By Mary Giles

Twyla Agyemfra and Jade Odiase are graduates of the Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice program where they were student representatives on the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ICCJ) new Anti-Racism and Anti-Colonialism Committee (ARAC). Together, they developed the ICCJ BIPOC Caucus, a student advocacy group that aims to support, empower and advocate for racialized students within the program.

“The intention behind creating the Caucus is to fulfill the needs of racialized students by providing academic, career, health and wellness support, training services and volunteer opportunities,” says Odiase. “It is important to recognize the disproportionate effects that systemic racism, oppression and colonialism have on racialized individuals in an educational institution. It impedes educational and professional success when there is a lack of resources, opportunities and support.”

Agyemfra says, “I joined the ARAC committee and the ICCJ BIPOC Caucus to assist in the fight to dismantle racism and anti-blackness — both oppressive practices that affect people who look like me.”

Twyla Agyemfra

Twyla Agyemfra

Twyla Agyemfra

Agyemfra is from Toronto, but moved to Ottawa in 2018 to continue her education after graduating from the Community and Justice Services program at Humber College.

“I chose to study Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton because of the program’s unique interdisciplinary approach to studying crime and punishment that combines legal, psychological and sociological perspectives to the penal field,” she says.

“As a Black, cisgender, heterosexual woman who has graduated from the program, I’d like to become a youth probation officer to assist and support young people in marginalized communities who are impacted by systemic racism and anti-blackness.”

Agyemfra plans to continue her education by conducting further research on anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices in education, and race-based identity development of children and youth, so that she can learn how people of colour can foster a healthy racial identity in their teenage years.

Jade Odiase

Jade Odiase

Jade Odiase

For a long time, Odiase has been passionate about law, the criminal justice system and social change. A BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Psychology and minor in Law was the perfect way to learn about the various interdisciplinary fields and issues within the criminal justice system.

“This program exceeded my expectations and solidified my career choice relating to social justice,” says Odiase. “There are many issues that need to be addressed within the criminal justice system that are rooted from systemic racism, colonialism and white supremacy.”

Throughout her time at Carleton, she has had numerous opportunities to positively impact the lives of individuals and communities through Carleton clubs and associations, as well as community-based organizations in Ottawa.

“I am dedicated to bringing to light and challenging the inequity of social structures and institutions that are negatively impacting marginalized persons and communities,” says Odiase. “I am committed to taking steps to educate the public and advocate for marginalized groups, such as racialized groups.

“In the fall, I am starting an intensive Social Service Worker program at Algonquin College. My goal is to gain more practical experience working alongside marginalized groups and communities. Afterwards, I plan on completing a law degree to become a civil rights lawyer. Sometime in the future, I would also like to pursue a master’s degree in criminology, since I am passionate about research and contributing to gaps in academia related to topics such as penal abolition (prisons and the police), anti-Black racism and transformative justice.

“As my grandma used to say, ‘Education is KEY!’ There is no such thing as too much school or knowledge.”

Friday, June 18, 2021 in , , , ,
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