January 31, 2023 — B1%CK

Page 1


Dr. Handel Kashope Wright spearheads

UBC’s anti-racism strategy

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I caught Dr. Handel Kashope Wright in the midst of a flurry of meetings to attend and tasks to address. Wright has spearheaded the majority of UBC's anti-racism work.

Wright is a professor in the department of educational studies who mainly teaches graduate courses on issues around multiculturalism, anti-racism and ethnography. Though he doesn’t necessarily teach the topic, he also expressed his interest in analyzing representations of continental Africa in discussions of global cultural studies.

His interest in exploring themes of identity, specifically in academia, was sparked by a culmination of his personal experiences as an immigrant originally from Sierra Leone, where he completed his undergrad before moving to Ontario.

He has lived throughout Ontario and BC and observed stark differences in ethnoracial diversity. He was particularly drawn to the larger cities – Toronto and Vancouver –where he “had friends of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations –people from all over the world.” He spent much of his time pondering his own place in this arrangement of identities.

“I don’t think of identity as a static thing, but as a very exciting thing that changes, and keeps changing.”

He is intrigued not only by the notion of culture and identity as something to be celebrated, but as a framework we use to position ourselves and others in society.

“I think of identity as being almost three-pronged — it’s what you think of yourself, it’s what others make of you, and it’s the interaction between those things that produce

your identity.”

Upon completion of his PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, he was hired at a university in Knoxville, Tennessee, but eventually returned to Canada as a Canada Research Chair.

This position led to an invitation to create UBC’s Centre for Culture, Identity and Education (CCIE), which directs collaborative projects with the Equity and Inclusion Office and Social Justice Institute, among others. Despite the intense and time-consuming process of developing the centre, it has been a labour of love for Wright since “it brings together these two areas that excite and interest me the most, which are education and cultural studies.”

His most recent project with the CCIE is in collaboration with the Allard School of Law. Together, they are doing research on Indigenous court workers, and what these workers do to support Indigenous people who are facing legal troubles. Researchers are most intrigued by the ways this field has changed, as court proceedings shifted from face-to-face interactions used to virtual spaces, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three years ago, Wright applied for the position of Senior Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence – which was developed by former President Santa Ono – and has held the title since then. His main task is to inform the president of issues that affect racialized groups on the UBC campus, at other institutions and within the surrounding community.

“President Ono was very interested in those issues. So rather than me advising him, very often, it was us having discussions. Sometimes he was telling me about stuff that I didn’t know was going on. It was

very interesting working with him and for him.”

This position also involved participation in the Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence – a group of 34 people which, according to Wright, is exceptionally large for a project of its nature. Along with the UBC Okanagan School of Social Work’s Dr. Shirley Chau, Wright co-chaired the Task Force, which put forward 54 recommendations in 2021.

Unfortunately, Wright’s achievements come with the cost of him having to sacrifice activities he used to enjoy.

“A lot of my hobbies have gone by the wayside,” said Wright, whose schedule is always fully booked by one of his countless projects or positions. During his undergraduate years, he had been heavily involved in theatre and similar artistic endeavours, even being handpicked for an elite acting troupe on campus, but that was “a lifetime ago.”

Despite his flair for the dramatic, Wright joked that “music is a sensitive topic for me ... I’m named Handel because my father was hoping I would be musical, and I’m not. I love listening to music, I love different kinds of music, but I can’t play an instrument to save my life.”

In addition to theatre, movement and travel, Wright is passionate about immersing himself in hands-on, “nitty-gritty” activist initiatives but struggles to find the time to do so.

“As a full-time faculty member, who’s also trying to be the director of an entire centre, who’s also trying to be senior advisor to the president, there’s pretty little time to do [activist] work,” he said. “But I do admire people who do work in the community.” U

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“ I don’t think of identity as a static thing, but as a very exciting thing that changes.”
Forty-one years ago, on January 28, 1982, UBC students took to the campus streets to protest a 32.8 per cent increase in tuition fees. The Ubyssey reported that 150 “solemn students dressed in somber black” gathered to mourn “what used to be a great university.”
WEEK IN UBC HISTORY 1982: BoG ups fees

AMS falls further behind in club reimbursements

Personnel turnover at the AMS along with a transition to a new financial system intended to address a reimbursement backlog caused the AMS to fall further behind in reimbursing clubs and individuals. An external review by consulting firm MNP recommended the AMS standardize reimbursement claims, work at fixing user errors, and address the backlog by prioritizing higher amount claims rather than on a first-come, firstserved basis. VP Finance Lawrence Liu told The Ubyssey on January 18 that the AMS will be tackling the backlog in the coming weeks.

UBC ‘regrets impact’ of interpreted support for Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

UBC said it takes “full responsibility” for its “actions and inactions” regarding its response to questions around former law professor Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s claims of Indigenous identity in a statement on January 17. UBC President Deborah Buszard and VP Academic and Provost Gage Averill wrote the university now “regrets” the interpretation of support for Turpel-Lafond in its initial statements. Buszard and Averill said they will be in contact “in the near future” with Indigenous faculty, staff and students about engagement opportunities for these community members to share their concerns.

SASC celebrates 20 years of helping survivors

The Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) celebrated 20 years since its opening at an event on campus January 19. The centre is operated independently by the AMS. In her remarks at the event, AMS Policy Advisor Mimi Neufeld said the SASC filled a gap in support at the university, particularly before UBC opened its Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office in 2017.

“After tonight, it is the responsibility of every single person in this room to continue that work,” Neufeld said.

Anisha Sandhu appointed interim AMS VP AUA

Anisha Sandhu was appointed interim AMS VP Academic and University Affairs (AUA) at a special session of AMS Council on January 16. The appointment comes after VPAUA Dana Turdy took an unpaid leave of absence. Sandhu has been appointed until April 30, the end of Turdy’s term. Sandhu previously served as a student senator for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. In a statement on Turdy’s departure, President Eshana Bhangu said the AMS will ensure advocacy continues “uninterrupted.” U


ARIE Task Force leaders discuss equity at UBC

The Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force introduced a new framework for moving forward with anti-racism measures at UBC on January 25.

At a webinar, Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force (ARIE-TF) leaders reconvened to highlight key recommendations and lay out plans for moving into the implementation phase.

In April 2022, the ARIE-TF released its final report with over 50 recommendations to help address systemic racism at UBC.

The implementation stage will run under the Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) framework model, a strategy to develop the ARIE recommendations into measurable actions across the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses over the next five years.

The StEAR framework focuses on four domains: structural, curricular, compositional, and interactional change.

“The framework really acts to align, unify and mobilize our EDI priorities, but also not lose the nuances of each of these plans that require us to think specifically about the different communities and the different barriers, and therefore the differ-


ent solutions that we need,” said UBC Associate VP Equity and Inclusion Arig al Shaibah.

ARIE-TF committee chairs highlighted their recommendations, with many mentioning creating recruitment and retention initiatives for BIPOC faculty and staff, developing BIPOC-specific sponsorship programs, and reducing the burden of teaching anti-racism on BIPOC students and faculty.

Committee chairs also noted that while some anti-racist measures are being implemented at UBC, there are issues with inadequacy and inconsistency that need to be resolved.

The StEAR framework has laid out a set of major guidelines that will inform the beginning of the implementation phase.

These include goals from setting institutional practices such as student demographic data collection, developing support for IBPOC community members, and providing faculty, staff and leadership with anti-racism training.

Dr. Donna Kurtz, chair of the Indigenous Committee, shared her experience of working on these recommendations after the remains of 215 children were found at the former site of Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“The reality of why we joined this task force became more

important, and why we put ourselves in potentially unsafe positions made the collective work of the task force more meaningful and more hopeful to expose and prioritize the experiences and wisdom of the students, staff and faculty from both campuses,” she said.

Lerato Chondoma, chair of the Blackness Committee, echoed similar feelings about working on the task force against the backdrop of police violence against Black people in the US and Canada.

“I will end again with my enduring message to Black students, staff, faculty and executive leadership at UBC. You are always

seen, you always belong. You’re always building a legacy. Your history matters so much, your existence matters. Be unapologetically Black every day, because you matter,” she said.

This spring, StEAR will move forward by releasing an official roadmap, and establishing an advisory committee and baselines to assess ongoing efforts.

“Lots of things have been done in different units and departments and programs, and now it’s up to us to pull that information together and let the community see the work that has been implemented,” said VP Students Ainsley Carry. U

CUPE 2278 president ‘optimistic’ about RA union drive

Four months into a unionization drive, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

2278 President Emily Cadger is “optimistic” about the prospects of the campaign to organize research assistants and other student academic workers.

Cadger, a Ph.D. art history student, said in an interview with The Ubyssey that the campaign saw a slowdown over the break as students’ attention turned towards exams but expects energy to return following organizer meetings held at the start of the semester.

Cadger said that the campaign has been aimed at students working in medicine, engineering and science, mainly because their positions are easiest to locate within labs and other in-person research facilities.

“We are trying to get more involved with some of the arts and humanities and social sciences, with the understanding that a lot of those departments rely heavily on [teaching assistants] not necessarily [research assistants],” Cadger said. “So we don’t want them to feel like they’ve been left out. It’s just harder to find them.”

She explained that organizers have also struggled to connect students working in off-campus facilities or remotely, and 2278 is currently strategizing on how to connect with them further.

Local 2278 currently represents “more than 2,000 academic workers at UBC, including teaching assistants, tutors,

markers and English language instructors.” In November, exam invigilators working for the Centre for Accessibility unionized and joined CUPE 2278 following a three-week campaign.

Cadger said they’ve been primarily engaging people through social media and campus postering, and reaching out to eligible workers by department. Social events hosted by 2278 have also worked well to connect student workers with the campaign as well.

“[Events have] been a really good way for departments to just connect a lot of their grad students

together ... [during COVID-19] interrelations seem to have dropped a bit,” she said.

CUPE National and CUPE BC have supported 2278, but the campaign remains student-operated and oriented, Cadger said. Cadger added that she is happy to have the support of the AMS and GSS.

The current campaign, which was launched last September, has six months under the Labour Relations Code to obtain signatures that represent 55 per cent of eligible workers to be automatically certified as having formed a union. If the drive returns at least 45 per cent but less than 55 per cent, the

Code requires a representation vote to be held among workers to make a decision.

When CUPE 2278 announced the campaign, UBC said in a statement to The Ubyssey that the university “respects the right of individuals to organize pursuant to the provisions of the Labour Relations Code and the university’s labour relations environment.”

With the halfway mark behind them, organizers are confident that the campaign will achieve its objectives.

“I do think we’re definitely going to succeed in this,” Cadger said. U

“The [StEAR] framework really acts to align, unify and mobilize our EDI priorities.” A CUPE 2278 banner promoted the union drive outside the Nest briefly in October. SCREENSHOT ANABELLA MCELROY / THE UBYSSEY ANABELLA MCELROY / THE UBYSSEY BESSIE GUO / THE UBYSSEY


New MD admissions stream could improve Black representation

UBC will welcome its first cohort of students from the Black Student MD Admissions Pathway this August.

Last year, the Faculty of Medicine launched the new admissions pathway for prospective Black medical students. This pathway allows for Black applicants to have their application essay reviewed by a subcommittee of Black physicians, faculty, medical students and other members of the BC medical community.

Dr. Shahin Shirzad, the MD undergraduate program’s assistant dean of admissions, wrote the admissions pathway is “still in its early days.”

