Kanada: Akua Benjamin

I look at the world through the prism of social work. That's who I am, that's who I'll always be.

— Akua Benjamin

Akua Benjamin is a noted activist, lobbyist, grassroots organizer, educator, and advocate for peace in Canada. A native of Trinidad, Benjamin has dedicated her life to fighting for the civil rights of marginalized populations, especially immigrant women and other women of color. Her intervention and advocacy have contributed to bringing to public attention the increasing need for changes to the social, economic, political, and cultural structures and systems that keep women and their families marginalized and suffering discrimination.

Akua's work has impacted the lives of many women through her active community involvement, sometimes at great sacrifice to her personal life. While gladly devoting a large measure of her time to her role as an activist and social-change agent, Akua also headed a single-parent household. Her responsibilities included raising a son, juggling full-time jobs as social worker, human rights worker, community organizer, and faculty member, as well as pursuing postsecondary studies. Throughout all of these full-time responsibilities, she undertook her community work on a voluntary basis, giving considerable time, energy, and often finances to these organizations. Her activism comes with other costs as well. She has come under attack by the media, and several newspaper articles have attempted to delegitimize and marginalize her efforts at drawing attention to racism and injustice. Akua says her career in social work grew from lifelong interests in community development and the promotion of human rights. As a social work educator, she has taught courses on community practice, group work, antioppression, ethnic diversity and social issues, intercultural communication, and families in the Caribbean. Her research interests and community work are in the areas of antiracism, crime, feminism, equity, antioppression, human rights, and other related social-justice issues. She has worked extensively with coalitions that focus on meaningful social, economic, and political change, and is currently a member of the management team on a project examining the impact of racism, violence, and health issues on African Canadians and their families.

Congress of Black Women of Canada-Toronto Chapter Coalition of Visible Minority Women National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women