GRAPHIC CONTRIBUTED BY JEREMY VYN / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Black History Month 2022 program organizers plan a panel discussion on “Health, wellness, spirituality, healing and Black communities in Canada” for March 7.
The panel discussion will be held at 7 p.m. EST as a Zoom webinar. It is hosted by Laurier’s Department of Religion and Culture and the office of the associate vice-president, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Everyone is welcome to attend, including Laurier students, faculty, staff and alumni.
There will be four panelists speaking at the event. This includes Professor Carol Duncan, Professor Kathy Hogarth, Imam Michael AbdurRashid Taylor and Rev. Paulette Brown. Each panelist will be introduced, then share their perspectives on the issues of health, wellness, spirituality, healing and Black communities in Canada. There will be an opportunity for the audience to engage with questions for the speakers before the event wraps up.
“We thought it was an important set of issues to look at, there are very different kinds of perspectives,” said Duncan, a religion and culture professor at Laurier and the primary organizer of the panel.
Duncan said she hopes students will gain an awareness of the importance of these issues. Students will deepen their understanding of what health, wellness, spirituality and healing mean in community life to learn about Black experiences in Canada when sensitized to these topics.
The panel discussion aims to provide an interdisciplinary conversation amongst speakers coming from different disciplinary training, professional training and experiences, community-based experiences and different faith communities to show that these issues are multi-faceted.
“People don’t necessarily hold exactly the same points of view about what are the most important kinds of issues that are facing Black communities today,” said Duncan.
Tusharika Tyagi, a second-year digital media and journalism student at Laurier, is particularly looking forward to the topic of spirituality at the panel. She said she sees a similarity between how spirituality is practiced in Black cultures and Indian culture. Duncan said that spirituality has different sets of associations for many people.
“This panel is not designed to define a singular approach,” said Duncan. “It’s an exploration to acknowledge that there are different spiritualities within Black communities.”
Tyagi said that Brantford is a homogenized community and she hopes the speakers will discuss mental health for minorities. Duncan said that mental health could be one of the main issues in terms of health, wellness, spirituality and healing. She said that one of the key points of this panel is to consider the holistic perspective, which includes mental health, physical health and emotional health.
The panel discussion aims for community education and is an opportunity for students to extend their learning.
“Maybe they’re in courses or disciplines that are particularly linked to discussions about health, healing, wellness, spirituality and Black communities,” said Duncan. “But, maybe they’re not.”
The event invites students to listen and think about issues they may not have considered before from different perspectives.
“When you are ignorant, you can unintentionally hurt somebody,” said Tyagi. “Maybe the discussion will teach me things I don’t know yet.”
To register for the event, use this link: https://wilfrid-laurier.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xur9erDbSGyfdvdzHzJx1Q.
For more information on Laurier’s Black History Month 2022 program, visit this link: https://www.wlu.ca/features/black-history-month/index.html.