Olivia Ishimwe Interns with Black Lives Matter Fredericton, Helps Develop Educational Resource
Third-year STUdent Olivia Ishimwe has been working to create change as an intern with Black Lives Matter Fredericton.
Originally from Malawi, East Africa, Ishimwe has been working with the organization on an online resource that highlights, recognizes, and celebrates areas where Black New Brunswickers are thriving in their fields—from academics and sports to entrepreneurship and small business—New Brunswick’s Black history, and other information and resources. The project has been tailored toward educators as a teaching tool that can be used to address Black issues and incorporate Black history in the classroom.
The website—which was officially launched on the first day of Black History Month this year—can now be accessed at www.blmfnbed.org
The project had many contributors from the STU community including STUdents Felomena Deogratsias, Ashley Swaby, and Kryssonia Wedderburn, as well as STU alumni including Sara Nason and Husoni Raymond.
“The webpage is a tool that can be used to combat racism by providing different resources and information, as well as highlighting the different things Black people in New Brunswick are doing to positively influence our community,” Ishimwe said.
She added that the resource will be helpful for anyone who wants to educate themselves on Black histories and for Black New Brunswickers who are looking for support.
“I believe that it will help address issues Black people face by educating those who are unaware of what Black people go through,” she said. “By having this website, Black people who are facing different issues can use the resource to identify steps they can take and find ways to deal with what they’re going through.”
Through her work with Black Lives Matter Fredericton, Ishimwe, who is studying Psychology and Sociology, has been able to further develop her communication and time management skills, as well as gain experience working as part of a team.
“The highlight of the internship was being able to work with other people who share the same views and desire to bring light to the issues Black people face. Working as part of a team on something as important as this meant I always had someone to answer my questions and provide guidance, which was great.”
This experience, which was offered through the Office of Experiential and Community-based Learning, has enabled Ishimwe to learn more about a cause she cares about and has inspired her to seek out more opportunities to make change.
“The biggest takeaway for me is the knowledge I’ve gained. There was so much I didn’t know concerning the history of Black New Brunswickers,” she said.
“This position opened up my eyes and made me realize there is so much more I want to do. My confidence as a Black woman has grown and I will continue to seek out more projects like this.”