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Black Employee Network Beacons of Light Podcast 3: Kiké Roach, Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University

Throughout Black History Month, our Black Employee Network (BEN) Canada chapter interviewed Canadian legal professionals on their perspectives on the path forward in our communities in a three-part podcast series, Beacons of Light.  

Our BEN Canada co-chairs, Maxeen Mitchell-Hill and Theodora Lindsey, asked Canadian legal professionals four main questions based on the social awakening on race that started with the George Floyd murder in 2020:

  1. Last year was tough; did anything positive stem from 2020?
  2. How do you stay positive despite negative reactions to anti-Black racism awareness?
  3. How can we affect change in the legal industry?
  4. What gives you hope that can inspire others?

As we reflect on the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial and Juneteenth approaches, please listen to these enlightening responses and think about what you can do as a leader, employee, and ally to combat the issues brought up in this podcast. We need to continue conversations like these all year round. 

Meet our final guest, Kiké Roach (pronounced “Kee-kay”), Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University

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Kiké Roach is the Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University, where she teaches courses in Human Rights, and Social Movements and Politics.  She is principal organizer of the annual Social Justice Week, a hub of interaction for activists, students, and academics.

Maxeen (left) and Theodora (right).

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 As a civil rights lawyer, she fought against state sanctioned violence and abuse of power for many years, representing organizations like the Black Action Defense Committee, and the Community Alliance for Social Justice. She was assistant counsel in a successful electoral law case before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Among many media appearances, Kiké was a regular commentator on current and legal affairs for CTV News. She has designed and led workshops on anti-racism, sexism and the law, and leadership for the CLC, CUPW, USW, ETFO, and CAW (now Unifor). She has addressed audiences across Canada and in the United States on issues of history, race, feminism and progressive change.

A former Executive Member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers; the Women’s Coalition for Employment Equity; and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Kiké is co-author of the book Politically Speaking on feminism and Canadian politics. Her work is most recently published in the new anthology We Resist: Defending the Common Good in Hostile Times.

About

Our Black Employee Network is one of eight voluntary, employee-driven business resource groups that foster the inclusion and advancement of employees that identify as Black of or African descent at Thomson Reuters.

Kiké Roach