“What we can share with you is that we’ve received an incredible amount of positive feedback not only from the UBC community ... but also from government and the general public at large,” wrote Shirzad in a statement to The Ubyssey . With the first cohort of successful applicants entering the program in August 2023, Shirzad wrote that UBC is continuing its work to raise the visibility of this admissions stream across BC and the country.

In 2021, Dr. Felix Durity, a UBC MD alum, professor and head emeritus in the neurosurgery division of the department of surgery, donated money to create the Black Student Pathway Support Fund. Launched alongside the admissions pathway in February 2022, the fund will be used to provide financial support for students such as scholarships and bursaries.

For Durity, creating the program stemmed from his hard-working path to success in a field that highly underrepresents

“I never met a Black UBC student born in Canada itself in all my undergraduate years.”

the Black community.

Durity grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, a small Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. When he moved to Vancouver to attend UBC, he immediately noticed the glaring lack of Black representation in academic institutions.

Durity excelled as the top student for two years, but in his third year, he ran out of money and had to defer a year. After taking time off to work, he went back to school while also continuing to work in campus kitchens to pay tuition and meet living expenses.

He said his hope for the entrance award fund is to spare qualified but financially vulnerable Black MD students from financial barriers.

Although Durity met several Black students from the Caribbean and continental Africa at UBC over the years, he said, “I never met a Black UBC student born in Canada itself in all my undergraduate years.”


Durity said there was only one Black MD graduate in UBC’s 2022

cohort — equivalent to 0.3 per cent of the graduating class.

UBC has one of the largest medical schools in Canada with 288 students per year intake.

Dr. Jennifer Migabo, a current resident at the University of Toronto, was the sole Black graduate in UBC’s 2022 cohort.

Growing up in BC, Migabo was used to being the only Black student in the classroom. From attending two elementary schools, high school and university, she was always either one of the few Black students or the sole Black student.

“I definitely felt like I was representing an entire group of people,” she said. She was not surprised when she learned she was the only Black graduate in her class.

“What was more surprising was navigating medical school, being in clinical practice, going to different hospitals around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, and still not seeing other Black residents or other Black physicians,” she said.

During the pandemic, Migabo became heavily involved in advocacy. As the past advocacy co-lead of Black Physicians of BC, an organization focused on community and mentorship, she is well-versed in the wide mistrust of healthcare in the Black community.

“There’s been a myriad of examples of where the medical institution has taken advantage of Black and Indigenous patients and not treated them as equally as their white counterparts,” she said. By increasing representation in the field, these patients can see medical providers that look like them and make them feel safer.

Migabo, the daughter of a Kenyan immigrant, is grateful for her mother’s guidance and experience in navigating post-secondary education, but she knows that many members of the Black community may not have the same support.

She believes UBC’s admissions pathway can help Black people speak to their experiences and hidden barriers they have faced.

She highlighted that people with prestigious publications or research papers do not necessarily make good doctors. Good doctors are people with well-rounded experiences, who demonstrate compassion and empathy, she said, which is what this stream allows for.

“I’m really excited to see how the Black stream at UBC changes the face of their medical program.”

Robyn Thomas, MD student at UBC’s Island Medical Program, is one of the four Black students embarking on their first year in medical school this year.

“That’s a 400 per cent increase,” said Thomas, referencing last year’s sole Black graduate.

Thomas, whose parents immigrated from Zimbabwe, grew up in Calgary. In a predominantly white city, her parents always instilled in her to “occupy environments” and “not feel afraid of the world.”

“I never had a Black doctor or anyone in the medical field that looked like me,” she said. During her undergraduate degree in neuroscience and her time as a student researcher in hospitals, she was often “the only person occupying the space that was not white.”

“That can really make you feel hyper-visible, an outsider,” she said. Thomas emphasized the need for more Black mentorship in the medical field.

As for the admissions stream, she believes it can be used to address the inherent biases and prejudices in the application process. This is the first step in creating an academic environment that acknowledges the historical and contemporary barriers faced by marginalized communities.

“It’s going to be a process and a journey,” she said. U

“I’m really excited to see how the Black stream at UBC changes the face of their medical program.”

Panel talks revitalizing Black cultures in Vancouver Calendar

Community organizers are developing supportive spaces in the city for Black Vancouverites to connect and create — a difficult task given the huge deficit of BIPOC representation in the arts scene due to Vancouver’s racist history.

Second-year International Relations student Gankal Sally Ka led a discussion on January 17 on Black cultures in Vancouver with Maya Preshyon, founder and director of the Vancouver Black Library (VBL), and Krystal Paraboo, project manager and curator of the Black Strathcona Resurgence Project (BSRP). The Coordinated Arts Program (CAP), of which Ka and Preshyon are both alumni, organized the event.

Tucked away in the Place of Many Trees, the discussion addressed the structural historical roots of Black isolation in Vancouver, and how artistic and cultural initiatives can help increase connection, joy and resilience.

After moving to Vancouver from Senegal, Ka said that she found it difficult to adjust to being a racial minority, but she credits projects such as VBL and BSRP with having helped her find a sense of belonging in the city.

BSRP is a mural art series based in what used to be Hogan’s Alley, an area of Vancouver that was a hub for Black cultures that the city of Vancouver demolished to make way for the never-built Dunsmuir Viaduct.

The goal of the project was to primarily highlight work by Black artists; however, given that the pieces are located in Chinatown and on stolen Indigenous land, Paraboo chose to honour the solidarity between racialized groups by including Indigenous and Chinese-Canadian artists.

Though it resulted in stunning pieces of public art, Paraboo expressed that the effort required

to execute the project was grueling.

“Was it worth all the harm and labour that we went through?”

During her partnership with the Vancouver Mural Festival, she felt tokenized by an “all-white leadership [team]” that was not adequately compensating its artists. In the future, Paraboo said that she would prefer to collaborate with BIPOC or individuals/organizations that can demonstrate genuine allyship. Still, she hopes her work will pave the way for similar projects and facilitate the process for those who hope to follow in her footsteps.

Preshyon had been involved in the underground art and music scene for years, but never felt like their identities were reflected in the creative teams running the venues, or in the lineups of performers. She longed for a space where she could connect with people who shared her experiences.

After coming across an article

that discussed the significance of libraries as open, social spaces, they developed the initial design for VBL. She jokingly mentioned how she is not a huge reader, but recognizes how accessible resources and shared spaces can bring people together.

In addition to offering a selection of free books and a safe space to study or hang out, Preshyon hopes that the library will eventually be able to host a variety of other services to serve the community, from group therapy to poetry readings — she described VBL as a “bougie community centre.”

In response to a question about how UBC supported them in the development of VBL, Preshyon didn’t go into much detail, but said that they would like to see the institution put more effort into supporting Black communities “genuinely, not just for optics.”

Projects like these are crucial

Be the art you want to see on the walls

in helping to build and revitalize Black cultures in Vancouver.

According to Ka, “Vancouver Black Library is not just a library” – it is a safe space to learn, connect and heal.

Since they prioritize interpersonal connection, these initiatives actively fight against the loneliness caused by isolated “cultural bubbles,” which Preshyon explains are the result of the forced displacement of Black individuals throughout history, both from their home countries to Canada, then from their neighbourhoods within Vancouver.

Though similar initiatives are still hard to come by in Vancouver, with people like Preshyon and Paraboo doing everything in their power to guide and uplift young activists, there will most definitely be more to come. U


See a Black History Month double feature of Ousmane Sembène’s 1966 film Black Girl, which recently appeared at #97 on Sight and Sound’s poll of the Greatest Films of All Time, and Spike Lee’s 1993 Malcolm X Students tickets are $15.



February 1, UBC Fred Kaiser Building, 3—4:30 p.m.

The UBC APSCI Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office is hosting a discussion on the history of Black Canadian contributions to science, engineering, technology and medicine — and on redressing the racist history of the field.


February 3, Performance Works

In collaboration with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, the Surrey-based Black Arts Centre will be hosting a “night of dance, collaboration, and community” on Granville Island.



February 7—8, UBC Green College

UBC’s Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies will host a livestreamed concert by Afro-Italian hip hop artist and activist Amir Issaa. The next day, Issaa will present two of his books, I Live For This and Rap Education.


February 17, Bentall Centre Gallery

With Vancouver Mural Festival’s Winter Arts festival, AfroQueer YVR will be hosting “an ode to black underground dance culture and music,” featuring drag performers and an all-woman DJ line-up. Tickets are $22.23.


February 25, Chan Centre For The Performing Arts

Three artists who work “at the outer limits of hip-hop, free jazz, blues, noise, and poetry,” will perform at the Chan Centre. Tickets start at $13.50.


February 27, The Cinematheque


According to gallery director Sunny Park, the exhibit welcomed students “to work, read, create, communicate and share with one

another, all while surrounded by a huge selection of student art. In addition to the artwork on display, the Hatch directors turned the gallery into a habitable space. Several lamps provided a cozy, homey feel. The neutral-toned furniture did not take the spotlight away from the art, but rather provided a restful space to appreciate it.

A TV played videos on loop, while the other held a monitor with a simple yet beautiful video game. Another corner of the exhibit featured a large pastel iridescent dome, filled with stuffed toys made by artist Bianca Thompson, where students could relax with their friends. Thompson described the inspiration behind her art with a

question: “What are all the things that make me happy?” The space also included a journal where students could write about their experience at the gallery, and a disposable camera for selfies. In its brief exhibition period, the gallery became a space for students to come together and spend time as a community. U

The Cinematheque and UBC will host a free screening of Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album Lemonade as a part of their “Cinema Thinks the World” collaboration. UBC faculty members Dr. Kimberly Bain, Dr. Louis Maraj and Dr. Alexis McGee will discuss the film afterwards. U

THE HATCH GALLERY // Maya Preshyon (left), Genkal Sally Ka (middle) and Krystal Paraboo (right). ELENA MASSING / THE UBYSSEY Aadya Arora Staff Writer The Hatch Art Gallery wrapped up its latest exhibit, Our Space, on Janaury Two Hatch patrons enjoy a student-created video game. ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY Bianca Thompson’s dome structure is cozy and interactive. ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY BLACK HISTORY MONTH //

I’m Nigerian, but in Canada, I’m just Black

The aftermath of my mirthful night — a typical Lagos December night pulsating with energy oozing out of thousands of 20-somethings enjoying the sultry sounds of live performance and sonorous music — was rudely interrupted by the dull hum of YYJ’s arrival terminal. It was my third time in Canada, but my first time flushed with inescapable dread.

Before we dive into this extremely personal essay, I would prefer to tell you a bit about who I am — who I was? — before integrating into the Great White North.

I was born to a young, not-sonewly-wed couple in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in a quiet estate in the city’s capital, Ikeja. Lagos, Africa’s metropolitan heartbeat, is famous for its zest, go-getter culture and unwavering commerciality. I spent a considerable chunk of my formative years in Lagos’ infamous traffic. My six-year stay in high school had me bound in traffic commuting to and from school daily.

In university, I spent less time in traffic and more time worrying about my prospects in the job market, complaining about university life with friends and fielding through group projects. Having lived in Lagos, the arts and culture hub of Nigeria, my time as a mass communication undergraduate student deepened my interest in covering the thriving arts and culture scene.

As a new graduate, I wound back up in the gridlock of Lagos traffic, either making my way to Landmark Beach for a Saturday with friends or scouring Victoria Island in search of an exhibition, play or event to inspire a new story. I spent a considerable amount of time with some of Nigeria’s finest writers, filmmakers, artists

It was my third time in Canada, but my first time flushed with inescapable dread.

and musicians; learning from and about their craft.

