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Alumni Association Distinguished Speaker Series: Africentric Social Work: Creating Empowering Pathways and Opportunities for Black Families and Communities, with The Hon. Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard

May 31 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

event promotional graphic featuring a photo of Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard. Text repeated on page below

About the lecture

In a 2014 lecture entitled Racism is Killing Us Softly, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard stated, “We need to lead the change. I want change yesterday, not 10 years from now.” Ten years later, in this 2024 Distinguished Lecture, Dr Bernard will explore how Africentric social work in Canada moved from the margins to the center, to create opportunities for systemic change. Using lessons from the field, she will highlight transformative practices rooted in Africentricity in her work with families and communities.

Join us for an evening of storytelling and knowledge sharing about some of the creative pathways to the collective empowerment of Black families and communities. You will be inspired to learn more about ways in which African Centered Social Work has been used to lead change and to help practitioners address issues that African Canadians face everyday, in racially and culturally responsive ways.

Date & Time

May 31, 2024
Lecture: 6:00 to 7:15pm
Reception: (in-person only): 7:15 to 8:30pm


This is a hybrid lecture.

In person: Hart House Music Room, 7 Hart House Circle
View information on traveling to Hart House

Online: Zoom webinar


Register to attend online

Register to attend in person

About the Honourable Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard

Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard is a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and advocate of social change. She was the first African Nova Scotian to be hired in a tenure track position at Dalhousie University, where she also served as Director of the School of Social Work for ten years.  She is now a Professor Emeritus. Dr Bernard is a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) and a founding member and current President of the Africadian  Empowerment Academy (AEA). Some of her areas of practice include working in mental health at the provincial level and in rural community practice at the municipal level. Moreover, Dr. Bernard has worked with provincial organizations to bring diversity to the political processes in Nova Scotia. At the national level, she has served as a member of the National Coalition of Advisory Councils on the Status of Women. She has been qualified as an expert witness in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia, particularly in the areas of race, racism, human rights and the impact of racism. She has presented at many local, national and international forums. Dr. Bernard has received many honours for her work and community leadership, notably the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. She was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2016, and is the first African Nova Scotian Woman to serve in the Senate, where she has continued her advocacy on social justice issues and anti-Black racism.

About the Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speakers Series, created by the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Alumni Association in honour of the Faculty’s 100th anniversary in 2014, brings leading edge thinkers to the Faculty, to explore avant-garde issues. By fostering dialogue about crucial societal challenges, these lectures benefit students, alumni, researchers and the community.

The 2024 Alumni Association Distinguished Speaker Series lecture on Friday May 31st is taking place during U of T Alumni Reunion (the week of May 29 – June 2, 2024). Alumni Reunion is U of T’s biggest alumni gathering of the year and brings together people in the thousands each spring for five fun days of in-person and online events across all three U of T campuses. From outdoor festivities to thought-provoking lectures to divisional events, there are so many ways for our alumni to catch up with friends, meet new people and create new U of T experiences – back where it all began.

Frequently asked questions

Where is the in-person event taking place?

The lecture is taking place at the Hart House Music Room, 7 Hart House Circle. Hart House is located south of Hoskin Avenue, between Queen’s Park Crescent and Tower Road. The Music Room is located on the second floor, Room 2006.

Information on transit, walking, cycling and driving

Visit the Hart House website for information on how to access the venue.

What time do doors open?

Doors open at 5:30pm


May 31
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


FIFSW Alumni Association


Hart House
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario Canada
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