Fireside Chat with Justice St. Pierre
Kelsey Sibanda sat down with Justice St. Pierre, Justice of the Provincial Court of British Columbia (Port Coquitlam), UCalgary LLB, 1994, to discuss navigating law school as a Black student, ways to help prospective students interested in pursuing law school, and being a steward in the community.
Q. Please introduce yourself by telling us about your law school and career journey, as well as any fun facts that you would like to share with us?
I was born in Vancouver. I know a little bit about my biological parents as I was adopted at birth. My biological dad was from Trinidad, and my biological mom was a white Russian Menonite. I was born in the 60s, and that union was not going to work in some communities. I was adopted into a mixed race family. There were 5 kids (me, my Black brother, my Indigenous sister, red haired freckled white brother, + foster kids). It was like a total united nations family. At any given time, we had up to 10 children in the house. So it was a busy family. My brother and I were the oldest. We stayed in B.C, and then we moved to Sherwood park. Did high school there. It was a school of 2000 kids, and there were maybe 4 or 5 Black kids. When you grow up Black in Western Canada, it's a different experience because you are in the extreme minority to the point of you being a token. Eventually I went to high school there and music was a huge part of my life, my mom is a musician. I played in a band and put myself through school.
I went to the University of Alberta, and my undergrad was in psychology and philosophy which I loved. I think the best years of your life are those undergrad years, I still have fond memories of that, especially hanging out in HUB mall and eating at Ho Ho’s Chinese food. I loved it. As part of a radical group of socialists that wanted to change the world, it was fun. I finished that, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do after that. I thought I’d be a professional musician, so I tried that for a little while and worked at a music store to pay the bills for like 3-4 years, and it was fun. It was a great part of my youth. My friends were passing me by doing careers in professions and actually making money. It got to a point where I was like, “I can touch this out, or get a back up plan going.”