Now, as a graduate student at UBC, I’m a little lost — metaphorically and literally. I spend most of the week in class, soaking up multifaceted viewpoints on journalism, and the rest slugging at a job I now need to survive.

Solitude is no stranger to me as I spent the better part of my undergraduate journey and COVID-19 without family. But a solitude that goes beyond physical loneliness is quite foreign to me.

As I inch towards the oneyear anniversary of that dreadful moment at the airport, I’ve come to doubt the testimonials of preceding friends and family who relocated to Canada over the years. Through the last ten years, I’ve watched friends and family migrate to many different countries. Though scattered around the continents, a common assessment

of Canada has been its assertion as a cultural safe haven for African immigrants.

It could be partially my fault that I haven’t experienced the diverse multiculturality that Canada boasts of. According to a report by Statistics Canada, Canada has 2.6 million South Asian, 1.7 million Chinese and 1.5 million Black people. However, while Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary house the largest population of immigrants, what I failed to realize was that Toronto was home to the largest Black population, including the African immigrants who make up almost half of Canada’s Black population.

As I lay in my South Vancouver apartment, in a province where only one per cent of its population identifies as Black, I can’t help but wonder why provincial and national borders stop me from feeling culturally connected to the

Nigerian, or at least the African, communities spread all over Canada. While I personally find ways to stay connected to Nigeria by immersing myself in local online communities on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, the 11,000 km of land and sea separating us seem to still be a significant barrier.

With over 42,000 Nigerians in Canada, I often wonder why Canadian media does little to represent, not just Nigerian communities, but other immigrant cultures that populate the nation.

CBC — one of Canada’s top media outlets — and many other channels fail to adequately represent experiences outside of the racial categories accepted by the white Canadian mainstream. For example, the CBC has a dedicated section on its website titled ‘Being Black in Canada’ an all-encompassing news section for ‘Black Canadian news.’ Its periodic

coverage of exclusively Black stories and lack of diversity within the overarching community only proves that skin colour is the domineering identity. The inability to highlight diverse communities, cultures and nationalities in its stories claims responsibility for the feeling of loneliness migrants may feel.

Although I continually reiterate that I’m not Black, I’m Nigerian, lump-summing all Black people and experiences seems to be a satisfactory representation for much of the mainstream Canadian press.

It’s hard to relate to the sliver of representation because to be a Nigerian in Canada is a much different experience than being a Black Canadian. And I guess that’s truly what this essay is all about. My identity and heritage as a Nigerian offer me a different experience than being Black, but most Canadians don’t understand or care.

Black Canadian history dates back to the 1600s and has deep roots in slavery, the abolition movement and racial injustice. As someone whose family heritage is not significantly marked by any of those histories, it’s difficult to connect with. It’s even more difficult to shoulder the unpleasant emotions of shame and guilt that society associates with Black history. The burning stares during discussions of Black identity or history in a room full of white people, automatically burden you with feelings you shouldn’t feel. Why should I then be necessitated to adopt an experience that doesn’t belong to me?

I want to be acknowledged as who I am and not what I look like. I don’t want the complexities that define me to be stripped away, leaving me as nothing but a label. I am first a Nigerian before I am African and I am first an African before I am Black. U

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It was Savannah Sutherland’s first month back on campus since they graduated in May 2020. Main Mall was lined with booths of UBC clubs and resources for the 2022 Imagine Day as thousands of students crowded in. Across the sea of students, Sutherland spotted a familiar booth and was filled with pride.

As soon as they could take a break from boothing for the Sexual Assault Support Centre, they ran across Main Mall to the Black Student Union’s (BSU) booth. They said to the students working the booth, “Oh my God, guys! You don’t know who I am, but I used to be [a BSU] President!”

Sutherland wasn’t just a BSU president, but one of the founding members of the BSU.

Sutherland teared up recalling the day. “I was so proud of what we’ve created. And I am so happy that students … continue to find value in it,” they said. “It’s one of those things that kind of feels bigger than you.”


Sutherland remembered arriving at UBC in 2016 and, for the first time, being the only Black person in the room. Having grown up in the United Arab Emirates, they were used to being surrounded by other people of colour. But at UBC, being the only Black person in most spaces on campus felt isolating and made it challenging to find belonging.

Although many Black students report often being the only Black person in UBC spaces, it is impossible to say what per cent of UBC students identify as Black. UBC has historically not collected race-based student enrollment data, although the UBC Student Demographic Data Project aims to change that. There is, however, race-demographic data that shows Vancouver has a very small percentage of Black residents compared to other major cities in Canada. Black people make up about 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but that number drops to 1.6 per cent in the Greater Vancouver area.

As Sutherland settled into their first year, they began to find that a disproportionate number of conversations were centred around their appearance.

“It feels really weird when it’s just comments on your physical appearance,” they said. “And very rarely are you having any other conversation with people about any other aspects of you, except for the parts of you that make you Black.”


By the time they were in their second year, Sutherland had sought out all possible opportunities to connect with other Black students. They had joined the African Awareness Initiative (AAI), a club founded in 2002 which was instrumental in a number of initiatives to advance dis -

course regarding Africa on campus. One of those advancements was the creation of the African Studies Minor, which Sutherland had declared. They also joined the Caribbean African Association (CAA) in their first year, but the club fizzled out as the year went on.

Sutherland was starting to make friends with other Black students, many of them international themselves, and found they were feeling alienated too. They all shared stories about how hard it was to find other Black students at UBC.

“We were finding it very hard to make friends and connect, … feel a sense of home, … a sense of belonging,” they said. It became clear that for Sutherland and their friends, neither the CAA nor the AAI were expansive enough to incorporate all of their diverse identities. What they did have in common was their Blackness.

So, Sutherland, together with other founding members – Gavin Gordon, Alexandria Rodriques and Haydn Reid – came to the decision to create a Black Student Union. A BSU would enable them to build a community where every Black student, irrespective of their ancestry, could feel represented and accounted for. “That was the initial thing that created the BSU … a need to just be in community with other Black people,” said Sutherland.

From the beginning, the BSU has honoured the reality that Black students are not a monolith.


Thinking back to those days, Sutherland is sure there must have been things they feared, but above all, they remember being intoxicated with the possibility of bringing Black students together in the face of overwhelming community fragmentation. Ideas about what the club was and could be were flying around constantly among those involved. The BSU was a radical idea.

The AMS’ Operations Committee Policy Manual states that clubs must demonstrate that they will not have the effect of promoting discrimination based on race or ethnic origin. In other words, no AMS club can be exclusionary. So the founding members needed to establish a justification for a club that was specifically based on race. Clubs like the CAA and the AAI did not face this issue as they were based on nationality, not race.

The BSU founders were not able to use race-based enrolment data to support their justification as it does not exist. They additionally needed to demonstrate the likelihood of future membership and financial stability, just like any new AMS club — something that demographic data would have been helpful for.

“We had to do all of that resourcing ourselves,” Sutherland recalled.

Reid, who would become the club’s first treasurer, was adept at navigating the administrative requirements

words by RHEA BEAUCHESNE illustration by ANYA ANBER AMEEN

for constituting a new AMS club. Rodriques, who would become the first VP of media and marketing for the BSU, was exceptionally effective in getting the word out about the club. Sutherland and Gordon, who became the first co-presidents, worked out how to explain that a club based on Black identity was inclusionary, not exclusionary. The group also took advantage of connections they had within the AMS, like Will Shelling — then-associate vice-president exeternal affairs — and then-AMS President Chris Hakim.

The founders had also been granted permission to co-opt the former CAA’s social media account for use by the BSU, which was vital in getting the word out to more students. Members of the AAI also supported where they could. It was a community effort.

“The BSU wouldn’t have existed without the CAA and the AAI,” Sutherland said.


About 75 Black students gathered in the Michael Kingsmill Forum in the Nest on the evening of November 13, 2018. Nobody in that room could remember seeing that many Black students gathered in one room at UBC. The energy in the forum was dazzling. There were more people in attendance than there were seats to hold them.

The students had assembled for the BSU’s Inaugural General Meeting, where they would vote on the club constitution, bylaws and the first co-presidents and treasurer. It was Sutherland’s third year, and they, along with the rest of the founding team, were seeing the culmination of their hard work. “The vibes were so open and so freeing and compassionate because everyone was so excited to see another Black person,” Sutherland said.

Shelling was one of the attendees. He remembers the “unbridled joy” of that night. “[We were] trying to run a meeting, but also laughing and enjoying ourselves along the way,” he said.

The BSU would meet again two weeks later to vote on four vice-president positions and the first year and graduate representatives.

Maia Wallace, then an eager and motivated first-year student, had recently heard about the new club from Sydney Henry, an older student involved in founding the club. She decided to attend

the elections meeting, even though she wasn’t quite sure what the purpose of the BSU was.

When she walked into the elections meeting, Wallace instantly realized that she had never been around so many Black people at UBC before. Her initial uncertainty disappeared in an instant. She immediately knew the BSU was something she needed to be a part of.

“I’m big on intuition, and I just had that gut feeling,” she said to The Ubyssey

Right then, she decided to run for the first year representative positions. She made up her election speech on the spot, starting with the statement, “The definition of racism is that it’s a social construct, but the consequences are real.” Wallace recalled that you could hear a pin drop in the room while she spoke. Wallace was elected.

In the months following those first two meetings, the club’s new executive team focused on strengthening the inclusive and expansive community. “Our focus really was on building community,” Sutherland recalled. “It’s hard to do much else if you don’t have a community to back you.”

Wallace was instrumental in gathering younger students to join the club. She made a group chat with 50 first-years and planned events for them every month (using her parent’s credit card).

The BSU received the AMS ‘Best New Club’ award at the All Presidents’ Dinner.


While the 2018/19 academic year ended with an award, the 2019/20 year ended in a pandemic. It was May 2020, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic was sinking in, and then the world was rocked by the murder of George Floyd. Wallace had recently been elected as BSU co-president, alongside Tracy Odhiambo, for the 2020/21 academic year.

Wallace and Odhiambo found themselves thrust into a position of power on the institutional stage. They were constantly being asked to assume the role of anti-racism consultants for UBC. People were finally listening to Black voices. “That’s when we were immortalized as a club,” Wallace said.

The club wasn’t supposed to be an anti-racism organization; they were supposed to be a group of students who gathered for the sake of gathering.

“It was like the world was falling on us, and [we where] catching the parts that we could hold with our hands,” Wallace recalls. “And rebuilding.”


Aisha Ismail started at UBC in the fall of 2020. The BSU had transitioned entirely online, and efforts turned to combatting community fragmentation.

They shifted recruitment to take advantage of the new reality that incoming students were primarily meeting peers online.

The BSU’s online presence enabled Ismail to meet other Black students. There were group chats among first years and speed dating-style Zoom gatherings, but it was difficult to make meaningful connections with the physical separation.

“Obviously, you still had the Zoom awkwardness,” Ismail recalls, “but you knew that everyone there … wanted to be a part of the community.”

During the 2021/22 school year, with COVID-19 precautions fluctuating, the BSU continued to have primarily online meetings. Ismail was elected as VP internal.

“We were still picking up the pieces of what COVID[-19] did,” Ismail said.


When Sutherland happened upon the BSU booth at Imagine Day, they were transported back to the feelings of excitement and pride from when this all started. “Through all of it we have still persisted … we are still resilient and building and maintaining community,” Sutherland said. “That’s really the part that … feeds your soul.”

Since the fall of 2022, the BSU is finally back to full-time in-person operations. Awareness of the club is rising again, thanks to the new Black Student Orientation and the opportunity to connect with students in person at events like Imagine Day.

