President, Mohamed Lachemi, will provide welcome remarks at the reception, and words of support will also be offered by Ms. Lianne Hannaway, VP External for the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Planners, a longtime supporter of the Viola Desmond Day Awards.
Also attending will be Dr. Pamela Appelt, the first African-Canadian woman Judge of the Court of Canadian Citizenship.
The 8th Annual Viola Desmond Day Awards Ceremony, which will be held at Ryerson University — The Commons — 2nd floor, POD 250, 380 Victoria Street, has been organized by the university’s Black History Awareness Committee.
The event starts with a Gallery Walk and reception between 5PM and 6PM and the Awards Ceremony runs from 6PM to 8PM.