BCRC Black Community Leadership Forum for June 16, 2016

The Black Community Leadership Forum will be hosting a working conference of its member organizations and partners on June 16, 2016. The Forum was approved by the BCRC Board of Directors at its Board meeting of December 7 2015. The Conference will be held at 6767 Cotes des Neiges and, very shortly, the agenda and invitations will be sent out to the BCRC’s member organizations, collaborators and supporting agencies.

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together BCRC’s associated organizations, partners and collaborators to revisit and update the Val Morin Agreement of 1992. The meeting will re-affirm the basic principles of cooperation and collaboration. For example, the organizations and its members’ commitment to strengthening the vitality of the community by focusing on the health and vitality of its members. We will also continue to search for new strategies for education and development of the youth and future leadership, as well as strengthening and supporting families and enrichment of the lives of the aging subpopulation. Another topic will involve seeking greater community support for the arts, cultural and educational institutions central to the shaping of our identities, and improving the channels through which we contribute to the creation of a sustainable social and economic environment, a just, equitable and more inclusive and empathetic society.

Within that framework, the intent is to revisit the current evolved strategies of long term community development with a view to encourage the support and cooperation, of the community and between the community and partners. We also hope to expand the cross cultural communication and exchange of ideas and best practices, as well as replace intuitive and untested impulse decision making by a planning process that is information based, dynamic and responsive to change. We will also work to strengthen the existing relationships within our network by exploring more fully the use of communication and information technologies for knowledge transfer within the network of members and collaborators. And, finally, we hope to encourage and promote the development and effective implementation of strategies that benefit the total community. That is to say, we give preference to social economy engagement as opposed to purely individualistic private profit or self-serving activities. The market does the latter better that we can.

The Black Community Forum was originally created in the early nineties by the “Table de Concertation” for the English Speaking Communities of Montreal in response to the expressed desire of those communities “to develop a cooperative planning process” as an engine for its development. Initially, it was intended to be a forum for “informing and involving the wider community in the policy initiatives being discussed at the Table with the three levels of Government.” Protocols for the Forum were created over a six week period by some thirty community based organizations and presented and approved at the Val Morin conference in July, 1992. The Forum worked on an informal basis for five to seven years, at the end of which all of its sub-committees came under the coordinating functions of the BCRC. The BCRC inherited, hosted and provided administrative support to three sub-committees approved by the Table de Concertation: the Heath Committee, the Education/youth sector, and community economic development community committees. Arts and culture was subsumed into the community and Education function. The key agencies given the arts and cultural mandate were West Can Dance, Cultural Agency and the Black Theatre Workshop. Other agencies used cultural camps and programs for arts and culture. These agencies include the QBBE, the BCCQ Community Associations and the Black Studies Center Cultural program for mixed race families. The community economic development initiatives lost its central focus and community significance and became divided up between competing entities: CDN-BCA, YES Montreal, a research oriented collaboration between ICED Concordia and QBBE, the Black Studies Center, and the Government of Quebec Black Entrepreneurship Fund.

The 10th Black Community Leadership Forum retained a sense of strategic unity by holding meetings hosted by the BCRC. The Forum held its tenth meeting, on April 13, 2004, to discuss support for three community projects and to coordinate the collective community’s (French and English) submissions to the City’s Black Task Force, Chaired by Marcil Trenblay. As a result of Community initiatives coordinated by the BCRC, with the support of its Black French partners ( Maison d’Haiti, La Ligue de Noirs, and the Black History Month Table), Marcel Tremblay, Associated Councillor for the Mayor, reported to the Forum and the Committee for the Economic Development of the Black Community that five Boroughs were committed to work to find solutions to “the problems identified by the Montreal Black communities, within the sphere of its jurisdiction, and to employment, dwelling, infrastructures and services; and play a leadership and support role for the proposed initiatives which decision are made by other levels of government.” (Letter dated November 4, 2004, Cabinet du Maire et du Comté Executive, Hotel de Ville). These interventions led to the Yolande James Black Task Force, which reported in 2005.

Since then there has been significant changes in Quebec, Montreal and Canada over the last twenty-five years. There have been changes in demographics, changes in political and social philosophies, institutional changes, economic changes, and infrastructural and environmental changes. Tracking of developments in the Black communities of Montreal has been done and records kept and reported by ICED Concordia, the BSC, and the McGill Consortium for Ethnicity and Strategic Social planning (the Evolution of the Black Community of Montreal), and the City and Provincial Governments Black Task Forces (2004 and 2005).