Currently, the executive team’s efforts are divided between organizing events and advocating for sustainable support for Black students on campus. In everything they do, they continue to have the same overarching goal that the BSU’s founders set out with: bringing together Black students at UBC.

The current exective team reconizes they may not get accomplishe all their goals by the time their tenure ends, but they’re focused on laying a strong foundation for future teams to build upon.

After four and a half years, the BSU has never forgotten its founding promise.

“That pulse continues whether we’re in that kinship together, or whether we’re outside of it,” Wallace said, reflecting on where the BSU is today. “[The community] exists, and it lives and breathes. And it becomes this self-living, self-breathing machine.” U


Editors’ note B1%CK

In celebration of Black History Month, the Black Student Union collaborated with The Ubyssey to create a Black History Month supplement. This year’s theme is B 1%CK . As Black young adults at UBC, in Vancouver and even in Canada, we make up a very small percentage (aka one per cent) of the population. Being a minority comes with various experiences and feelings that most people cannot understand. Navigating an institution — let alone a country — where you are unequally represented can be challenging and lonely as we tackle imposter syndrome, social racialization, explicit and implicit biases, and stereotyping both in and out of the classroom. These nuanced experiences shape who we are and aid in the creation of the Black community at UBC. The foundation of our community is built upon working to advocate for our voices, being unapologetically ourselves, taking pride in our culture, valuing our intersectionalities, and being led and surrounded by strong individuals who exemplify Black excellence and resilience. This supplement will give you the opportunity to share a glimpse of our values and experiences as well as display how we uniquely navigate our university experience at UBC.

Olamide Olabiyi and Aicha Diaby BSU Co-Presidents Photos by Mahin E Alam Design by Isabella Falsetti Models Aicha Diaby Aisha Ismail Mary Jim-Akaya Harmela Kassa
B1%CK • 09
Olamide Olabiyi Moyowa Ometoruwa

Not just a club

Before coming to UBC, constantly being surrounded by a group of people who looked like me was pure imagination. Yes, I would get a taste for a couple of months when I went to the Ivory Coast for the summer, but in my daily life, it was far from reality.

As a matter of fact, creating that community wasn’t even an option. There were not enough Black students at any school I ever attended in Canada or in Europe to form a Black Student Union, and to be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind because it was such a far-fetched idea. I would watch videos of Black friend groups who went to historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) and just assumed I would never experience that kind of joy.

Subconsciously, I just accepted that fate. Then came 2020… and it hit. It hit that no one

I see you

I will pass on the words that UBC’s VP Students Ainsley Carry said to me in my first year: “I see you.” He may not have truly grasped the impact those three words had on me. On a campus where it is so easy to feel invisible, small, forgotten or even unwanted, hearing those words meant a lot.

Happy Black History Month! Although this time of year is dedicated to remembering the amazing accomplishments and the fight that we continue to this day in the Black community to simply have a seat at the table, I wanted to take this time to acknowledge the history in the making right here on this campus. This is for you. Yes! You! I want to congratulate you for coming this far. You may not realize it, but it is no small feat. I just wanted to let you know that I SEE YOU!

To you who has ever felt inadequate or has second-guessed your place, you are supposed to be here. You are more than enough. You are here because you have the qualifications and you have what it takes. I know that it may not always feel that way, but I am here to verify, solidify and reemphasize that you are supposed to be here. And don’t you forget it because I SEE YOU.

To you who has been silenced or told to be a little… well, less — never again. Refuse to be silenced. Speak your truth. Your voice is valid and important. Take up as much space as you can and then some. Refuse to be shrunk to anything less than who you truly are. Live sincerely and unapologetically as you. I know it may be a little intimidating but they are already watching, you may as well give them a show because THEY SEE YOU.

To you who have ever felt belittled or scared, I want you to know that you are supported by every brother, sister and other. We stand behind you. So, hold your head up high as we stand in ovation in the presence of the excellence that is you, because WE SEE YOU. U

in my circle could truly understand what it was like. It hit when I felt like maybe a grand total of 11 people in my entire school would know that these tragedies regularly occur. And it really hit when I started thinking about everything else that 99.99 per cent of people around me didn’t feel, understand or live.

And then came my first year after what was a rather traumatic summer. In the midst of the pandemic and seeing videos of someone’s Black brother and father being murdered I just thought well… here we go again.

I re-downloaded Instagram and saw that a page named @ubcbsu (the UBC Black Student Union’s (BSU) Instagram account) had followed me. I clicked and immediately started STALKING it — I felt happiness radiating through my screen and absolutely refused to let my university experience go by without

being a part of this community.

From going to every Zoom event to becoming a part of the executive team, my experience at UBC would be so different (and tasteless) without being a part of the BSU. The BSU has given me, like many others, the opportunity to make some of my closest friends, fondest memories and, most importantly, to feel understood.

It’s not just a club — it’s a little family. We may only be one per cent of the student population at UBC, but that small number makes me grateful for each Black person that I encounter and creates an instant connection that is irreplaceable and has gotten me through university.

To me, the BSU has given me a fresh start, endless joy and a home away from home that I will cherish forever. U

10 • B1%CK

Being Black in a UBC classroom

Before coming to UBC, I went to a high school in Victoria with a Black population of about five people. This included my brother and I. Ever since moving to Canada, I have become used to being the only Black student in my classroom. It is never something that you can get used to. Every time I would walk into a classroom, a little part of me would always hope that a Black person would magically appear… but this has never happened. A Black teacher? That’s another story. I have never gotten used to the stares when the topic of Africa or Black Lives Matter is brought up. I am always the spokesperson for an entire community that consists of people from all over the world. I believe the effects of this can either make someone in my position incredibly vocal about injustices or force them to assimilate. In high school, I assimilated. I would awkwardly smile at the jokes and stay silent even when they were racist. In university, I have learned to stop people from continuing to believe in the indoctrinated idea that Black people are a monolith. I don’t speak for any other person other than myself and that is always going to be the truth of being Black in a classroom. U

It’s time to create a Black student space on campus

A Black student space is a physical, safe space that aids in fostering a stronger and more authentic community for Black students. Being a part of a minority comes with challenges, ranging from exclusion to implicit (and sometimes explicit) biases. It also comes with discrimination, internal battles with cultural conformity and a lot more.

However, being a part of a minority at UBC also provides Black students with an opportunity to create a tight-knit commu-

nity of individuals with shared experiences — emphasizing the need for a Black student space where this can occur along with furthering the representation, education and empowerment of UBC’s Black community.

Other universities like McGill University, McMaster University and Simon Fraser University have these spaces, and while they are all unique in terms of who runs and manages the space, how access to the space works and the location relative to the centre of campus, they each share the

goal of working to create a safe space and community for Black students.

The need for a Black space at UBC is also present as demonstrated through the Black Student Union’s Weekly Kickbacks which present Black students with a consistent time and place to meet one another. This enables us to work to create and nurture a positive environment where we can support students as they navigate their degrees while being a racial minority at university. It’s time to make it permanent! U

B1%CK • 11

This poem contains mention of police brutality.

You tell me,

“There’s only one race, the human race.” And it’s a beautiful sentiment, truly But it holds no bearing in my life Maybe yours, but not mine. This is because in every aspect of my life, My colour comes before my humanity. Because in any case, the common blood That runs through our veins

Did nothing to stop that little Black boy from being lynched Or that police officer from pulling the trigger.

For you,

It is your passions, character, hobbies, likes and dislikes and friends All encompassed in the simple fact that you’re human That others see first. But for me

My passion, character, hobbies, likes and dislikes and friends Are not immune to the influence that my colour holds

Over my humanness. Could I be friends with her?

How does she feel about Black people?

Am I allowed to enjoy doing this or will I be perpetuating a stereotype?

I like him but would he like my skin?

For me

Humanity is only secondary. Your humanity comes first You’re the default, the normal.

You don’t stop to wonder if the interviewer was raised in a racist household

If they looked at your name on your resume and braced themselves for an encounter with the ghetto You don’t Google whether that beautiful country you plan on visiting likes Black people

You simply Live.

You don’t think about your colour because it never occurred to you to Not even subconsciously. But for me

I consciously remember every single day that I am Black, every single day. What if my name was too long for the judges to bother reading? Is it safe to visit Switzerland as a Black person? When I walk into this party

Will I be the only person there that looks like me? When I walked into this party you said, in your head, “Oh, she’s Black”

Though you will soon try to tell me that you noticed no such thing

But I don’t blame you, for when I walked into this party I too said in my head

“Oh, I’m Black.”

You, you’re just... Human.

Me, I’m not human.

I’m a Black human.

We’re not humans

We’re African humans

We’re dark humans

Brown humans

We’re not humans

We’re colours

And like any colour, your eyes are drawn to us

As if we’re spectacles that drape the sky for your own entertainment. But don’t quite interest you enough to learn why.

So when you tell me that we should all get along because we’re all one race


Moyowa Ometoruwa
12 • B1%CK


The human race

I know that for you such idealism is possible

But for me

I do not have that luxury.

When my brother and I were young

He and my father had the talk. Not about the birds and the bees

But about the intricacies

Of living life as a Black man.

“Don’t wear your durag in public it makes you look like a thug Keep your distance from the white women

And always, always Always

Make sure your hands are where they can see them

Because you are guilty until proven innocent

And better men are in prison today for lesser crimes because of the way the sun

Reflected off of their melanin.”

My father said to him, “Follow these rules And hopefully, you’ll make it out alive.”

You see, for you

You send your brother outside and don’t know to feel relief when he returns home But for me

I pray that he won’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong Skin colour.

Because for him, his colour comes first

My colour comes first

And we navigate this society as hues

That happen to lie on the darker end of the spectrum

So as I scan the room for another dark or braided head

Just know that I can feel your eyes on my skin. Maybe you’ll look away soon

So that you can convince yourself that we’re exactly the same

And you will smile to yourself and Commend yourself for being Oh So


You will approach me when my search for familiarity ends.

Fruitless, as it often is

And you will tell me that

We’re all the same race, the human race

And I will know that you are lying because if what you say is true

Then this life I’ve lived has been for nothing.

But I am more than a colour

A blot on the paint pallet

A statistic on the charts

The token Black girl

I am a human, same as you

And like a wise man once said

I will clamber through the clouds and exist

Because I exist

And because I am human

And I want you to see it

And my humanity, first

Not second but first, Just like yours

I insist upon my existence. I insist upon my humanity. Because there is only one race, The human race.

And I’d hate to think that there’s anything more important Than that. U

B1%CK • 13

The Okoli Method: A response to Baguette and the colonizer’s ghetto cousins

This article contains mentions of sexual assault and suicide.

“I can’t root for someone just because they’re Black and Queer…” — a sentence I thought I’d never hear in BC. After seeing a white woman unleash her inner Captain America to save a Pomeranian from being coyote food and witnessing an Asian Canadian college kid twerk to Cardi B at a volleyball game, I thought, “The BC brats are all right.”

Now, if only Black people didn’t get stared at like extras from Get Out , we’d actually get somewhere. We always have to deal with microaggressions from Euro-Canadians, or as I like to call them, “the colonizer’s ghetto cousins.” Alas, God decided he needed a laugh so he put me in a class with a woman with more caucasity than Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau and Candace Owens combined. Let’s call her Baguette. I deem this nickname fitting because she has more passion for French bread than the Black Lives Matter movement.

Baguette almost drove me to suicide last year but, I decided to take a nap and seek therapy. I had already been seeking help before, but I realized that I needed to take my healing journey to the next level because I refuse to lose to someone who wears hiking shoes all year long.

