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You’re wwwelcome, wwworld!

Photo credit: Internet Hall of Fame

You may not know Alan Emtage, but if you managed to find this blog post, you know his work. This year, the Internet Hall of Fame finally recognized one of the great innovators of the Internet Age. I must admit, I assumed this had already been done. Alan Emtage not only created and implemented the world’s first Internet search engine during his time as a McGill student, but after completing his M. S. in Computer Science in 1991, he chaired the committee at the Internet Engineering Task Force that established the standard for Uniform Resource Locators, aka URLs.

Since 1998, he has been a partner at Mediapolis, Inc., where he lends his considerable talents to everything from small non-profit organizations to large multi-national corporations. In 1999, DataLounge, a website operated by Mediapolis, won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding LGBT Interactive Media.

Read more about Alan Emtage here.

Read about Alan Emtage’s induction into the Internet Hall of Fame here.

Read about Mediapolis, Inc. here and DataLounge here.

Dr. Charmaine Nelson takes Canada’s slave history to Harvard

Charmaine Nelson – McGill Faculty of Arts

It is 2017 and Dr. Charmaine Nelson is the only Black tenured professor of art history in Canada. The lack of Black representation among Canadian tenure stream academics isn’t all that surprising; most Canadians don’t even know that Blacks have a history in Canada. Unfortunately, this unacknowledged legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and systemic discrimination is observable in almost every sphere of Canadian society. Fortunately, we have scholars such as Dr. Nelson who are willing to shine a light into that darkness.

For the next year, Dr. Charmaine Nelson will continue her research on fugitive slave advertisements while teaching at Harvard as the William Lyon Mackenzie King Chair for Canadian Studies.

Congratulations, Charmaine!

Read more about Dr. Charmaine Nelson’s journey to Harvard here.

Don’t miss the 2017 McGill Sexual Health Fair

2017 Sexual Health Fair

2017 Sexual Health Fair

Check out McGill’s Sexual Health Fair being held this coming Thursday, February 16th, 2017 from 14:00 to 18:00 in the SSMU Building. Room 108. Sex, sexuality and sexual identity mean different things to different people. Join us at the McGill Sexual Health Fair to learn and discuss in a sex positive environment.

For more information, check out the Facebook event here.

Why we need to hear minority voices

Photo credit: McGill News

Photo credit: McGill News

When Dantes Rameau is asked to “show his credentials”, he does it because he understands the importance of “representing”. What he represents is possibility. To all of those young, economically challenged, inner-city kids that he mentors, he is a window into a life that they may not have believed was possible for them. Many minorities only see themselves depicted in the media as criminals, underachievers, and underdogs. Dantes Rameau shows them that it is possible to rise above the stereotypes. It is possible to become a celebrated classical musician, or a president, or an award-winning scientist, or anything else you imagine.

Too often, the media depicts success, beauty and achievement in the packaging of the majority. Minorities often struggle to find and maintain their own sense of self-worth and self-confidence because they cannot identify with the images of success that they are shown. We need to showcase minority success to give racialized and marginalized people (especially young people) a sense that they are valued in the world, that they too can be the face success, beauty and achievement.

Read about Dantes Rameau’s exceptional journey here.

McGill minorities take on the world – Imran Amed

Photo credit: Business of Fashion

Photo credit: Business of Fashion

We’ve all met that person. You know the one I’m talking about: smart, attractive, stylish, successful, charming. The person you secretly envy and can’t help but be impressed by. Imran Amed is all of those things and then some. This Calgary native chose McGill for his undergraduate studies, and we are so glad that he did. Now that the fashion world is at his feet, we can say with pride, “He’s a McGillian!” (He also got an MBA from Harvard.)

Imran Amed, a McGillian of Indian descent, is the founder of one of the most respected fashion blogs in the world. The Business of Fashion is  so well regarded that it received $2.5 million dollars in investment from Index Ventures, known for backing other winners such as Skype and Dropbox.

Mr. Amed was back at his alma mater last month to receive a Desautels Management Achievement Award, and at 38 years old, he is the youngest entrepreneur ever to receive the award. Not bad for a boy from Cowtown.

Read all about Imran Amed and his incredible success here and here.

McGill minorities rock!

McGill minorities give back – Gemma Raeburn-Baynes


Photo credit: Who’s who in Black Canada

Gemma Raeburn-Baynes knows what it means to give back. She seems to turn every opportunity in her life into an opportunity to help both the local community and the global one. On March 8th, 2014, this McGill alumna will be honoured for her 50 years of community activism.

Gemma Raeburn-Baynes was born in Grenada, but has lived most of her life in Montreal. Her island roots have definitely shaped her personality, as evidenced by her contributions to Montreal’s Taste of the Caribbean and Carifiesta events, but Ms. Raeburn-Baynes has also worked tirelessly to improve conditions for all people of colour both in Montreal and abroad.

Read more about this extraordinary woman from another McGill alumnus here.

Congratulations, Gemma! McGill minorities rock!

Black History Month – Dr. Phil Edwards

Canada Sports Hall of Fame

Photo Credit: Canada Sports Hall of Fame

This year, Black History Month also coincides with Olympic fever, and there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding these games. However, Sochi 2014 pales in comparison with Berlin 1936, and McGill sent one of its best and brightest to lead the Canadian Summer Olympic team to the “Nazi Olympics”. It was a particularly bold move considering that Phil Edwards was black. We all remember Jesse Owens, but we should never forget our own Phil Edwards.

