CBWC | Waterloo

Chapter History

Waterloo Chapter History

The Waterloo Region chapter of the congress was formed in 1988 at the home of Veronica Norris-Lue. 12 Women formed the first chapter (one of 8 in Ontario) and our first local President was Chloe Callender. 

By working independently and by partnering with other organizations, our Chapter runs programs to benefit local communities, particularly but not limited to Black communities. Partnerships are very important to the success of our Chapter. Our organization is in partnership with many organizations, including: The Kitchener-Waterloo Multi-Cultural Centre, Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, The African Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, Bring on the Sunshine, the Waterloo Region District School Board, and the ACB Network, just to name a few.

Waterloo Region and its members have worked quietly and consistently over the years to improve the lives of women and their families across our region. We undertake several projects, and organize many social, cultural, and educational events. 

Our Annual Work:

Annually we support Black History Events around the Region. In partnership with other organizations we not only celebrate Black History Month, we provide and support education, and advocacy for Black History worldwide. Black History Month is an opportunity to highlight, and also understand and talk about Black History throughout the year. 

The Ladies’ Tea in June at the Historic Green Gables Guest House in Kitchener at which we recognise and honour the efforts of our members and local Black women. The Tea is now in it’s 27th year. 

Annually in September we hold the Awards of Excellence Event in partnership with the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region (CCAWR) at which several scholarships are awarded to local Black youth who have involved themselves in the community and are pursuing post-secondary education in Canada. The Award Applications are released around March, due in mid-July, and awarded in September. To date we have awarded scholarships to 125+ youth.

We Are Working On:

In the wake of all the issues around anti-Black racism, it has become increasingly important that we address the lack of representation of visible minorities and BIPOC people in the halls of power. To address this, we have representatives participate in various community committees such as the Equity and Inclusion Committee of WRDSB, Age Friendly Waterloo and Kitchener Committee, the Youth Black Brilliance Programming, and the Regional Anti-Racism Advisory Committee. 

Leadership training for Chapter members and other Black Women.

Delivering discussion forums and workshops that will benefit the mental health of the community, in the current COVID – Black Lives Matter environment.

Enhance and build partnerships eg. with the Indigenous community of the Region. 

Enhance technological capacity to enable effective operation in the current environment.

Create an Intergenerational organization of daughters, mothers and grandmothers to benefit the community.

What we do in WR:

  • The Waterloo Congress advocates for social justice issues through letter writing to officials or by attending public meetings.
  • Participated in forums/walks focussed on ending violence against women
  • Participated in Panel Discussion on Combating anti-racism in Education, Health, Employment and Policing – ACB Network Waterloo Region
  • Held community consultation on THE BLACK EXPERIENCE PROJECT
  • Work with WRDSB on Systemic Racism and Anti-Black Racism (Ongoing)

Our Partners

  • Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Center
  • Caribbean-Canadian Association of Waterloo Region (CCAWR)
  • The School Sisters of Notre Dame
  • African-Caribbean Association of Waterloo Region
  • Bring On The Sunshine Group
  • Caribbean Kitchen
  • Waterloo Region District School Board
  • Maranatha Lutheran Church
  • Mount Zion Lutheran Church
  • St James Lutheran Church in St Jacobs
  • LINK (Linking the African Diaspora in Waterloo and Wellington Region) 
  • Traces (Steel Pan Band)
  • Acoustic Steel 
  • Guelph Black Heritage Society
  • Registry Theatre

Executive Team

Our Executive Team is comprised of elected members from Waterloo chapter.

Marcia Smellie


Maedith Radlein


Janet Forde


Chloe Callender


Committee Chairs

Our Executive Team is comprised of elected members from Waterloo chapter.








Black female boss talking at a meeting

Past Presidents

President Year
Patricia Rischewski
Janet Forde
Veronica Norris-Lue
Chloe Callendar