After deep thought and a lot of marijuana, I came up with the Okoli Method, a mixture of meditation, Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) and Critical Race Theory (CRT). With the Okoli Method, I’ve been able to see real progress. I’m more open in class and I’m on top of homework. I just pray that this method will give me the psychological strength to deal with the Karens of the world — one of the many reasons I left Alberta.

To all my BIPOC folks, I hope you can use some of these methods to make peace with your own demons as you fight the ignorance of racism. I’ve left some exercises you can try out as you start your healing journey.


I can already hear a Calgarian African auntie in my head as I write this. “Are you a witch?!” Auntie Funke says as she pats her bootleg Halle Berry wig.

African Canadians, I know an Auntie Funke lives in your head too. For Caribbean Canadians, it’s Ms. Chantel telling you to stay away from Obeah. Whoever it is, tell them to shut up. This is your life and Casper the Friendly Ghost isn’t going to possess you just because you decided to get some peace of mind.

Meditation gives you the grace to sit in stillness as your intrusive thoughts pass by. You learn to ground yourself in the present and not get lost in your head. I know being the only Black person or one of the few Black people in your class can be very stressful. Especially if you keep it real, you feel what I’m sayin’?

I swear, with every real one, there’s a Baguette lurking in the shadows ready to tap into the ways of their ancestors. So take this meditation time to blow off steam. Make it a part of your routine. Here’s a link to a free guided meditation: www.headspace.com/meditation/meditation-for-beginners


There are mini people that live inside you, and I’m not talking about the voice of your nagging mother telling you to do your laundry every Saturday. I mean sub-personalities or Parts; pieces of your psyche that play different roles in your life. In Self-Therapy, psychologist Jay Earley said parts are “metaphors of the psyche” that you can’t get rid of but only suppress. You should know that these “clumsy and primitive” feelings will bubble up to the surface in other ways.

There are two types of extreme Parts: exiles and protectors. Exiles are our inner children who are in pain from the past and protectors are the parts that protect you from current pain that may be due to childhood trauma. I’ll use myself as an example.

I’ve dealt with a lot of anti-Blackness growing up. I’ve heard everything from n**ger, n**ga, Aunt Jemima and monkey to being mocked with the imitation of a gorilla! And all that was just from people of colour (good ol’ BIPOC allyship). It didn’t help that I was sexually assaulted multiple times when I was younger (no punchline for that sadly), so I’ve been hyper-sensitive for a while. So when Baguette was so disgusted by my presence during our creative writing workshop to the point that she refused to look at me, I was triggered. She and none of my classmates really liked

the concept of an African God coming to seek revenge on the Americas. For more context, it was supposed to be a satirical comedy (I hope that soothed some racial fragility complexes).

Anyway, these Parts need the guidance of The Self.

“The Self is connected to the deeper ground of being that spiritual teachings speak of, sometimes called God,” wrote Earley in Self-Therapy. “It has access to a higher understanding that can guide you in dealing with the larger questions of life. It allows you to be fully present and embodied in each moment, with aliveness and depth. It is an inexhaustible fountain of love.”

As you discover who your Parts are with “curiosity and compassion” you will form an internal family within you.


Grab your journal or device (I already know what the iPad babes are using) and try to answer these questions about your exile:

1. What emotions does it feel?

2. What pain does it carry?

3. What is it afraid of?

4. What negative beliefs does it have?

5. What situation or relationship is it stuck in since childhood?

6. What current situations seem to trigger it?

7. What protectors come up when that happens?

It’s fine if you don’t have answers to all these questions yet.


I know the Karens will be calling their confidants if you hit them with this stuff, but I’m going to give you the real. As early as 1970, all the progress of the Civil Rights Movement had basically been rolled back by colonial masters. As a result, lawyers, activists and legal scholars started to create theories and strategies to combat the subtler forms of racism that plague us in the current day. Think about the school-to-prison pipeline or how Canadians still act like slavery didn’t happen.

Also, guess what? Microaggressions are acts of racism! They are ‘simple’ daily situations of the conscious and subconscious. Additionally, they are built into every institution as well as being personal, private and corrupt.

There are two types of CRT thinkers: idealists and realists. Idealists believe that racism and discrimination are mainly a mentality. They say race is a social construct and not a biological reality. They believe that we can dismantle it with a change in belief systems (images, words, attitudes, unconscious feelings, scripts and social teachings) that certain people are less smart, dependable, hardworking, honest and North American than others.

To realists or economic determinists, racism is a means by which society allocates privilege and status. Racial hierarchies determine who gets tangible privilege (the best jobs, the best schools and invitations to parties in people’s homes). Realists believe anti-Black prejudice sprang up with slavery and the capitalists’ desire for labour. Europeans used to have a positive perspective of Africans for their mathematics, medicine and astronomy. Conquering nations universally demonize their subjects to feel better about exploiting them. Circumstances change so that one group finds it possible to seize advantage or exploit another. They do so and then form appropriate collective attitudes to rationalize what has happened.

Now, I know everyone from the Britneys to the Todds and even the Bobatundes (at least the conservative ones) want to know, ‘How will left wing propaganda help me?’ Well, simply put, it will wake you the fuck up! World powers have been using everything from race, religion, sport teams and male podcasts (down with Andrew Tate, God help us) to hold the human race back. But activists have been working diligently in the spirit of Martin Luther King’s legacy to dismantle our racist institutions and build something new instead of gaslighting BIPOC.

Well, I hope you’ve learned something or at least had a laugh. I know I smiled while writing this. And, to the Baguettes of the world, I hope you heal from your racist ways. This is Canada! If you want to be racist, then time travel to the past with the rest of your ghetto cousins so we can move forward. Just kidding! But, I’m really not. Happy healing! U

14 • B1%CK

Letter: UBC has a ways to go before eliminating rape culture. You can help.

roots work that we even have the vocabulary to define and fight back sexual violence. Unlike the solutions of the state, which focus on institutionalization and criminalization, feminists inspired a grassroots plea to find inclusive and holistic strategies. This included building a movement that was not only explicitly feminist, but also anti-racist, anti-colonial and Trans-inclusive.

Our culture must change, and since language and everyday interactions perpetuate rape culture, we must all change as well. I believe we have a collective responsibility to destabilize rape culture and dismantle the oppressive notions that sexual violence is expected or inevitable.

The only way to stop sexual violence and make people feel safe on campus is to make it unacceptable in our community.

Call out harmful jokes and oppressive comments. Support and listen to women and non-binary people in your communities. Educate yourself on consent and encourage your peers to do the same. Don’t support institutions that are notorious for perpetuating

Reach out to the abundance of services on campus, like SVPRO or the student-funded AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC), for workshops, canvas modules and literature.

Finally, and most importantly, overtly and explicitly believe survivors and condemn victim-blaming.

By destabilizing rape culture at UBC, we start to work toward a better society. We must address the violence of the state within our conversations about sexual and gender-based violence. This includes dismantling institutionalized violence of local forms of authority which push people — especially people of colour, Trans people and disabled people— into the violence of homelessness, addiction and prison.

This article contains mention of sexual assault and gender-based violence.

When I started studying at UBC in September 2019, I was disgusted by the systemic rape culture present on campus. During Jump Start, instead of learning about consent, safe sex or harm reduction, fraternity parties that reinforce rape culture and misogyny were pushed (or, more fittingly, plugged) by AMS and UBC party organizations onto barely-legal teens.

“You should go, it’ll be fun,” I recall an older student suggesting to me. “Just know you might get groped.”

This message projects an idea that the bodies of women and non-binary students are inevitably going to be objectified, commodified and subjected to violence.

My experiences of rape culture at UBC are not uncommon.

This violence has been normalized by UBC for decades. It seems that nearly every year, recurring instances of sexual assault and harrasment emerge from our university — especially in the athletic and fraternity communities (which often overlap) — shown by the 2021 sexual assault charges against Tremont Levy, Trivel Pinto and Ben Cummings, three former UBC football players. These charges were stayed as of January 25.

Moreover, I was disgusted to learn about the ignorance and idleness of my own department, the history department, in their mishandling of PhD student Dmitry Mordvinov’s alleged string of assaults in the early 2010s.

However, instances of rape culture and campus gender-based violence aren’t always private: such as the disturbing Sauder ‘rape chants’ of 2013, to the

placement of a male sign atop the Engineering Cairn the day before the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre Memorial in 2016. These public displays of misogyny normalize and validate violence against women and non-binary people, viscerally reminding all of campus who is welcome and who is not.

Everyone deserves to feel safe and sovereign in their bodies, regardless of how they dress or where they go. Normalizing sexualized violence and seeing nonconsensual sexual advances as inevitable and ordinary exacerbates rape culture at UBC.

The anger I experienced as a first year witnessing this immense disregard for bodily autonomy and self-determination was reinforced when we were isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic in my second semester.

As domestic and sexual violence rates climbed across the country and the world, I resolved to find a community on campus where I could put this anger into action on campus. That is how I found the peer program at UBC’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO), a campus resource centre dedicated to combatting sexual violence and supporting survivors.

Here, I was able to educate myself on the intersections of sexual violence, rape culture and other systems of oppression in our society like racism, sexism and capitalism. By reading the incredible works of feminist, critical race and Queer theorists, such as bell hooks, Angela Davis and Audre Lorde, I have come to understand the personal as political. While narratives at neoliberal institutions like UBC encourage us to see sexual violence as an individual issue — one that can be solved through lifestyle changes like carrying pepper spray, drink-checking nail polish and

whistles — feminism teaches us to contextualize social issues by understanding them as part of larger social system.

The history of recorded North American anti-violence work started with the fights of the feminist activists in the 1970s and 1980s against systemic misogyny and normalized rape culture. Against a backdrop of increasing cutbacks to social services as well as a rising anti-feminist rhetoric, activists and workers collaborated to start shelters, transition houses and rape crisis centres across Canada.

It is only through this grass-

rape culture and sexual violence. Better yet, if you are a member of one of these communities (such as so-called ‘Greek Life’), work to combat the toxic notions of patriarchy, heteronormativity and elitism within your institution that perpetuate sexual violence.

UBC already has an abundance of resources for sexual violence education, prevention and response. SVPRO and the SASC are already doing crucial work to address harm and build a culture of consent on our campus. But they cannot do it alone — it is a responsibility of everyone in our community to step up and say no to rape culture. We can build a better world where everyone holds the birth right of bodily autonomy.

It is not an easy task, but building an accountable, respectful and inclusive community at UBC is a place to start. U

Thea Baines is a fourth-year honours history with international relations student and SVPRO volunteer.

This is an opinion letter. It does not reflect the opinions of The Ubyssey as a whole. You can submit an opinion at ubyssey.ca/pages/submit-an-opinion

The SVPRO office is on the fourth floor of Orchard Commons Residence. IMAN JANMOHAMED / THE UBYSSEY The SASC office is on the second floor of the Nest. ZUBAIR HIRJI / THE UBYSSEY
“Everyone deserves to feel safe and sovereign in their bodies.”

The Dingbat: How to assert dominance in the gym

of the spout — a dixie cup would crumple in your huge, powerful hands. If you spill on your head by accident, it’ll just look like you’re literally dripping with sweat from your intense boundary-pushing workout.

This shows, a.) that your commitment to hydration knows no bounds, and b.) that you can hold a two-gallon jug of water over your head. Impressive gains, bro!