The Black communities, like all other cultural communities, both minority and non-minority, have had to adapt and react to these changes. In the Black community, new organizations have been created and some have evolved or disappeared. Things have changed since the sixties, partly because of the activism of the sixties and partly because of the dynamism of the interaction of forces and agencies in the environment at large. Now there are a higher proportion of Black youth in colleges and Universities that are Canadian born than was the case 26 years ago. Black education and employment capacity has kept pace with other visible and non-visible minorities. This has been substantiated by the McAndrew Report Commissioned by the QBBE (2004), the McGill Consortium studies, and the reviews of ICED, Concordia. But, while employment income has improved there is still an unacceptably lower probability that a Black person will get a job compared with a white person of equivalent, or even lesser, education status. There is still a perception in the Black community that Blacks are more likely to be the victims of racial profiling. There are real hard questions being asked in the Black communities concerning the effectiveness of the strategies for community development undertaken by agencies in the community, as well as interventions by the various levels of Government. There is a feeling that the breakdown of the united voice that the BCCQ was able to create, in the seventies through to the late nineties, has been replaced by inter-organizational conflict as we return to competing for funds to sustain our presence in the society and the communities.

There is a body of opinion in the Black community that accuses young educated Blacks of abandoning the community; in other words, not giving back. This is frequently countered by the argument that the organizations need to change to reflect social and political changes, new needs and shift to new strategies that are now possible but were not twenty five years ago. Some young, educated Blacks feel that they are in positions where they should be invited to make decisions that impact entire sectors of the society, and that many of the Black community agencies still act as outsiders rather than as Nation influencers. For example, it is clear that the question of the education of the Black child can no longer be addressed simply as a matter of removing racism from the English school system. Because, in Quebec, we have to deal with the larger question of linguistic preferences and the negative impact of the historic struggle between two European settler classes that have become embedded in the struggle for minority rights in Quebec and Canada. This has divided Caribbean cultural groups, which one might expect to be more united around rights and freedoms, along linguistic lines that are foreign to their historical origins and New World experiences and struggles. Also, there are those that believe that they can solve what is a general problem for all peoples in the society, as well as the health of the economy, by setting up a separate school system. Is it possible? And, if so, at what price? What are the real net social and direct, and indirect, economic benefits to the potential participating community members? Can the current models in the community at large be improved to meet our needs with greater networking among us? We hope to hear from experts across communities on this.

It is clear that we need to take a serious look at where we are and where we are going. But, that will require that we do not merely meet and speak with ourselves. There have been initiatives taken by others that must be considered and integrated into our leadership forum. One such situation is the work being done by CQGN in the Education sector as a representative of the constitutional rights of the English-speaking cultural groups and Citizens of Canada in Quebec. Another situation has to do with health, community development, and most specifically art and culture and the recognition of our contributions to the cultural vitality of Quebec and Canada. We will be paying particular attention to the recommendations and implications of new policy initiatives being advanced for our moving forward by two recent community meetings: a community meeting called by the Round Table on December 4, 2015 and the Pan-Black Identities manifesto, approved at a recent Community meeting called by La Ligue des Noirs and accepted as guidelines by the Round Table Meeting of December 4, 2015.

We invite your feedback and comments.

For Full Version of Semaji March 2016 Click Here

And That’s a Wrap: The Final Farewell of the Standing on their Shoulders Project

February 21, a very special day, marked the culmination of an extraordinary project called Standing on Their Shoulders. A little over one year ago this project was birthed, a team was assembled and a community was informed that their neighbourhood would be touched in a way like never before. The mission of the Standing on Their Shoulders project was to capture, highlight and preserve the history and contributions of Montreal’s Black English-speaking community in the Little Burgundy district. This new and different approach was to be separate from past endeavors that focused solely on “jazz” or “the railroad”. This approach focused on a generation of people who first came to create the community of Little Burgundy during Canadian Confederation to find work on the railroad. We also set out to document the effects that would be carried through from generation to generation. Standing on Their Shoulders was all about capturing the history behind jazz legends and historical buildings still found in the community today. However, simply documenting the historical changes ourselves was not enough for this unique project. We intended to involve the community itself to highlight and preserve its history.


