Two women, described as trailblazers in the Black community, and four outstanding Black students including a recent graduate, were honoured last week at 11th annual Viola Desmond Awards Ceremony held at Ryerson University in Toronto.
The two women – Dr. Karline Wilson- Mitchell and Amanda Taylor Wheatle – received awards along with university and high school students.
Dr. Wilson -Mitchell is the Director of the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University where she launched the first Canadian midwifery mentorship program for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour students. She is also a Canadian Association of Midwives consultant with South Sudanese midwives.
She was presented with the Dr. Dorothy Wills Ryerson Faculty Award.
Amanda Taylor Wheatle is executive director of 4Reasonz Inc, and Ephraim’s Place Community Centre, which both deliver leadership and educational programs.
She received the Violet King Henry Ryerson Staff Award.
The other awardees were:
– Christine (T.NA) Smith (Dr. Sylvia D. Hamilton Ryerson Student Award)
– Stephanie Croissiere (Dr. Beverley Mascoll Ryerson Alumni Award)
– Brianna Glanville-Forrest (Viola Desmond Award In Recognition of a High School Student)
– Anny-Aysel Ineza (Viola Desmond Bursary)
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Mohamed Lachnemi, President of Ryerson University, said “this year is a bit different as many of us are carrying around an image of Viola Desmond..”
He was referring to Canada’s new $10 bill featuring Desmond, the first Black woman to be on the face of Canada’s currency.
“She’s a powerful inspiration to Canadians, a story of breaking barriers and forcing change.”
The ceremony was hosted by Emily Mills, founder of How She Hustles, a networking and career-boosting organization for diverse women through social media and special events.
Event organizer was Joan Pierre.