Don’t subtly drink your creatine before your workout from your Hydroflask — you need to show up to flex, and we’re not just talking about your biceps.

the treadmill, leave a little note that says ‘[YOUR NAME] WUZ HERE,’ to let everyone know how committed you are.

Alternative notes include ‘I’M WATCHING YOU’ on the benches (spotting each other is important)! Or discourage others from using your favourite bench press machine through tactical gaslighting, or gas-lifting: “BROKEN: DO NOT USE :(” or even “HAUNTED!! STAY AWAY.”


The Dingbat: The removal of “Waiting Room” from music platforms is not for the better

It’s January 8. You’re going to the ARC for the first time because your new year’s resolution was to actually bulk instead of just saying ‘it’s bulking season’ every time you eat.

Unfortunately, everyone else seems to have had the same idea, and the only gains you got from the hourlong line were an exercise in patience. How do you show that you’re not like the other new year newbies while simultaneously outclassing the 6 a.m. rise and grind crowd?

You need to show that you’re more resolute about your new year’s

resolutions than any other new year’s resolver. Unlike their new athletic habits, yours are actually going to stick — even if you have to exercise these strategic intimidation techniques to weed out the weak, so you can actually get a spot on the squat rack.


While all the normies use the water fountains to fill their one-litre Stanley cups, you need to saunter in with a full two-gallon water cooler. Don’t bother with the cup-filling thing at the bottom, just lift it over your head and drink out

Stay so stocked up on the ‘tine that you leave a little trail of powder behind you wherever you go, like an artificially-jacked snail with a six-pack.

Why stop there? Grunt loudly to get the attention of the room, then cut yourself a line with your student card and — sniff!— engage those sinus muscles.


You should be wiping off exercise equipment after you use it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t leave a mark. Once you’re done using

The Ubyssey’s 2023 ins and outs

Soul Cycle addicts may tell you that spinning changed their life, but how does a bike even work if it’s not moving? Show that you understand mechanical engineering (or kinesiology? It doesn’t matter — you’re in IR) better by bringing in a real bike to train on.

There’s just enough space in between the treadmills for you to bike laps around the room, but make sure you have a little bell to tell people to get out of your way.

We hope these tips help you on your gains journey — we’d give you more suggestions, but the two of us are hard at work trying to find a ghost to start haunting the rowing machines. U

The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. Send pitches and completed pieces to blog@ubyssey.ca

It was the evening of January 24. An ordinary Tuesday. Or so I thought.

A TikTok crossed my feed about something I never believed to be possible. It was a screen recording of someone trying to play the sad indie folk classic “Waiting Room” by the queen of sad girls herself, Phoebe Bridgers.

When the person tapped on the song, the word “unavailable” flashed across the screen.

• Santa Ono (RIP)

• Deborah Buszard’s shoes

• EVO drivers

• Sandals

• Alligators

• The spider living in my bathroom (it is dead)

• A single centimetre of snow

• Artificial intelligence

• Elon Musk

• Loud roommates

• The SRC North construction

• Waiting in the Tim Horton’s line

• Sneezing in your lecture so loudly that brain comes out of your nose

• Saying something in class when nobody asked

• YouTube, BeReal, Instagram, Snapchat

• Underwire bras

Ubyssey Blog Staff

A month into 2023 and it feels like it has been a year already!

To celebrate the upcoming year of laugh and love, and mourn the past year of whatever the opposite of laugh and love is, Ubyssey blog put together a list of our ins and outs for the year.


• Travel-sized Twister

• Adding 30 minutes to your commute to avoid taking the 33

• Spending all day trying to complete a children’s puzzle

• Voting (always)

• Having your full license

• Bagged salads

• Dry shampoo

• Being just like other girls

• Giving your friends alliterative nicknames (like Rizzler Russo, Bad News Bawaan, Jazzy Janmohamed, etc.)

• Vitamin C and other supplements

• Buying a $7 latte because you deserve it

• Having nine Twitter followers

• Sudoku

• Baby food like smoothies and applesauce pouches

• Acquiring a SAD lamp

• Sunscreen

• Bluey the cartoon dog

• Florence Pugh

• Arts students in computer science

• Giving yourself an impulsive haircut during finals

• Celebrity bear (Grylls) encounters

• Bits

• Praxis

• Using buzzwords incorrectly

• Guy who thinks his foot is a dog

• Adopting a raccoon because cats are expensive (Hi Rocco!)

• Humming to yourself for serotonin

• Earmuffs

• Being a hater

• Dylan Mulvaney

• Debating if the dress is blue and black or white and gold


• Eras

• Finishing your round of antibiotics to not develop bacterial resistance or whatever

• Calling Blue Chip “Blue Chip Cookie Store”

• Wordle

• [Your major]

• Using Bing on Chrome on your Mac

• Eyebrows?

• The glare blue light glasses have when you take a photo

• Wearing contact lenses to your dodgeball game

• Tax evasion (sorry, Shakira)

• Not eating breakfast U

Charlotte Alden, Simon Auclair-Troughton, Jocelyn Baker, Nathan Bawaan, Selin Berktas, Aisha Chaudhry, Amanda Dekker, Kyla Flynn, Tova Gaster, Paloma Green, Spencer Izen, Iman Janmohamed, Anabella McElroy, Jessica Norn, Harry Sadleir and Sofia Wind contributed to this piece.

After attempting to digest this information and already preparing to dismiss it as a cruel joke, I rushed to my own Spotify app to do the same.

I opened one of my playlists — it didn’t matter which one because they all contain this song — only to have my worst fears realized.

Song unavailable

The only option presented to me was to hit the green button with the words “Got it,” thereby conceding to the new status quo.

I even considered the unthinkable and opened Apple Music to see if a subscription to this lesser platform could quell my longing.

But alas, it was nowhere to be found.

How ever shall I start and end my days now? How am I to carry on without this broken love song to feed my misery?

The next day I did the only thing there was left for me to do: go straight to YouTube and convert multiple versions of “Waiting Room” to .mp3 files for my offline enjoyment.

This should hold me over. For now.

I do hope that one day, the best track in Phoebe Bridgers’ discography will return to Spotify and other streaming platforms, but I fear it won’t be anytime soon.

So I’ll continue to wish all that I want. But know this: It’s not for the better. U

The Dingbat is The Ubyssey ’s humour section. Send pitches and completed pieces to blog@ ubyssey.ca

We’re the authority on ins and outs. IMAN JANMOHAMED / THE UBYSSEY

The Dingbat: What’s your deal, man?

Last Tuesday, The Ubyssey obtained reports which showed that you’ve been totally weird recently, man.

Eyewitness accounts state that your vibe has totally shifted the last few weeks and that you’re kind of freaking everybody out.

The Ubyssey spoke with your friends, Daniel Pasternak and Ricky Kajibbles, on the matter.

“He’s just totally distant now, all he does is watch daytime television and go down to the track to bet on the ponies,” said Kajibbles, a biochemistry and rock physiotherapy student. “Last week I walked in on him wearing reading glasses attached to a sparkly chain around his neck.”

“Yeah,” said Pasternak, a recent graduate with a major in trombone performance and a minor in being terrible at interviews, apparently.

When you were last seen in public, people at Stacy McIntyre’s party were quote, “Like, completely freaked out,” unquote, and saying that you were “totally harshing the vibe.”

“He was just being so weird,” said McIntyre. “We were talking about him all night and about how he was wearing a beret and like, war medals? I think he had like a Purple Heart or something?”

Your vibe has totally shifted the last few weeks.

referencing a type of war medal that you can only get from being injured in combat, and last I checked, dude, you’re like 22, so what’s your deal?

Disturbing accounts have surfaced that you also recently began dating 67-year-old Gladys


Smith, a retired widow living in Kerrisdale.

“He just came into my life when I needed him most,” said Smith, who was acquitted of witchcraft charges in the 1970s. “He reminds me so much of my late husband, Stan.”

Opinion polls run by The Ubyssey on the subject have shown that of 300 readers, 70 per cent responded, “Yuck!” 24 per cent responded, “What? Who is that?” and 6 per cent were of the opinion that you’re totally possessed by that lady’s dead husband, dude.

The Dingbat: Dirtbag dating advice


You can easily maintain seven competing personalities, each chopping off one personality trait you’re insecure about until somebody loves you.

This means you can have seven times as many accounts on each of the aforementioned dating apps.

Examples: seven-foot cat mom, unrepentant hater, knobby-kneed archivist, entry-level philanthropist, dirty hippie, clean hippie, the Benjamin Franklin (wavy hair, big tummy, flies kites), farmer, hot mean dumb guy and war criminal.


When your date asks why there are unmarked police vans following you everywhere and why you have nine different passports, ghost ‘em!

They’re not respecting your boundaries. Your life is nobody’s business but your own.


This is a developing story and will be updated as The Ubyssey investigates the cost of a seance and/or exorcism. U

The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. Send pitches and completed pieces to blog@ubyssey.ca


So you’ve had a string of torturous and unsustainable relationships, each ending in disaster. Each of these people have gone on to fulfilling, committed relationships directly after the time they spent with you. Do you think that means anything? That’s right, it was always their fault, not yours! The fact that you can’t think of anything you did wrong is a good sign, actually, and not delusion. The less you think about your actions, the more likely it will actually be that someone comes along and fixes you! Bonne chance!


I was required by my editor to put this one in, but we all know this is a waste of time.


You can get validation from the grind, even when you don’t have anyone grinding on you.

Newly single? Long-term single? Not sure how to adapt to the fast-paced world of internet speed dating? Afraid of failure? Afraid of success?

Well here are The Dingbat Dirtbag’s sure-fire tips to change things — even if it’s not for the better.


You can get all the validation and affection you need from the grind, even when you don’t have anyone grinding on you.

And love your job — unrequited love is the most romantic type, if the poets are to be believed (though they aren’t people to take career advice from).


Don’t take this time to learn a skill or maintain your friendships or start to finally feel good about yourself — get swiping! Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, FarmersOnly, LinkedIn DMs, Grindr, Feeld, Shewy, Norp, Glompsnackers, Ultimate Guitar Tabs and more are all at your fingertips!

If you like things everybody else likes, you’re just gonna go on a bunch of dates with the same person over and over! You have to post a Spotify Wrapped that will make some freak respond to your story saying “Wow! I didn’t think anybody else listened to this garbage,” so you can begin a totally insular and alienating relationship.

Yeah, that’s right. I know you little goblins are reading this. And let me tell you, “lmao dating advice for Redditors is useless” wasn’t funny the first time you said it. Being a virgin doesn’t make you special. Being antisocial doesn’t mean you’re better than other people. Believe in yourself a little bit. I believe in you. Maybe you’ll meet someone nice on the field outside the Nest when you make an (misguided but good-spirited) effort to go touch some grass. U

The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. You can send pitches and completed pieces to blog@ubyssey.ca

JANUARY 23, 2023 TUESDAY | BLOG | 17

Campus genetic counsellors are supporting patients with neurological health concerns

Living with a diagnosis or family history of neurological illnesses is a challenging burden for individuals to carry.

Genetic counsellors at UBC bridge the gap between diagnoses and reality, effectively working to educate a patient on their health history and potential risks.

“My role is a [primarily] clinical role,” said Emily Dwosh, a genetic counsellor with the UBC Hospital Clinic for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders. Her work involves “direct patient care,” where she spends her time addressing cognitive concerns, prevention methods and possible family histories.

Her clinic is commonly referred to as the UBC Alzheimer’s Clinic, but there are many different types of cognitive disorders that fit under the umbrella of dementia.

