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10 Concordians celebrate Black History Month

VIDEO: 'Use your voice and never be afraid to speak up.'
February 12, 2021
By Joanne Latimer, MFA 94

collage of the 10 faces

In honour of Black History Month, notable Concordians shared their words of wisdom via video messages.

The video compilation is just one expression of support for the community, alongside the Equity Office, the Black Perspectives Office and the President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism, whose mandates include addressing systemic discrimination.

Hear inspiring thoughts collected in the compilation below:

Get to know the individual speakers below, as they share their sentiments and views on why and how Black History Month should be embraced.

Annick Maugile Flavien, BSc (exercise science) 13, GrDip (comm.) 15, MA (media studies) 18

In addition to being the founding coordinator of Concordia’s Black Perspectives Initiative — now the Black Perspectives Office — Annick Maugile Flavien is co-chair of the university’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism. The three-time grad has facilitated a number of research projects, workshops and is active in Montreal’s Black community.

"With all the movement we've seen around the globe towards collective responsibility and solidarity for Black lives, I'm very excited to see what Black History Month 2021 will look like."

Maurice F. Ngwakum-Akisa, BA (economics) 20

A recent grad, Maurice F. Ngwakum-Akisa won the Dean of Students Medal. He was the president of the African Students' Association of Concordia, academic delegate and coach for the John Molson Competition Committee (JMSCC) and served as director and chairperson for the Commerce and Administration Students' Association (CASA-JMSB). 

"Black History Month helps me and the community contextualize our experiences and helps give us indicators of where we need to go as a community."

Josie Fomé, BA 17, GrDip (journ.) 18

Podcaster Josie Fomé is passionate about amplifying Black voices in education — the theme of season one on her podcast Filling the Void w/Josie, where she shares anecdotes, tips and tricks from everyday graduates finding their career paths.

"Black History Month shows me how far we've come! For all the named and unnamed who contributed to this fight, we celebrate you."

Naya Ali, BA (community public affairs) 11

Naya Ali, on a Zoom call, wearing her reading glasses

A rising star in the rap world recently awarded an inaugural SOCAN Black Canadian Music Award, and the only one out of the six recognized to hail from outside Ontario, Naya Ali is also a Concordia grad in public affairs and policy with a minor in Spanish. 

"Black history is about knowing who you are and where you come from."

Lydie Dubuisson, BA (theatre) 17

Lydie Dubuisson smiles for the camera, her hair up

Lydie Dubuisson is a Montreal-based theatre creator, playwright, director, and storyteller. Her most recent play, Sanctuary, was screened by the Black Theatre Workshop last January.

"We must know about our history so we may honour the ones who came before us, so we may celebrate our present excellence."

Maya Johnson, BA (journ.) 06

Maya Johnson, who will soon become new anchor of CTV Montreal News at 5 p.m. and CTV News at 11:30 p.m., is a bright light on the media landscape. Her promotion comes after 15 years with the station. 

"It's important to recognize those who've come before us, who've been the trailblazers."

Alain Ndakengurutse, current student

Alain Ndakengurutse is an independent director of CASA-JMSB, as well as a student leader who worked on the first two iterations of the Black Students Career Development event at Concordia.

"As a society, we're strong when united."

Roen Higgins, BA (applied human sciences) 11

Montreal poet and educator Roen Higgins has been recognized by the Montreal Community Care Awards, the Black Theatre Workshop, and Fonds 1804 for creative accomplishments and for her service to the community by helping young people to persevere in school. 

"Keep looking into your history because that's the path that will forge our next pages."

Dave A. McKenzie, GrDip (institutional admin.) 93, MA (ed. tech.) 03

As the founder and coordinator of the Community Service Initiative at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), Dave A. McKenzie encourages and promotes community service and links JMSB's resources with the needs of non-profit organizations, social enterprises, small businesses, governmental agencies and institutions, among others.

"Black History Month is a reminder of our individual and collective responsibility to educate ourselves, and to be kind and supportive of one another."

Tseli Moshabesha, BA (poli. sci.) 11

As chair of the Black Alumni Council, which oversees the Black Alumni Network, Tseli Moshabesha helms events that helps members connect after graduation — whether it's in a different city or in another country — and maintain solidarity with other Black Concordians.

"My message to you this Black History Month is to always use your voice and never be afraid to speak up."

Know a Concordia grad with an interesting story? We’d love to hear it. Email us at


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