TORONTO, Ontario April 9, 2018 – Nova Scotian entrepreneur and Canadian civil rights icon, the late Viola Desmond, will be celebrated by Ryerson University, on Wednesday, April 11, for her contribution to Canada’s human rights movement.
The university’s Office of the Vice-President for Equity and Community Inclusion will host the 10th Annual Viola Desmond Awards and Banquet — a part of The White Privilege Conference (WPC) Global – Toronto — that will also pay tribute to Black women, who are leaders in Canada today.
Desmond (1914-1965) bravely challenged racial segregation at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946, and her struggle became one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history.
Today, she remains widely recognized for her catalyzing efforts and, fittingly, this year’s banquet will also celebrate the debut of Canada’s new $10 bill, on which the trail-blazing human rights advocate is featured.
This will be the first time that the new Canadian bank note — produced by The Bank of Canada and the first to include a Black woman on its face — will be at a public event in Toronto.
“While this is an annual awards event, we’re especially pleased to commemorate such a historic moment with many supporters of social justice who will take part in WPC Global – Toronto,” said Equity and Community Inclusion Vice-President, Dr. Denise O’Neil Green.
“Viola Desmond is a true heroine, who fought for, and demanded, equal rights for Black people in Canada, and I can think of no one more deserving to spotlight at our awards banquet.”
The achievements of three accomplished Canadian Black women — Mayann Francis, former first Black female Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia; Dr. Malinda Smith, Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta; and Vivian Barbot, first Black female to hold a leadership role in the Bloc Quebecois — will be recognised with Viola Desmond Awards.
Recognizing talent from students, staff and faculty, the event will also highlight members of the Ryerson community, who have contributed, significantly, to the promotion of Black Canadian history.
Urban, culturally-diverse and inclusive, Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. It is home to more than 45,500 students, including 2,600 Master’s and PhD students, 3,100 faculty and staff, and nearly 185,000 alumni worldwide.
To register to attend the 10th Annual Viola Desmond Awards and Banquet, which is taking place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, at 6PM, visit: www.ryerson.ca/wpc-global/viola.