“We see patients with Lewy body disease, we see patients with frontotemporal dementia,” she said. Dementia can also be caused by stroke or impaired blood flow in the brain. In addition, there is a wide range of rarer conditions, some of which are genetic and some of which are not.

But when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, research has pegged genetics as an essential component. One 2011 study suggested that upwards of 70 per cent of one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is genetic.

Research is rapidly moving to


better understand how different genes are tied to this disease — one 2022 meta-analysis from Nature Genetics surveyed multiple genes tied to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and was able to update risk scores to predict disease development and progression.

However, this area is complex and requires the expertise of genetic counsellors like Dwosh. The main part of her job revolves

around helping her patients adjust to their diagnosis and understand their options amidst this rapidly changing medical landscape.


UBC is one of five universities in Canada that offers a genetic counselling program. This two-year master’s degree provides students with both the foundational and

practical knowledge to become a genetic counsellor.

“I see it as the intersection of psychology and medicine,” said Robin Curtis, educational coordinator at UBC’s department of medical genetics.

“I would say in their first year it’s probably two-thirds theory,” he said. When students move onto their second year, practice-based learning takes the two-thirds majority of the program.

Curtis explained these direct experiences as one of the “defining features of genetic counselling.”

Through their clinical rotations, students are given the opportunity to work alongside genetic counsellors, learning about the profession through first-hand experiences. Curtis said students have travelled across different provinces and occasionally to the US to visit various hospitals.

The road to becoming a genetic counsellor has become highly competitive over time, with a small number of applicants making it into the program.

“Our incoming cohort each year is only six students,” said Curtis. From an approximate pool of 120 applicants, roughly 30 are interviewed, narrowing the applicants into the final group.

However, the high number of applicants comes as no surprise considering the dramatic innovations in the study of neurological diseases.

Dwosh said that one key aspect of being a genetic counsellor is keeping up with new discoveries in the scientific community to give patients the most up-to-date information.

“The idea of sequencing an entire [protein-coding part of the genome] 20 years ago was not even on our radar,” she said. When she first started her master’s degree, her class was only the fourth graduating class of this program. Now, many technologies and innovations that she dreamt of as a student are now a reality.

“It’s an ever-evolving field.” U

Mugshare branches across campus with new sustainability ideas

A student-founded sustainability initiative to reduce paper cup waste is still taking the campus — and your local coffee shop — by storm, two years after its official launch.

Mugshare (stylized as “mugshare”) is an initiative started by a team of students at UBC sustainability organization Common Energy that offers reusable cups with a $5 deposit onsite at partner cafes, which can be returned to any of the cafes in the network for a deposit reimbursement. After a five-year pilot, mugshare officially launched in 2021. Its official launch was well-timed: in early 2022, Vancouver introduced a 25cent fee for disposable cups, the first fee of its kind in Canada.

Since then, mugshare has expanded to an estimated 2,500 mugs in circulation. Nine of its 33 partner cafes are located on UBC’s Vancouver campus. Eateries from Blue Chip to Boulevard offer mugshare’s reusable cups onsite as an alternative to disposables.

The service aims to address a significant source of waste — according to a 2017 City Council report, an estimated 2.6 million paper coffee cups are thrown out

in Vancouver every week.

According to co-founder and UBC alum Mel Chanona, mugshare was built after frustration with traditional sustainability campaigns.

“Common Energy had a campaign called Love Your Mug, which was just trying to encourage

people to bring their own tumbler ... to try to build awareness,” they said.

Chanona noted that similar campaigns have existed for a while, but have not helped move the needle towards change.

“We thought, how can we change the infrastructure instead

of trying to change the consumer?”

Chanona graduated in 2020 with a PhD from UBC in oceanography and has continued to work with mugshare post-graduation in addition to their full-time work.

“It’s driven my understanding of the climate crisis and the

waste crisis, which are very intertwined,” they said. “A PhD and academic background is really about training our minds to solve complex problems, and to use creativity and ingenuity to try to come up with new systems.”

mugshare has gone through a number of operational difficulties since its founding. The group experimented with pilot programs for several years. Notably, one 2020 model of bamboo mugs was recalled after students reported burn hazards.

The newest mugshare design uses polypropylene (#5 PP), a low-density and heat-tolerant material often found in food and beverage packaging.

“We’ve done drop tests, road tests, extensive stress testing to see how long these ones really last,” said Chanona. “We had issues with some of our earlier pilot mugs, which would crack or were more fragile and brittle. And these ones were the most durable ones that we could find.”

As mugshare expands, Chanona hopes that the organization will expand its reach to more cafes, and encourage reusable alternatives to single-use cups.

“Right now, our dream is for mugshare to enable cafes to go entirely single-use free.” U

UBC is one of five universities in Canada that offer a genetic counselling program. In exchange for a $5 deposit, coffee aficionados can receive a reusable mug for their caffeinated adventures. CHRIS SCHRAMM / UNSPLASH JINGYU HU / THE UBYSSEY

Students of all ages and skill levels hack away at nwHacks 24hour hackathon

The largest Hackathon event in Western Canada was held at the UBC Life Sciences Building from January 21–22.

nwHacks welcomed students to its first in-person hackathon since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they were a “seasoned hacker or [just] getting into tech.” The event saw nearly 665 participants and 131 projects built within 24 hours, with technologies varying from a simple website to laptop software that judges your plank form and virtual reality applications.

According to the logistics director of nwHacks and third-year UBC computer science student Martin Cai, the hackathon is space for developing innovative ideas.

“It’s a place where you can push yourself without outside commitments. You just have 24 hours to focus on trying to [learn] something new, trying to build something new with your friends,” said Cai.

Co-President Victoria Lim, a third-year UBC student majoring in cognitive systems, added that “It’s just an event to have fun, network with sponsors [and] really see what’s out there.”

The hackathon also provided opportunities for young hackers, like high school student Jeanette Guo, who came to network and


broaden her skill set. She participated alongside a group of undergraduate students.

“I really wanted to learn more about programming and the world of technology, and also meet a lot of cool people, which I did,” said Guo.

nwHacks attracted many firsttime hackers, like first-year arts student Jasmine Putnam and firstyear science student Le Minh Anh Nguyen, who both plan to major in computer science.

try something new, this would be good motivation to do some kind of project and to meet people who like the same thing, so why not,” said Nguyen.

Participants also attended nwHacks for practical reasons.

because we are not only bringing people of all genders into the space but also all those skill levels as well,” said Lim.

Even late into the evening on Saturday night, the hackathon was abuzz with excitement — in part thanks to the over one thousand cans of Red Bull that were provided by the event, according to the nwHacks Twitch stream. According to Nguyen, the food was also “better than expected.”

nwHacks did not become the largest Hackathon event in Western Canada overnight. The organizers said the event occurred virtually over the last few years, in which participants communicated in Discord calls and Zoom meetings. The organisers built their own website for participants to submit their projects.

“[I want to] get something established [because] my resume is also pretty blank, and the threat of graduation is coming,” said Buttar.

The goal of hosting an event like nwHacks is to “try to give everyone [the] opportunity to either step their first foot into the tech space or explore deeper into what they already know,” said Cai.

Cai and Lim said that for future nwHacks events, they will continue to welcome different generations of hackers, improve workshops, make it easier for first-timers to participate, and increase diversity and accessibility.

According to participants interviewed by The Ubyssey, the event was positive, informative and fun.

Engineering students gathered to bulk up their LinkedIn profiles and form new connections at the UBC Applied Science Co-op Networking Reception on January 26.

Featuring free dinner and representatives from 46 businesses supporting the co-op program, the aim of the reception dinner was to connect co-op students from the Faculty of Applied Science with top employers. This event is one of two major networking events hosted by the program, with another reception taking place at UBCO the week before, and is the first in-person Applied Science Co-op Networking Reception in two years.

According to Applied Science Senior Manager of Business Development and Employer Engagement Jennifer Syrnyk, in the age of LinkedIn profiles and business cards, these events help students to better get to know potential employers and “hopefully leave a lasting impression in person.”

“It’s hard to be able to put a face to a name when you’re the size of a postage stamp on a screen,” she said.

The UBC Applied Science Coop Program is the largest of its kind in Western Canada and gives its cohort of nearly 3,000 undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students the opportunity to gain

Both Ricky Lin, a second-year computer engineering student at UBC, and Karanveer Buttar, a third-year student in computing science at SFU, discussed the value of the hackathon for resume-building purposes and the chance to work on personal projects.

According to Lim, welcoming a variety of different age groups and backgrounds served to create a more inclusive atmosphere.

Nguyen also emphasized the value of having mentors and support staff at the event.

“It’s a celebration of diversity

“I don’t think we could have done what we did today with [the project] being as structured as it is [without] this much support.” U

UBC Applied Science Co-op Networking Reception ‘puts a face to name’ as students meet top employers

When asked how students can best prepare for networking events, Meaker emphasized the value of asking the right questions.

“I want to understand as a recruiter how you think so that I can see whether or not you’ll fit in with your project teams: so how do you think, what types of questions are you asking, what are you curious about and primarily, what are you passionate about?” she said.

Baker said at events such as this one, it is important for him to determine whether employers are “forward-thinking” and green-focused.

“It’s really exciting to see what [these employers] do, why they’re passionate about it and if I have the same passion for it,” he said.

look forward


“This one seemed really beginner-friendly, [and I] just want to work experience through hundreds of potential employers. According to Syrnyk, co-op allows students to “test drive different employers and different industries,” as they develop invaluable workplace skills and experience.

Second-year mechanical engineering student Robbie Baker already has his upcoming work term arranged but found this event

valuable for establishing relationships with potential future employers and finding a company that best aligns with his values.

“I’m hoping to bridge some connections and then I’m hoping to build some meaningful relationships with companies,” he said.

“I’m really looking for a company that is going to help me get from point A to point B and will help me

figure out what I want to do with my career and help me get started.”

Employers present at the event have long hired co-op students from the Applied Science Co-op Program, according to Syrnyk. Among them is UBC geological engineering alum and current intermediate geological engineer at BGC Engineering Inc. Olina Meaker.

Prospective and existing coop students can look forward to another networking social that will be hosted by the UBC Engineering Undergraduate Society 2023 Career Fair from February 8–9. Syrnyk encouraged students to attend and build connections with potential employers.

“The opportunity for students to make as many connections during their degree is probably one of the most important things they can do while studying,” she said.

“[They] will have these connections long after they graduate.” U

The event saw nearly 665 participants and 131 projects built within 24 hours. Students can to networking social on February 8-9. THE UBYSSEY THE UBYSSEY

After five years at UBC, Izzak Kelly looks to the future

Even for his position as a rugby lock, fifth-year Izzak Kelly towers over the competition.

He’s one of the first players that catches your eye when watching UBC men’s rugby. His 6’6” stature aside, Kelly’s versatility on offence and defence sees him pummeling opposing players one moment, then skying in the air for a lineout the next. He isn’t just physically imposing — his passion to win on the pitch shines through.

It wasn’t always this easy for him. Kelly’s story is a thread tied intricately to the game of rugby.

Kelly was raised in White Rock by a single mother, and hadn’t heard about rugby until right before he entered high school. “I played hockey and lacrosse my entire life up until then,” Kelly said.

“I knew [Earl Marriott Secondary] had a decent rugby team and an okay football team.” The decision between the two teams came down to what he enjoyed the most. “I just liked rugby more than football,” he said, laughing.

“It’s just open play, you’re just playing and then one team makes a mistake, and then you have the advantage. And then if you make a mistake, the other team gets the advantage. You can get caught up in a good 50-60 minute just going nonstop.”

Eventually, when it came time to choose between sports in grade 12, the decision was clear.

