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7 Concordians named CBC Black Changemakers 2023

Honourees include a refugee-turned-lawyer, psychotherapist and Stingers coach
February 21, 2023
By Louise Morgan, GrDip 99

Collage of seven portraits

With its annual CBC Black Changemakers, Canada’s public broadcaster pays tribute to inspiring Black Quebecers giving back and creating positive change in their communities. For its 2023 edition, seven of these 31 pioneering changemakers are Concordians.

CBC introduced the Black Changemakers in 2021 to highlight and share stories of Black excellence. During February — Black History Month — a new profile is published every day.

Congratulations to Concordia’s own CBC Black Changemakers:


Woman with black braided hair Photo courtesy CBC

Nicole Antoine, BA 10, co-founded Four Brown Girls and Blaxpo, two initiatives focused on removing systemic barriers to advance the careers of Black professionals. Antoine is also marketing strategist consultant at N/A & Company Inc.

“As I undergo my journey of discovering who I am, I am becoming increasingly self-aware and intentional with how I show up for my village. My purpose and passion are centred around curating moments where people are transported and inspired — it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.”

Man wearing suit and glasses Photo submitted by Moses Gashirabake

Moses Gashirabake, BA 13, fled with his family from the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi, settling in Kenya as refugees. After earning his degree in political science at Concordia, he studied law at McGill University. Today, he is managing partner at Mo Gashi & Partners and works tirelessly to help others fleeing genocide. While at Concordia, Gashirabake received the Outstanding Student Leader award from the Concordia University Alumni Association.

“Concordia University played a key role in strengthening my resolve to serve my community. Support and opportunities by classmates, professors and senior administrators enabled me to succeed as a student leader, as a volunteer and in my current professional career.”

Woman with white hair in a bun, wearing flowered blazer Photo courtesy CBC

Lillian Jackson, BComm 77, BA 82, MA 88, was among the university’s first Black commerce alumnae. She later inspired generations of young scientists as assistant to the principal of Concordia's Science College. After 25 years guiding and caring for students, she retired in 2019 and remains active in her church.

“Looking back, I’m most proud of my students. For me, it’s a great achievement to see them succeed.”

Woman with glasses wearing black dress and beaded necklace, holding small drum Photo courtesy CBC

Lisa Ndejuru, PhD 21, is a Montreal psychotherapist and life coach who incorporates the Rwandan tradition of oral storytelling into her work to help clients understand their roots and identity — and find healing. She has worked on behalf of the Rwandan diaspora for more than 20 years, as an organizer, researcher and activist. She was among Concordia’s 2017 cohort of Public Scholars.

“In the Kinyarwanda language, ‘Turi kumwe’ means ‘We are together.’ We are stronger when we create our freedom together. I’m so grateful for my beautiful partners in the work: Black Healing Centre, Black Mental Health Connections and Union United Church.”

Smiling woman wearing a white blouse and black vest Photo courtesy CBC

Kathy Roach, BA 88, GrCert 90, MA 03, is community worker at CIUSSS du Centre Ouest de L`ile Montréal. From accomplished figure skater to leadership mentor and workshop facilitator, she has inspired hundreds of Montreal youth to believe in themselves and give back to their community.

“I came from a household in which I was taught that everyone was born or blessed with a gift. My role is to motivate and encourage youth and people to live their full potential. I believe that everyone is important and has a purpose. Most of all, people need to feel love, validated and a sense of belonging.”


Woman wearing a green blazer over a black shirt Photo courtesy CBC

Tenicha Gittens is head coach of the Concordia Stingers women’s basketball program. An exceptional leader, “auntie” and mentor to players, she was named the RSEQ conference Coach of Year in 2021-22. She is one of few Black women coaching in Canada and sets an example for the next generation.

“It is especially important for young people to see themselves reflected in those they may one day aspire to be. If they see us kicking in doors and making space for them — the whole point of inspiring is to ignite something in someone else — they, too, will want to kick in doors and create space for the ones coming in behind them.” 


Woman wearing white blouse Photo courtesy CBC

Vanessa Manroop is a third-year human resource management student at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. She is a volunteer and mentor with the West Island Black Community Association and the Black Girls Gather book club. In 2021, she was named the Government of Canada Volunteer Awards’ Emerging Leader in the Quebec region.

“I am truly proud of the work I’ve accomplished within my community; the way I’ve changed young Black girls’ lives will forever have my heart. It only takes one person to change someone’s life — if I can be that for anyone, I am proud to do so!”

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