I had a worthwhile celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019. Even though March 8 is the official day, I guess everyday is the unofficial day, the roles of women cannot be over-emphasized.
The African Nova Scotian and Racially Visible Women’s Network, in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Halifax Central Library presented an International Women’s Day event celebrating women across the diversity spectrum in the fields of Science, Math, Technology, and Innovation.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Rita Orji, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University, a university that was founded in 1818.
The keynote speaker resonated with me on many levels. As a woman, as an immigrant, as a visible minority in Nova Scotia and as a Nigerian because the speaker identifies with all these.
I am also a graduate of computer science, so I could identify with her, having also studied computer science and becoming an assistant professor in a top Canadian university, a 201-year old university. Her story is highly inspirational. She narrated how she grew up in the eastern part of Nigeria and how she rose through the ranks in her academics and career. I was so proud as her biography was been read when she was introduced to speak and when she gave the keynote address. Her story further reinforces the popular statement that goes this: ‘Impossibility is nothing’, indeed anyone can do what they set their mind to do and achieve.
The welcome address was given by Councillor Lisa Blackburn. There were other interesting activities that took place, from music, dance, poem, prizes e.t.c. Beautiful renditions by wonderful vocalists, Dyrekia Provo and Courtlyn Arsenault, there was a flutist as well, Leslie Anderson, poem by Halifax poet laureate, Dr. Aguda Cooper and dance performance by a young group named Digital Divas. I enjoyed all the performances. There was also refreshments. It was a day well spent. I’m glad I also met Ann Divine again. Thank you Huwaida for the invitation and kudos to you, Tracey, Ayo Aladejebi (my fellow awesome Nigerian brother) and the rest of your team, it was a beautiful event spent with other awesome women, it was a great boost for me to see women doing great things in Nova Scotia and in the world at large.
I attended with my girl group 😊 (my mom and daughters), even though they stayed mostly in the children area of the library but I invited them over during the short break we had so my mom could also see and meet with some of the awesome women in my community.
There were also few men in the house to give support, amongst them is the Member of Parliament (MP) of Halifax, Andy Fillmore, a man I really admire and respect. He literally always shows up. I follow him on social media and I dare say he is one of my sources to know what goes on in Halifax. I wonder how he gets to keep up with his activities in Ottawa and Halifax. It was nice to have had a chat with him. He was as pleasant as he is on social media in real life.
I did a live recording of the event on my personal page (@SherifatOnabanjo) and public page (@LifeinNovaScotia) on Instagram. I also posted some videos. You can take a look.