Dr Glenda Simms Remembers Her Work in Canada | News
The well-known late feminist Dr Glenda Simms was celebrated for her advocacy for women at a Kwanzaa event in Toronto, just days before her death in Ottawa on the last day of 2021.
At “Kujichagulia – Ring Your Bell For bell hooks – A Hommage aux cloches”, organized by a cultural center Different Booklist: The People’s Residence, on December 27, Jean Augustine – the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Representatives from Canada Commons as Member of Parliament – spoke about Simms disease and the importance of his work.
Akua Benjamin, a retired professor, former director of the Ryerson School of Social Work and activist, said Simms was part of the forefront of black women advocating for social justice in Canada and should be honored.
These accolades were shared at the virtual event held to celebrate Bell Hooks, an African-American author, teacher, feminist and social activist who died on December 15 in Berea, Ky., United States.
Simms served as chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women from 1990 to 1996 and, upon her return to Jamaica, became the executive director of the country’s Office of Women’s Affairs from 1996 to 2005. She was also CEO of Simms. Consulting in Jamaica. However, before that, she broke new ground in the fight for gender equality and social justice in Canada.
“As the past National President of CBW (Congress of Black Women), I mourn the passing of our sister Glenda Simms. As a past National President, she has shown leadership that has guided the formation of CBW as a truly national organization. She was a strong and formidable advocate for issues affecting black women and their families, ”said Augustine.
Augustine says she witnessed Simms’ plea as she lobbied for the voices of women from non-governmental organizations to be included at the tables of the 1985 United Nations Conference on the Status of Women in Nairobi, Kenya.
“Dr. Glenda Simms was a tremendous presence in Canada and Jamaica. I remember hearing her many times, including at a conference hosted by the National Council of Jamaicans, and was blown away by her passion, daring and commitment to giving voice to black women and to so many others, ”said Adaoma Patterson, president of the Jamaican Canadian Association.
“She inspired me and other black youth to own our space, not to be afraid to speak out against injustice, and to work together to make things better for our community. I remember she told many of us that she hoped that one day we would become Prime Minister. Dr Simms left a remarkable legacy that should not be forgotten and should be shared with current and future activists. The Jamaican Canadian Association offers its sincere condolences to his family.
Simms immigrated to Canada in 1966 to take up a teaching position in Fort Chipewyan, in northern Alberta, an isolated region where the children had never seen black and spoke no English. She knew very little about the culture of the indigenous peoples, but as a person who grew up in Malvern, St Elizabeth, she could understand their economic situation.
A graduate of Bethlehem Teachers’ College, Simms became Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Nippissing University College in North Bay, Ont. In 1972 she received her BA in Education and in 1976 her MA in Education from the University of Alberta. Between 1977 and 1980, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge, teaching educational psychology and Aboriginal education. For five years, she headed the Indian Education Department at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College at the University of Regina.
From 1982 to 1987, she was president of the Congress of Black Women. A founding member of the Afro-Caribbean Association, she was also a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee on Affirmative Action to the Treasury Board of Canada; a member of Phi Delta Kappa; member of the board of directors of the National Organization of Immigrant Women and Visible Minorities; and member of the Psychologists Association of Alberta, among others.
Simms has received several awards, including the Black Achievement Award for his contribution to public policy, and held honorary doctorates from the University of Alberta, Queen’s University and the University of Manitoba.
In 2014, she received the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica for her outstanding work in gender development.