McMaster students win awards for empowering Black students and community 

Edwin Thomas
March 16, 2023
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

The winners of the Reverend John C. Holland Awards are recognized for their achievements and contributions to the Hamilton community 

On Feb. 18, the Hamilton Black History Council hosted its 27th annual Reverend John C. Holland Awards ceremony to celebrate Black youth and adult achievements in Hamilton.  

As stated on their website, the HBHC is a non-profit organization that aims to promote and celebrate the history of people of African descent in Hamilton. The organization hosts events and programs with the aims of elevating the Black community through awards, showcasing Black history and responding to the needs of the youth and families in the community. 

The Reverend John C. Holland Awards, named after a minister that became the first African Canadian to be named “Citizen of the Year” in Canada, celebrate excellence in Hamilton’s Black community. 

Among the 23 scholarship and bursary winners, McMaster University students Omowonuola Adelusi and Keionna Cousins won the Audre Lorde LGBTQ+ scholarship and general achievement bursary, respectively. 

Adelusi, a first-year student in the Integrated Business and Humanities program, co-founded the DeGroote Black in Business organization within the DeGroote Commerce Society. With a focus on empowering Black commerce students, the club aims to develop Black students’ business skills, increase Black student representation in the DCS and at DeGroote and McMaster and share the experiences of Black students to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion practices for the rest of McMaster. 

Adelusi hopes to reduce barriers faced by women and racialized communities, along with empowering Black, queer voices in STEM. 

Cousins, a first-year Business student, volunteers with the Help a Girl Out Organization, which provides free access to reusable and disposable period products, and hosting educational workshops and anti-period stigma campaigns. Additionally, Cousins is an EDI director of external relations in the DeGroote Commerce Society and participates in the Black Students Alliance

The awards event highlighted the outstanding contributions of Black students and adults to the community and highlights HBHC’s mission to promote and celebrate the history of people of African descent in Hamilton. Through events like this, the Hamilton Black History Council continues to uplift and elevate the Black community in Hamilton. 


  • Edwin Thomas

    Edwin is in his fourth year in the BHSc program. He has been part of the Sil since 2021 when he created the Behind the Beat miniseries for A&C and now reports on sustainability and environmental issues. Outside of the Sil, he can be seen shredding the guitar, baking or eating eggs benny at any given brunch spot in Hamilton.

    View all posts
Subscribe to our Mailing List

© 2024 The Silhouette. All Rights Reserved. McMaster University's Student Newspaper.