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What’s in a Name?: A Community Conversation

Time: 6:30pm – 7:15pm

Location: 3rd floor

Moderator: Craig Pearson, The Windsor Star

Speakers: Philippa von Ziegenweidt, Gregg French, Lana E. Talbot

In light of current social events, a growing movement in Canada is highlighting systems of oppression and systemic racism. From monuments, to towns, teams, streets, schools, landmarks and buildings, many Canadians are questioning the names that commemorate historical figures with controversial legacies — some even pushing for removals, renaming and other changes. Does this language honour past wrongdoings, or seek to reconcile them? Whose voices are getting heard when making these decisions? Can we reckon with the past while looking towards the future? 

On Thursday, September 22nd, from 6:30pm – 7:15 pm, join us for What’s in a Name?: A Community Conversation. We encourage engagement and respectful, curious questions about the topic of this conversation. We look forward to welcoming our community into this important conversation!

Philippa von Ziegenweidt

Philippa von Ziegenweidt has been active in local public initiatives since immigrating to Canada twenty–six years ago. Born in The Netherlands, her family moved to South Africa in the early 1970’s. While Philippa’s professional background is in public and forensic accounting, she is also a vocal advocate for responsible urban planning, active transportation (including advocating for bike infrastructure that is safe for cyclists of all ages), and food security — all of these are themes relating to environmental sustainability and improving community wellbeing.

Philippa started mapping gendered place names in Windsor several years ago after conversations with her then high school-aged daughter about society’s overwhelming tendency to reward the achievements and efforts of men before those of women, and the influence this may have on girls’ aspirations and their career choices. She realized that seemingly small actions like naming conventions for public facilities influence our attitudes towards civic leadership, and are at odds with stated principles of equity and inclusion.

Gregg French

Dr. Gregg French is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Windsor. He also serves on the Board of Director for the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, is the Coordinator of the Local Black History Internship Program, and is the co-chair of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences’ EDID (Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Decolonization) Committee. Dr. French’s research explores race-based identity formation and projections of power in colonial, post-colonial, borderland, and transnational spaces.

His current book project, entitled America’s Hispanic Empire: Antecedents and Identity Formation in the U.S. Imperial Experience, is under contract with the University of Nebraska Press. Over the past few years, Dr. French has published articles on “The Writings of U.S. Hispanists and the Malleability of the American Empire’s Spanish Past” and how understandings of race influenced U.S.-Spanish relations in the Caribbean Basin during the Reconstruction Era.

Dr. French is also an award-winning instructor who teaches courses on U.S. history, American foreign relations, cultural history, and colonialism. Since the fall of 2021, he has taught a graduate course entitled “Monuments and Memory,” which critically examines the connections that exist at the intersection of identity, memory, power, and memorialization. As of result of the course, Dr. French is currently compiling an edited volume that will showcase the works of his graduate students.

In his spare time, Dr. French can be found tending to this vegetable gardens or walking with his dog around the Halifax area during the summer months.

Lana E. Talbot

Lana was born and resides in Windsor, Ontario. Lana’s passion is to create art and her history is told through her work. Lana has become a local griot of black history within Windsor and surrounding communities. Lana’s creative talents include the visual arts , performing arts, which include needle work and interior design which she studied at St Clair College. Lana also has created one of a kind heritage dolls. Lana is the historian and tour guide at the Sandwich Baptist Church which received commendation from the Heritage Minister and her church, Sandwich Baptist, was decreed an Historic Site in 2000.

Lana is the co-founder vice-president of The Artists of Colour.

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