The project was divided into three phases. The first was about teaching the history to a new generation of young Black English-speaking youth in Little Burgundy. This was done through a series of workshops and walking tours with youth, along with the support of our partner organizations such as Desta Black Youth Network, Club Energy, Tyndale St. Georges, and Youth in Motion. The second part of the project focused on scouting out 20 youth who wanted to create their own videos capturing Little Burgundy’s history through their own form of artistic interpretation. This phase also included connecting with the elders of the Little Burgundy community to gather as much oral and archival history as possible. This served to provide a pool of information for our youth, who would choose their own piece of Little Burgundy’s history to interpret. Finally, the last phase focused on assisting the 20 young directors in creating their own three minute videos. With our partners from Great Things Studio and Concordia’s CEREV, our youth learnt video directing techniques and got much more acquainted with the history of their video topics. On February 21, 2016, these very talented youth had their brilliant work displayed at our video launch. The videos were rich in history and displayed in excellent quality. Over 200 people came out to attend our event, including all three elected officials from the three levels of government. Our youth were recognized and so were our elders for all of their hard work and dedication.


If you, or someone you know, would like to watch these videos then please stay tuned. They will be available online shortly. You can find out when and where on the BCRC website at www.BCRCmontreal.com.

For Full Version of Semaji March 2016 Click Here

Following the Roots

Hello, my name is Adanne and this is my story of following my roots. It all began when we decided to clean out the attic one rainy day. While cleaning we came across an old trunk that belonged to my great-grandmother.

My great-grandmother was descendant from African slaves that were brought to Brazil during the slave trade. She decided to move to Montreal in the 1950’s and brought her trunk along with her. It was in this trunk that we found letters from my great-grandmother to her sister, who stayed in Brazil. My great-grandmother was Catholic, and extremely religious, so we were quite shocked to discover that her sister had been a Candomble Priestess.

Candomble, also called “dance in honour of the gods,” originated from African religions of the Yoruba, Fon and Bantu regions. However, Candomble also has a strong connection with Catholicism and is considered a syncretic religion because it incorporates various beliefs from different religions, including Islam (http://www.religionfacts.com/candomble). The Candomble worshipers believe that there is one almighty god, named Oludumaré, and various other lesser gods, called Orixas, who act as middlemen between the head god and the people, since people cannot communicate with Oludumaré directly. Each worshiper believes that they have a personal Orixas, who acts as their protector and controls their destiny. This is important since, according to the Candomble beliefs, there is no duality of good and bad; each person must simply fulfil their destiny. However, this is not a carte blanche, any evil you do to another will come back to you eventually.

Believers of Candomble practice their beliefs through dance. These carefully structured dances allow the believer to be possessed by the Orixas. Some of these Orixas’ are ancestor spirits, called Baba Egum, who regulate the community’s moral code through public demonstration during possession. The priests and priestess’s also masquerade as these spirits during important ceremonies.

During the slave trade slave owners and Church leaders felt it imperative to convert the African slaves to Christianity. It was because of this that they outlawed traditional African beliefs, and later Candomble, up until the 1970’s. As a way to keep their traditional beliefs the slaves outwardly practiced Christianity. However, they still met in secret to practice their beliefs and on special religious days. They hid their practices and symbols within the Christian faith, especially in connection with the Christian saints, which resembled their own Orixas. Many people now practice Candomble in the open as a way to reclaim their culture and history (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/candomble/).

This was not so for my great-grandmother’s sister, who had to practice her religion in secret all of her life. It was through her letters that we learned of her struggle and dedication. This was why I was so interested in learning about this part of my family history and following my roots back to Brazil.


Please write us about your personal experiences with following your roots! Looking back at personal history allows a community to better understand their own history as a whole. It is through looking at these individual pieces that we begin to see the entire puzzle.

One such experience will be featured in Semaji every issue. Send any articles to ashlie.bienvenu90@gmail.com. We hope you decide to share your piece of the puzzle with the community. Thank you!


The article was featured in Semaji September 2015. To read the full version Click Here

Meet the Participants!!

“The Standing On Their Shoulders project has been a rewarding and eye opening experience. As a minority overseas for much of my upbringing has left me with a desire to connect with black legacies and histories. By participating in this project I have learned a wealth about the rich history of Black folks in Montreal, stories that will leave me inspired for years to come. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity I had to speak with and interview such prominent individuals.”

-Joseph Ariwi


“The “Standing on Their Shoulders” project seeks to uncover black anglophones’ hidden history through storytelling and visuals. It is our way of celebrating our achievements as a people and giving a voice to a community that has been marginalized out of history. We understand that knowledge of self is key to the growth and unity of black youth in Montreal and beyond.”