Philip Aron Edwards was born into an affluent family in British Guyana on September 23, 1907. Throughout his early years in the Caribbean, Edwards was a promising runner, and his father was his first running coach. Upon graduating from secondary school in 1926, he moved to the US to further his running career and his studies at New York University. During his time at NYU, Phil Edwards managed to set a number of intercollegiate records in middle-distance events.

Although Edwards was an extremely talented athlete, he was not eligible to compete on the US track team at the 1928 Olympic games. However, Canada was more than happy to welcome him. He was invited to join the Canadian team, so he packed up and moved to Montreal, where he enrolled in McGill medical school. That year, Phil Edwards brought home a bronze medal from the Olympic games in Amsterdam.

Edwards quickly became the star of the McGill track team and served as Redmen captain for five seasons, from 1931 to 1936. During his time on the team, the McGill track and field team won six consecutive championships. In 1932, he returned to the Olympic games, this time in Los Angeles. He returned to Montreal to a hero’s welcome, having won three more bronze medals.

1936 was a big year for Phil Edwards; not only did he graduate from McGill’s medical school, but he also set out for his third Olympic games, the infamous “Nazi Olympics” in Berlin. This time, he would lead the Canadian Olympic team as its captain. Edwards never came home from an Olympic games empty-handed, and this time was no exception. He returned with yet another bronze medal, earning himself the nickname “Man of Bronze”. This fifth medal made him Canada’s most decorated Olympian at the time. On the return journey from the games, a hotel in London refused to honour his reservation because of his race. The entire team cancelled their reservations. They would not stay in any hotel that would not accept their captain.

Phil Edwards returned to McGill to complete a graduate diploma in medicine, specializing in tropical diseases. He received the diploma in 1945 and remained in Montreal on the staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital. Dr. Edwards also used his expertise to participate in many international missions.

In addition to his studies, his running, and his medical career, Dr. Edwards also participated in the war effort. He interrupted his career to serve in the Canadian army during WWII and rose to the rank of captain.

Dr. Philip Aron Edwards died in Montreal on September 6, 1971, just days shy of his 64th birthday.

Read more about Phil Edwards here and here.

Black History Month – Rosemary Wedderburn Brown

Canada Post honours Rosemary Brown

Canada Post honours Rosemary Brown

Many Canadian politicians have passed through McGill’s gates. Our University can be proud of its contribution to public life in Canada. During Black History Month, one politician in particular stands out, not only for her contribution as a politician, but for strength in the face of the racism and sexism she faced as Canada’s first black woman to hold public office.

Rosemary Wedderburn was born in Kingston, Jamaica on June 17, 1930. Her family had always been politically minded, and her interest in social welfare was clearly demonstrated when she emigrated to Canada in 1951 to pursue her post-secondary studies in social work at McGill University and UBC. Canada in the 1950s was a challenging place for a young black woman, and Ms. Brown was met with both racism and sexism at every turn, whether looking for housing, employment or simply trying to fit into university life.

After graduating from UBC, Rosemary Brown joined two social groups that would help to lead her toward her career in politics: the British Columbia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and Voice of Women. During the activism of the 1960s, she became a political advocate against racism and sexism. Given her unique qualifications to speak on behalf of both women and minorities, Ms. Brown took on the role of Ombudswoman and founding member of the Vancouver Status of Women Coucil (VSW).

In 1972, with the support of the VSW members, Rosemary Wedderburn Brown entered BC provincial politics as an NDP candidate and was elected on August 30th of that same year.  She retained her seat as MLA for 14 years.  During her time in office, she worked on many social issues including removing sexism from educational material and forming the commission on the family.

In 1973, the United Nations awarded her the United Nations’ Human Rights Fellowship.

In 1975, Rosemary Brown ran for leadership of the federal NDP. Her slogan was “Brown is Beautiful”. Her candidacy broke the colour barrier in the federal political arena when she ran a close second to Ed Broadbent.

Ms. Brown retired from the BC provincial legislature in 1988, but remained active in social advocacy for many more years. In 1993, she was named chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and in 1996, she was awarded the Order of Canada.

Rosemary Wedderburn Brown died in Vancouver, BC on April 26, 2003.

The McGill Faculty of Medicine Research and Graduate Studies Office offers a prize named in honour of Rosemary Wedderburn Brown.  Read about the Faculty Prize here.

Read more about this extraordinary woman here and here.

Happy Black History Month!

Photo Credit: Marie-France Coallier, The Gazette

When did slavery end in Canada? Wait. What? We had slaves in Canada? Yup.

Welcome to Black History Month. This is the month when we remember some amazing things that we should never have forgotten, and some less-than-wonderful things that we would probably prefer to forget. Fortunately, the McGill community includes people like Dr. Charmaine Nelson who can help to jog our memories.

Visible and ethnic minorities have made and continue to make countless contributions worth celebrating to McGill, to Montreal, to Québec, and to the world. However, while we are remembering those who have triumphed, let us not forget those who were lost in the struggle.

A glimpse into Canada’s slave-owning past

EMBA McGill – HEC launches new scholarship program for Indigenous people

Raphael Picard

The McGill – HEC EMBA program is always looking to increase the diversity of participants in the program.  The program’s creators believe that diversity is essential to the learning approach.  With this in mind, they have created a new $40,000 scholarship which will be given annually to a manager of Indigenous origin.  Prof. Alain Pinsonneault, co-director of the program says that “encouraging Indigenous participation will be a real plus”.

To read more about the new scholarship, click here.

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