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BLACK BRILLIANCE: A Love Letter To Benazir Tom Erdimi

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

I want to acknowledge the privileged it is to share my work on the stolen and unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe people. As a settler who benefits from the establishment of Canada as a colonial state with colonial governing regulations, education systems, and the continuous exploitation of Indigenous land, I recognize the importance and urgency of unlearning colonial practices and creating space for Indigenous resurgence here on Turtle Island.

Benazir is a third-year student at uOttawa completing a degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights with a minor in Civil law in French. She is from Chad, specifically the Zaghawa tribe, and immigrated to Canada in 2011. Benazir is beyond impressive; her love for reading, writing, photography, and public speaking, coupled with her extensive extracurriculars, reflect her strong work ethic and eagerness to learn about the world. 

In 2020, she created and participated in an educational video called the Racism Video Project. This video digestibly explains various forms of racism, including police brutality, institutionalized racism, microaggressions, and racial profiling. At the same time, it incorporates stories of Black Americans and Canadians who lost their lives to racism and police brutality. The video is informative and an impactful resource that she was able to discuss on CTV Ottawa. 

Benazir also founded the People of Tomorrow, an initiative meant to acknowledge excellence and appreciate the stories of Black youth in educational fields, art, social justice, science, and additional areas. 

She is a spokesperson for the Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition, and you can find recordings of her powerful and articulate press releases on the organization’s Instagram.

She works for the University of Ottawa Students’ Union, specifically the Racialized and Indigenous Student Experience Centre (RISE). In her role as a Digital Events and Campaigns Supervisor, she works closely with the coordinator and other members to create, plan, and execute events, workshops, and campaigns aimed at furthering the development of RISE. As part of her job, she coordinates with other groups and organizations, both on and off campus, to ensure the centre is engaged with the campus community. Benazir also runs the centre’s marketing content and social media platforms and writes poetry in the time she has left.

With much excitement, she looks forward to expanding on her current and future projects and cultivating her creativity through videos, photography, and writing. Benazir is a very eloquent and hardworking individual who never lets herself lose focus of her goals. 

When asked how she balances all her school, work, and additional projects, she expressed that school is her highest priority, and for all the other projects she makes time accordingly. However, she has an unwavering dedication to her studies.

Besides being one of the most booked and busy university students I know, she radiates softness, kindness, and a joyful sense of humour which only amazes me more, because how the hell is she doing everything? Benazir is one of the most genuine women I know, who always has something kind and encouraging to share. She embodies brilliance as part of her daily routine.

Sophia is a third-year student at uOttawa pursuing an Undergraduate Degree in Honours Psychology with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She enjoys brunches, cafe-hopping, movie musicals and spin classes. Find her on Instagram @sophiaa.hj !