-Yanissa Grand-Pierre


“We felt that this was an important project to take part in because there isn’t as much recognition for the people who have worked so hard to get Little Burgundy to where it is as there should be. My sister and I chose Jesse Maxwell-Smith because we found that her story was inspiring and that accomplishments like hers are something to strive for. We are extremely thankful that the Standing on Their Shoulders project gave us an opportunity to learn more about our community and someone who helped shape it.”

-Rachel Shelton


“Standing on Their Shoulders is a bridge, in my eyes, to the past in Montreal. They taught me so much about the undiscussed history of Montreal’s Black Community. Without them, I wouldn’t have gained that knowledge and they are a great contribution to the Black Community because of this project that allowed youths to dig into their roots and create something marvellous.”

-Maxwell Step


The article was featured in Semaji December 2015. To read the full version Click Here

10 Million For Christmas: Giving and Reasons for Giving

By Dr. Clarence Bayne


I am prompted to write this as a response to some reaction to “givings” by two Black sport personalities from the English speaking Black Community of Montreal. The first has to do with an abusive attack on the Erene Anthony Family for an alleged gift that was given to Selwyn House; although, in reality, this gift was initiated by Andre Demarais and patrons of the Selwyn House on behalf of the Anthony Family. The second has to do with an under-current of negative criticism from both the Black and larger Montreal community relating to PK Suban’s gift of ten million dollars to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Considering the use that my family, and so many of my friends and their families, have made of the children’s hospital, I say to Suban, “Thank you PK. Thank you for underlining the fact that the Black Community is an equal participating partner in the creation of a more healthy society.” We have been contributing for an incredibly long time in many different ways; but, as Kevin, from his seat in the Dragon Den, would have said, “the money talks.” However, as we see from these previous examples, even money does not quite set one free.


There have been responses to this propensity for negative criticism coming from some unexpected sources, but it is, nevertheless, appreciated and welcomed. However, what I want to do here is to appeal to the rational conscious. We are agents in an environment, interacting between ourselves and our environments. The incredible thing about these multiple interactions is that they cause the environment to change and in turn the agents adapt or change in some unpredictable way. Then we interact in response to the changes in the environment in perpetuity. The world around including us is in constant multi-directional change. In this constantly evolving non-linear system, human agents have the advantage and capability of thought and innovative action. We are capable of learning by action and reflection. In addition, we are social and cultural agents capable of collaboration. Human beings in a landscape act to preserve life, to perpetuate it and to evolve as a species over time. The fundamental human objective is to increase longevity, the number of their species, the quality of life, and spiritual existence over time into the indefinite future.


Groups when faced with a common enemy tend to collaborate when collaboration offers the opportunity for the survival of the group and the members of the group. In a nation state, as belief systems approach states which guarantee security and greater fitness to a larger number of cultural and kinship groups, loyalties to the institutions responsible for improving increased fitness grow stronger among the different cultural and kinship groups. It should not be surprising therefore that Blacks would donate to hospitals that preserve and perpetuate lives.


Giving is a form of sharing, a social entrepreneurial act, and, at the same time, selfish and social. By definition it has to be so for it is motivated by the intelligent strategy which shows that the life of the individual can be extended and protected by preserving and protective the collective. It is selfish in the sense that we have come to realize that our individual chances for survival, the perpetuation and improvement in the quality of life increases when we share information and the surpluses of our creative abilities. So we have a vested and personal interest in sharing. It is social in the sense that we are capable of empathy and love. Being capable of love, we can care about the preservation and wellbeing of other lives and the preservation of the earth.


But, it is also clear that giving is spiritual. It has to do with the sense of being associated with acts that are seen as elevating the human spirit above its material existence, as well as the creation of a legacy that extends our lives through the collective spirit of the society long after the death of our physical and material self. I refer to this as purchasing one’s ticket to heaven in a blazing chariot of glory. However, just as the importance of the widow’s mite as a valuable social act should not be discounted, similarly, the importance of altruism of the wealthy as a motive for giving should not be downgraded. There are rich people who are altruistic in their giving.


There are also economic principles underlying giving that explain how one might go about deciding to give to one cause and not another. The overall objective would be to maximize the benefits over the collectivity in a socially cohesive manner. I think it is not difficult to imagine that a general rule could be that one should distribute one’s surpluses such that the greatest good is done for the greatest number of persons. I do not think that we could be justifiably critical of a social allocation of surpluses in which the intent was just that; and if, in fact, the benefits of that allocation could be evaluated to have been socially equitable, inclusive and cohesive. I think that the Children’s hospital of Montreal would qualify as such a cause for “giving”.


