To mark Black History Month, the TRIEC team have been thinking about Black achievements that personally resonate with us. Colleagues shared stories about Black public figures we admire in a recent meeting – here are some of the people we paid tribute to…

Wole Soyinka– a notable Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist, who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is  the first African to be awarded in this category. His works include novels, essays and poetry rooted in native Nigeria and the Yoruba culture, including influences from Western traditions. He is a distinguished scholar and a justice-seeking advocate, who has long been a proponent of Nigerian democracy.

Photo: Geraldo Magela/Agência Senado

Tosin Ajogbeje

Specialist, Communications - TRIEC Mentoring Partnership

Desmond Cole is a Canadian journalist, activist and author. His work is inspiring and so important.

Photo: Ontario Federation of Labour

Meena Sankaran

Manager, Community Partner Relationships and QA

Living with ADHD and growing up in foster homes as a toddler, Simone Biles is today one of the most decorated American gymnasts and among the world’s top three medal winners in artistic gymnastics. She also excelled at a sport not typically considered to be a bastion of Black athletes. This world needs more such inspiring legends.

Photo: Agencia Brasil Fotografias

Raj Dam

Manager, Employer Relations

Dr Mae Jemison. My kiddo loves space and space travel and Mae Jemison has been one of our favourite astronauts to learn about. Aside from being the first Black female astronaut, Dr Jemison was an engineer, a doctor and an accomplished dancer. She often spoke about the importance of her artistic side in her scientific work, something we don’t hear enough about. These different approaches are often seen as being distinct, and her emphasis on the benefits of combining the two is essential for innovative work as well as for inspiring and developing young minds.

Photo: NASA

Rachel Crowe

Project Manager, Career Advancement for Immigrant Professionals

N.K. Jemisin and Nnedi Okorafor are two Hugo and Nebula award winning science-fiction authors whose Afrofuturist work centres Black culture, perspectives, and issues in a field that has long been dominated by white male voices and worldviews. Highlights of their work include Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy and How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?, and Okorafor’s Binti and Akata series.

Photos: Laura Hanifin/Cheetah Witch

Joshua Litwin

Manager, Online Learning Experience Design