Honouring a prestigious legacy and an extraordinary man – Faculty of Health

Honouring a prestigious legacy and an extraordinary man – Faculty of Health

The James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Scientific studies celebrates 25 many years of excellence

Dr. OmiSoore Dryden arranged and co-hosted the occasion with Charla Williams, good-niece of James Robinson Johnston.

The environment was one particular of joyful celebration in the McInnes Home of the SUB on March 10 for the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Scientific tests 25th Anniversary Celebration. Members of the Johnston spouse and children — descendants of chair namesake Mr. James R. Johnston, the very first African Nova Scotian man or woman to generate a Dalhousie degree — joined Dr. Deep Saini, President, Dr. Frank Harvey, Vice-President, Academic Dr. Alice Aiken, VP Exploration & Innovation Dr. Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost, Fairness & Inclusion, and other users of the senior administration the greater Dalhousie, and broader area community for the celebration.

The night started with a drumming ceremony by Drummers from Residence, who opened the house with African and world beat rhythms. The ceremony was adopted by a land acknowledgement from Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, the latest James R. Johnston Chair who structured and co-hosted the occasion with Ms. Charla Williams, a descendant of Mr. Johnston.

Charla Williams is a excellent-niece of James Robinson Johnston, the middle youngster of 7 born to Aleta, his niece and daughter of his brother Clarence. Ms. Williams attended the Changeover Calendar year Plan at Dalhousie and finished her diploma in 2007 and labored for more 40 a long time in the field of variety, fairness, and inclusion.

The James R. Johnston Endowed Chair in Black Canadian Experiments honours Mr. Johnston and his achievements by building bridges in between academia, regionally and nationally, and the broader African descended communities as a result of scholarship, investigation, and neighborhood engagement.

A prestigious legacy

The James R. Johnston Chair is a significant senior educational put up in Canada, established to honour not only the daily life of Mr. Johnston, but also to realize and honour the one of a kind historical presence of African Nova Scotian folks. From the commencing, the Johnston Chair has been rooted in engagement with African Nova Scotian and Black communities, as observed by Dr. Dryden.

“Mr. Johnston was a family male and to thoroughly fulfil the concepts of the Chair and to honour the legacy of Mr. Johnston means creating solid ties with the relatives. The Johnston household has embraced me and supported the work of the Chairs over these previous 25 a long time. I constantly realized that to have a thriving celebration intended to centre the family. Black scientific tests is rooted in radical political and activist movements, and Nova Scotia has vivid and politically active African Nova Scotian communities, like the Johnston loved ones. The Johnston Chairs have often acknowledged the centrality of local community in Black scientific studies,” states Dr. Dryden.

In his remarks, Dr. Saini echoed this connection as he welcomed the relatives to Dalhousie for the milestone event. “You are these kinds of an important section of Dalhousie’s history, Nova Scotia’s heritage and in fact the record of this nation,” he explained.

“Twenty-5 years back, Dalhousie University created heritage by becoming the initially university in the state to generate a devoted, educational placement devoted to Black Canadian Research. Given that then, 4 nationally recognized students who have held this place have every single manufactured floor-breaking contributions by means of their views in the study of the Black citizens of this place and over and above.”

“The dedication proven by the people and establishments in initiating this placement was a testomony to the electric power of collaboration — among the the university, federal government, marketplace, and the neighborhood. Very little has adjusted in that regard in that there is absolutely nothing we can’t carry out if we function with each other,” Dr. Saini additional.

A celebration of the Chairs

Dr. Dryden pointed out the night commemorated two anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of the Chair and the 30th anniversary of the endowment that created it attainable. Customers of the spouse and children available their remarks in the course of the night and the party showcased a celebration of the Chairs:

  • The Inaugural Johnston Chair (1996-2002) was Dr. Esmeralda Thornhill, located in the School of Law, the very same college from which Mr. Johnston graduated. Dr. Thornhill, a fluently trilingual and eminent authorized scholar, was instrumental in co-building the route-breaking course, Critical Race & Lawful Principle: Race, Racism and Law in Canada, most likely the earliest of vital race and legislation classes in Canada. Professor Thornhill collaborated and partnered with a group of community, national, and worldwide organizations, to system and host an worldwide initiative marking the United Nations 3rd 10 years From Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
  • The second Johnston Chair (2004-2009), Prof. David Divine was hosted in the School of Well being — then Wellbeing Professions. Prof. Divine is a scholar of social do the job. His areas of analysis includes, social housing, addressing social exclusion, Black men’s sexuality, company shipping, HIV/AIDS, and immigration. Prof. Divine prepared many countrywide and international conferences, especially the 2005 nationwide conference: Numerous Lenses: Voices from the Diaspora found in Canada.
  • Dr. Afua Cooper, the third Johnston Chair (2011-2017), was located in the School of Arts and Social Sciences. Dr. Cooper’s places of investigation address African Canadian, abolitionism, girls and gender, the Black Atlantic and slavery. She is a historian and a dub poet. Dr. Cooper developed the very first Black Experiments slight at a Canadian college and established quite a few networks, which include the Dalhousie Black Faculty and Employees Affiliation, and the Black Canadian Scientific studies Affiliation.

Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, the fourth and current James R. Johnston Chair (2019-current), is situated in the School of Medicine. The very first queer human being to keep the chair, Dr. Dryden’s investigate engages in interdisciplinary scholarship that focuses on Black LGBTQI communities, anti-Black racism in health care, medical schooling, and Black well being curricular material enhancement.  Dr. Dryden hosts Chair Chats for Black pupils in health and fitness professions and graduate college and assisted to set up the Sophia B. Jones Mentorship program for Black professional medical college students at Dalhousie. Dr. Dryden is the co-guide of the new national corporation, the Black Wellbeing Instruction Collaborative. Most not too long ago, Dr. Dryden piloted the development of the new Black Studies Exploration Institute at Dalhousie, which will concentration on Black reports in STEM.

Dr. Judy MacDonald, Director of the School of Social Get the job done, aided to unveil a portrait of Prof. David Divine, the next Johnston Chair (2004-2009).

Two portraits of the Chairs ended up unveiled through the celebration: that of Dr. Afua Cooper (FASS) and Prof. David Divine. Dean Jure Gantar (FASS) was on hand to unveil the portrait of Dr. Cooper, who was sad to say unable to go to the festivities. Dr. Judy MacDonald, Director of the School of Social Function, was on hand to assistance unveil the portrait of Dr. Divine.

“The Chair is distinctive in that it is really substantially a component of the group right here. She or he is responsible and accountable to the community which paved the way for this really prestigious place,” Prof. Divine explained. “And we in switch as person Chairs need to be transparent in what we do and display what we are carrying out, and that is critically important. We ought to be collaborative and get the job done with some others as equals. We are not far more vital than anybody else we are portion of every thing else. This is a massively crucial aspect of this situation.”

Prof. Divine added that he was deeply grateful to the family members of James R. Johnston for their aid all through his tenure as Chair and obtained a standing ovation for his heartfelt remarks.

The celebration finished with a recognition of Mr. Johnston’s birthday on May 12

The function ended with a closing drumming ceremony from Drummers from Household and a surprise for friends. Each and every table was adorned with chocolate cupcakes in recognition of Mr. Johnston’s birthday on March 12. To rejoice these milestone anniversaries and the birthday of a impressive guy, visitors sang Content Birthday to ‘Uncle Jimmy,’ as he was identified to his relatives.

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