Finally the argument that such gifts are simply an attempt to dodge taxes is simplistic. The policy of tax exemptions for giving allows the donor the freedom to pick an appropriate cause, as opposed to having bureaucrats in the public sector and elected politicians decide on or select our causes for us. For what is not given is either taxed away or disappears unseen by the “Revenue Agency” or the general social collective. Governments also recognize that the private individual has legitimate priorities and preferences that differ from those of government distributive agencies. Accordingly, they respect those rights by exemption clauses in their tax laws. It follows that it is the right of every free being to distribute some of his or her surplus earnings as he or she believes to be most optimal socially, not according to loyalties imposed socially or otherwise.

The article was featured in Semaji December 2015. To read the full version Click Here

New Seniors Project!!

With funding from Canadian Heritage, BCRC has been able to mount a seniors’ pilot project which will run between June and December 2015. The goal is to identify the needs of a group of seniors who frequent the Cote-des-Neiges Plaza. Our motivation is to find ways to get to know who they are, to offer them both constructive and social activities, as well as to share our knowledge of the range of the services of which they could take advantage. Two part-time animators have been our ‘boots on the ground’.  Shimmon and Felicia have conducted face-to-face interviews with many of the seniors asking themselves “what are the needs that exist?” They have also put together a survey and did some preliminary research about groups and social services in Côte-des-Neiges that currently exist for all local elderly.

Armed with this plethora of information, Felicia and Shimmon are now hoping to address topics that can resonate with the seniors. The two have now become a resource and, over the course of the next few months, they pull together some workshops to educate our seniors on issues that directly affect the quality of their life.  They are planning to invite groups and knowledgeable individuals to talk about social housing, ageism, isolation, finances, mental health, and family.

Having made some strong connections while engaging with other organizations, there is a strong desire to work in tandem to create a strong support network that focuses on a holistic approach for our seniors.

Certainly, there will be more challenges ahead but BCRC is proud to say that Shimmon and Felicia have shown dedication to improving the lives of this segment of our senior population.  If you would like to contribute your knowledge or expertise with seniors or you would like to give the team a hand, call Shimmon at: 514-342-2247.


By the Seniors Project team.


The article was featured in Semaji September 2015. To read the full version Click Here


For several years BCRC has been closely aligned with the activities of the umbrella group called REISA. In fact, BCRC is considered one of REISA’s founding members. While REISA is the French acronym everyone uses, in English it stands for the East Island Network for English Language Services. For readers not in the know, the east-end of the island is generally seen as starting at St. Laurent Street and going eastward to Pointe-aux-Trembles. With BCRC situated in Côte-des-Neiges, it seems unlikely that we would have many of our projects in the east end, since most of our English-speaking Black community that we offer our services to, live on the West side of Saint Laurent Boulevard. But this belies the reality of the English-speaking Black community as it has dispersed over the last several decades. Moreover where there are English-speaking Blacks, we can surmise that their needs are similar regardless of their street address.

Like their Francophone members, English speaking blacks have taken advantage of the relatively lower housing costs of the East End, and for many English-speaking blacks living there it is an opportunity as well to immerse their children in the French culture. For these and other reasons BCRC has never shied away from mounting projects, particularly our school projects, in the East end. These projects, under the auspices of the English Montréal School Board (EMSB) are just one part of the story.  Several years ago, when BCRC was asked to join this fledgling group of English-speaking associations in the East it was clear then that our common interest was to find ways to increase the level of English language services in the health and social service network of the East End– for all English speakers living there. To that end, BCRC and other English language, east-end organizations has been quietly, and not so quietly at times, engaging with CLSCs, the CSSS, various borough and city administrations, and local community organizations serving the population of the East. For years it seemed to be an uphill battle to even get the occasional acknowledgment that there were English speakers living there. Reisa persisted, partnered, and continued to work with Francophones to show that their common wisdom also needed to be revised.

Today we can measure some success in the efforts of BCRC in this partnership. REISA has developed a partnership with McGill University’s health and social services sector and now acts as a bridge to many Francophone East End institutions. We now have a project titled the East Island Retention of Health Professionals. Its mission of course is to increase access to health and social services in English in collaboration with the public/private and community stakeholders while at the same time promoting and supporting the training and retention of health and social service professionals in the East End. Through this method we can ensure that English-speaking minority communities such as Blacks have access to services in their own language without having to travel downtown.