“It was either going to be rugby or lacrosse at the time, and I was like, ‘I have a little bit more fun playing rugby,’” Kelly said. This was coming off a grade 11 season where he began to make a name for himself provincially through stand-out performances at several different Team BC rugby setups.

At the youth level, playing wasn’t an all-expenses paid deal. For Kelly, it often meant trying to find funding to help him pay his way through those national opportunities. His mother set up a GoFundMe to aid in paying for a USA tour when Kelly was selected for the U18 Canadian 15s team.

Kelly knew that he was going to

continue rugby at the post-secondary level. However, the question as to where loomed large until the last possible moment. “I was kind of tossing up decisions at the time because I didn’t know where I wanted to go,” he said. “I thought maybe I might try and go to a university that was a little farther away.”

But as fate would have it, Kelly would remain close to home. “I had waited too long for all the universities to make my choice because I didn’t want to say no to anybody,” Kelly laughed. “One thing led to another, and I ended up settling on UBC.”

It would prove to be the best environment for his development. The lock has spoken positively about his experiences within a historic program, with deep roots in the growth of rugby in Canada.

“I could tell right away that it was a fairly professional environment in terms of how the team was run,” Kelly recounted about

his first impressions arriving at UBC. “The coaches Curry [Hitchborn] and Bruce [Rainer] made it very clear the boxes that you had to tick off if you wanted to advance and play for the top team.”

“I needed the routine, I needed to have the gym sessions at every time and having the intensity in the training.”

He viewed his progression like moving up the rungs. The UBC thirds development team was his first introduction to playing men’s rugby. Playing at the university level required making adjustments. “There’s a reason why I started off on the third team,” he said.

Kelly steadily worked his way up, each and every year with the T-Birds. “You go up to the second team, that’s another level, another rung up, it’s another speed where you have to be able to interpret things differently.”

“It just takes a little bit more with each rung, you just need to

be another level better.”

And with those challenges came improvements. Kelly was never afraid to ask questions or seek feedback, very much a student of the game.

“I asked a lot of weird questions, but it’s because I’m trying to figure it out in my head,” he said. The transparency in communications with the coaches helped him address shortcomings and improve his strengths.

“If you’re doing something poor, they’ll tell you. That’s something that I appreciate because I like stuff like that. I like a lot of feedback.”

It wasn’t just limited to rugby either. “Curry brought people in from different avenues of rugby in all different spectrums [to speak with us],” Kelly said. “He brought in one gentleman to talk to us about the mental side, but then he also had some guy in just to talk to us about jobs and job opportunities, how to pursue, how to

maintain connections with people and how to advocate for yourself.”

His time with the Thunderbirds has taken him all over the world. Kelly’s been on tour to Japan playing in the World University Rugby Tournament, and friendlies across the States.

The exposure and experience he’s gained have given him opportunities at the international level. Kelly has been a part of the U20 Canadian Men’s 15s setup and recently has been invited to train with the senior national team and represent his country at the highest level.

It’s that international perspective that has given Kelly a sense of acceptance from the rugby community. “Everybody has a position, it doesn’t matter your size, the shape [of] your build, your makeup, where you’re from, everybody can play,” Kelly said.

“The camaraderie and the overall brotherhood and friendship and the relationships between the coaches and the players, all of my coaches that I’ve had, I thought they’ve been very approachable and they’ve been open for conversation with me about anything within rugby or outside of rugby.”

Now in his last year with the Thunderbirds, Kelly has one more goal — to defend the team’s BC Premiership title after a successful university national title defence. But what comes after that?

“I’d like to play professionally overseas hopefully,” Kelly said immediately. “I’d like to learn and experience rugby outside of what’s been exposed to me here in North America.”

His logic is simple — he can always return to school, but he’s only ever as young as he is at this moment in time. And with school done, Kelly’s time opens up. “I can put all of my effort into rugby, into properly bettering myself.”

“I really want to see how far I can go.” U

Izzak Kelly wears gold medals from UBC’s consecutive Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship wins in 2021 and 2022. SOLANA PASQUAL / THE UBYSSEY Izzak Kelly looks out at the Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre at sunset. SOLANA PASQUAL / THE UBYSSEY

Barbara Howard: A life of athletic and community leadership

Barbara Howard (1920–2017), a record-breaking sprinter, educator, community front-runner and UBC alum, was the first Black female athlete to represent Canada internationally.

At a time when few opportunities were created for Black female athletes, she ran a path for next generations and paved her way into history.

Having broken the British Empire record at 17 for the 100-yard dash, Howard was selected for the British Empire Games in Sydney, Australia.

There, Howard made a sensational impact, receiving gifts and starring in newspapers. “It was exciting, but I didn’t realize at the time how much of a novelty I was considered,” she recalled. “Australia didn’t allow foreigners in then, and because they saw very few Black people they thought I was pretty special.”

She brought two medals for relay runs but not for the 100-yard dash. Howard ambitioned to conquer this race at the upcoming Olympic Games, but the Second World War broke out and ended her career.

Howard began a new track. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would say, “a P.E. teacher.” Howard got her bachelor’s degree in education at UBC in 1959 and belonged to the Delta


Kappa Gamma sorority for over four decades.

Upon graduation, she worked as a teacher in Port Alberni, BC. She recalled not factoring in her colour when applying but later found by the hiring principal that “he had to [go] out of his way to get [her]

that first job.” At a time when most ethnic minorities were barred from teaching, she soon became the first person of a visible minority hired by the Vancouver School Board. For over 40 years, she taught in various schools and emphasized to all her students the importance of staying


A trailblazer, her life leaves a legacy of athletic achievements and dedicated community engagement.

In 2010, the Vancouver Park Board awarded Howard the Vancouver Remarkable Women Award. She was inducted into the Burnaby Sports

Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and as one of “The Legends” in the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in the following years. In September 2018, the City of Vancouver renamed the Cambie Street Plaza to the Barbara Howard Plaza in celebration of her contributions. U

‘Teacher at heart:’ Shomari Williams’ football and coaching journey

the mid-2000s. The seasoned coach, who started his coaching career in 1987, recruited Williams in high school but didn’t get the opportunity to train him until he was completing his graduate degree in business at Queen’s University.

With Williams’ tremendous skill on the field and Tracey’s guidance, Queen’s University won the Vanier cup — the Canadian university football championship — in 2009.

Now, the pair coach UBC’s Thunderbirds side by side.

Before coaching with Tracey and tackling the T-Birds into shape, Williams played in the Canadian Football League for six seasons. He was drafted first overall in 2010 by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

was happy about his move to the West Coast. Defensive lineman and UBC business student Kaishaun Carter credited much of his success to his coach.

“He’s a player’s coach. He knows how to connect with us and truly cares about how we’re doing on and off the field,” said Carter in a phone interview. “He’s a competitor and teacher at heart, for sure.”

Williams recruited Carter from St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, BC, and has motivated him to be a better person and team player.

“There was an expectation from the beginning that he would push me to become the best version of myself.”


UBC’s football team has made huge strides thanks to Shomari Williams, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, in the last few years.

Since joining the team in 2019, the Brampton, Ontario native has put continued support and dedication into coaching the Thunderbirds. This season, all his hard work paid off.

In November 2022, the Thunderbirds found themselves in the Canada West championship game

for the first time in four years. While getting his team on the championship field was no easy feat, Williams knows this is exactly where his players belong.

“I always preach to my guys,

‘You’re out there for a reason.

You’re supposed to be out there. I believe in you, and you have to perform to the level I know you guys can.’”

In the locker room, Williams often uses this kind of positive reinforcement. His coaching style aims to build his players’ confidence alongside their technical skill.

“Believing in my players more than they believe in themselves is the most challenging part of the job but also the most rewarding,” said Williams. “I want these kids to see their potential and become the people I know they are.”

Thunderbirds Defensive Coordinator Patrick Tracey had only positive things to say about his colleague’s coaching.

“He’s dynamic,” said Tracey. “He has all the attributes to be successful. He’s approachable, passionate about the game and invested in his players. He’s all in.”

Tracey first met Williams in

“I can’t describe how it felt,” said Williams. “It felt good that somebody believed in me enough to think I was worthy of the first overall pick. All the work, sacrifices and the things I did to get to that point were validated and came together.”

Williams was a Roughrider for four years and played one season with each of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders.

After Williams retired from the CFL, he went back to Queen’s to start his coaching career. Completing another year as a Queen’s Golden Gael, he moved out west to be closer to his now spouse.

“You do good things for the people you love. Sometimes you even travel across the country,” said Williams.

It wasn’t just his partner who

After starting Top Prospects — a platform dedicated to helping high schoolers get athletic scholarships — Williams has had a similar impact on many student-athletes.

Top Prospects touched down in 2010 and has connected approximately 500 students with universities across Canada.

“Football has given me so much in my life, and I always wanted to give it back to others,” said Williams. “I’m super proud of what I accomplished with the business and the amount of kids I helped. It’s cool now ‘cause I see some of the kids on my website playing professional football.”

Williams’ devotion to student athletes, his team and this sport is unmistakable.

As he wrapped up his interview, Williams laughed, “Make sure to write ‘Go T-Birds’ in the article, and I think we’ll be good.” U

Barbara Howard leaving Vancouver for Sydney to compete at the British Empire Games in December 1937. BC SPORTS HALL OF FAME Williams looks out over Thunderbird Stadium after showing a potential recruit around campus. ZOE WAGNER / THE UBYSSEY



Á la The New Yorker, The Ubyssey is launching its own caption contest, inspired by the goings-on at UBC! Here’s a cartoon, created by Jasper Dobbin, that needs a caption. Submit your caption idea by filling out the form at this QR code. The best three submissions will appear in our February 14 issue. Happy captioning!



JANUARY 23, 2023 TUESDAY | GAMES | 23 1. Mayberry ___ 4. Recipe amt. 8. Be worthy of 14. Guido’s high note 15. Johnson of Laugh-In 16. Checked 17. ___ in Charlie 18. Spoils 19. Wild sheep of Asia 20. Great happiness 23. Barely passing grades 24. Struck out 1. Ebb 2. Straw-coloured 3. Plunger for churning butter 4. Lofty 5. Widen 6. Mall unit 7. Flower segment 8. Tressed 9. First name in architecture 10. Token 11. Bambi’s aunt 12. Lamprey 13. Start of the 16th century 21. This ___ test... 25. ___ tree falls... 28. Bring to a boil 30. Footstalk 33. Skeptical 36. Young haddock 40. Flamenco cry 41. Sonata movement 42. Salon stylist 45. Pest 46. Gourd.shaped rattle 51. Family man 52. Carol start 22. Conical shelters 25. Computer symbol 26. Longstanding argument 27. What’s more 29. Dizzy 31. Indian millet 32. UN agency 34. Compel by intimidation 35. Literary monogram 36. Roe source 37. Scene of first miracle 38. Lemon peel 39. Metal in Montana’s motto 43. Bring back into stock 55. Slightly 56. Permanent 59. Sampled 62. Rat-___ 63. Capp and Capone 64. Mineral used as a weighting agent 65. Damn Yankees role 66. Use a shuttle 67. Black eye 68. Lays the lawn down 69. Compass dir. 44. Beryl variety 47. Thor Heyerdahl craft 48. Plate appearances 49. Operatic soprano 50. ___ Fideles 53. Racetracks 54. I agree! 56. Pack ___ (quit) 57. Network of nerves 58. RR stops 59. Atlanta-based cable channel 60. Sound of satisfaction 61. Hindu honorific
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