This has been a long time coming and we are very excited to say the project is a go. Therefore, BCRC is now pleased to promote internships for black students currently in school interested in working in the East end with Anglophones. REISA, in hand with the French institutions, have now identified a dozen or so disciplines where there is a need for bilingual support. These range from communication sciences, policy studies, creative arts therapies, nursing, psychology, social work, special care, substance abuse, etc. etc.  I would encourage you to visit www.reisa.ca to check out the complete listing.  The hope is that with the rush to the East end, qualified blacks in our community will find good career opportunities later while serving Blacks living on the other end of our island.


By Dr. Dorothy Williams

Sept002                                                           Sept003


This article was featured in Semaji September 2015. To read the full version Click Here

Meet the Animators!!

A behind the scenes look at our Standing on Their Shoulders team! Stay tuned for next Semaji issue in December to meet some of our participants and in March to meet the final three members of the Standing on Their Shoulders team!


STS 3 Jennifer Sinclair–I’m one of the animators on the Standing on Their Shoulders team along with Pharaoh Freeman. Since we began sharing Little Burgundy’s Black history we have been met with such enthusiasm and passion from everyone we met. I have spent as much time educating youth as I have spent learning from them and from Little Burgundy’s elders. I feel so fortunate to have been part of this wonderful project.



Pharoh 2 Pharaoh Freeman (aka Robin)–I’m the co-animator on the Standing on Their Shoulder Team alongside Jennifer Sinclair (aka Batman). I’m really excited to be on this project because it gave me an opportunity to work with youth and learn about the rich history of Little Burgundy. I thank the BCRC for giving me this amazing opportunity.




This article was featured in Semaji September 2015. To see the full version Click Here

Union United Church Reopened at Last!


After four years of renovations, on Sunday, June 14th, the Union United Church, on Delisle Street bordering Little Burgundy, was reopened with a service of thanksgiving thanks to funding amounting to about 1.2 million dollars. The building was originally closed in 2011 in order to deal with the issues of mould and asbestos, as well as water damage and outdated wiring and plumbing. The reason for the four-year delay was because it was not an easy task to fundraise. In fact, they have only been able to obtain money to do the basic renovations, but luckily the rest of the renovations needed can be done with the congregation in attendance. During the four years the Union United Church services were held at Rosedale United in NDG but needed to move to Wesley United three months ago when Rosedale was sold.


The Church was filled with its many members who were elated to be back to their original Church. The Church Choir was joyful and their songs of praise were the perfect backdrop to the congregation’s hymns of thanksgiving. It seemed like the entire United Church family and dignitaries of the community were in the pews, including Dr. Williams, so the best wishes flowed. Ms. Anthony, the Chair, acknowledged our historical project [Standing on Their Shoulders] and BCRC.


The congregation, which filled every pew and balcony in the Church, was treated to a performance from long-time Union United Church member and jazz legend, Oliver Jones. He played on the baby grand piano that he had just donated to the Church. Jones, quite dedicated to bringing the Church back to its former glory, will also be hosting a fundraiser on August 14th called the Dr. Oliver Jones Golf Tournament.








This article was featured in the Semaji June 2015. To read the full version Click Here



Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive

Saturday, June 13th turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. Perfect, not only for the Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive, but for the outdoor bar-b-q. This was possible thanks to BCRC’s partnership with the Hilarious Riders. This group of young professionals have created quite a buzz on their motorcycles fundraising for worthy projects in Montreal and abroad. Through their initiative they got numerous sponsors, including tapping into the generosity of our neighbour, Maxi, who provided the food and even allowed Hilarious Riders to use their parking lot to flip the burgers and grill the hot-dogs. The bar-b-q attracted a whole new crowd to the drive in our center–exactly what it was intended to do. We are happy to announce that the Blood Drive was a smashing success. We surpassed our goal of 75 and reached 92 donors.


Unfortunately, many of our generous community members were not able to give blood due to their low blood iron levels. Statistically, Black women have lower blood iron levels then white women, on which the standard iron levels are based. Good news, however! Héma-Québec will be lowering their iron level restrictions in August 2015 allowing more Blacks to donate.


Thanks to all of our community members who donated their time and their blood to a good cause. Thank you also, to our sponsors Maxi, Tim Hortons, and McDonald’s. We would also like to thank our partners in this undertaking, the Hilarious Riders. While this may have been a new partnership, it was very successful. We look forward to further collaboration in the future.

This article was featured in the Semaji June 2015. To read the full version Click Here