Union United Church Reopened at Last!

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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was originally closed in 2011 in order to deal with the issues of mould and asbestos, as well as water damage and outdated wiring and plumbing.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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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The Creation of the Black History Round Table: a Tribute to the late Jean Doré, former Mayor of Montreal

Adieu Jean Doré. Doré, former Mayor of Montreal, opened City Hall to all minorities by inviting them to participate in the democratic process of decision-making about the kind of city they wanted. During the Jean Drapeau administration, the Black community had acquired limited access to the city’s civil service due to the interventions of the Black Community Council of Quebec. As a result, some substantial community services in sport and recreation were provided but Drapeau remained distant from our events and community.

 

However, under the Doré administration we sat at the policy tables at the levels of the MCM party, the city and the boroughs. This set a pattern for the years that straddled the two subsequent administrations of Borque and Tremblay. Doré’s style of administration was characterized by his receptiveness to voices from the minority communities and the administration’s commitment to creating a socially cohesive Montreal with safe, welcoming neighborhoods.

 

Black cultural activities flourished under Doré’s administration as part of a very direct and planned strategy of cultural tourism and community development. There was significant support of Black culture, theatre, carnival arts, and festivals. The city’s support and funding of the Caribbean Carnival was at no time stronger than during the Doré administration. In fact, Vue D’Afrique, Carifete/Carifiesta, Rhythm du Monde and Black Theatre Workshop were formally considered as integral elements in the city’s strategic plan for cultural tourism during Doré’s term.

 

For the first time in the history of Montreal, the City’s administration created a department responsible for cultural communities’ development and hired a significant number of Blacks. Perhaps the most visible association and trend-breaking policy of his administration was the recognition of February as the month that all Montrealers would celebrate Black history and the contributions and presence of Blacks here. There are many Blacks who say that Black History Month should be celebrated every day, not just in February, and there is certainly no one stopping us from doing that thanks to Doré. However, draping City Hall in huge streamers that flow in the wind and read “Le Mois de l’Histoire des Noirs” is no simple achievement in French Quebec. It marks the depth of the relationship between Jean Doré and the Black communities, as well as the respect and value that his administration accorded our place in Montreal. It underlines the pluralism practiced by the new leadership in Montreal and by their initiatives to update and reform the attitudes of the informal, private culture of the city’s civil-service, and police about Blacks.

 

Doré leaves behind his legacy of humanism, his support and encouragement of our participation in Montreal’s social and political life, as well as the decision-making processes of the city.

 

By Clarence S. Bayne

 

 

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

Job Opportunity

BCRC is Hiring Seniors’ Animators

BCRC in Cote-des-Neiges is about to start a Seniors’ pilot project. This project’s goal is to “create 20 social activities to explore how English-speaking Black seniors can better embrace aging and explore their past contribution to, and future participation in their community.” BCRC is in search of two part-time Animators to deliver this project in Cote-des-Neiges. If you have seniors’ experience, and have ideas about how to break seniors’ isolation and encourage active lifestyle choices, then please consider applying.

Job Qualifications

• Seniors’ Animator
• Significant knowledge of social and health services as they relate to seniors
• English fluency necessary. Competency in both official languages preferred
• Minimum Academic Qualifications: CEGEP AEC/DEC or 2nd year university (special care/human sciences or related disciplines)
• Strong awareness of, and familiarity with, Caribbean culture, folklore or history
• Pertinent experience planning or animating activities with aged population(s)

Skill Set Sought

Good communication skills (will lead group discussions)
Able to build and nurture trusting relationships
Good listening skills
Can create, organize, and animate a variety of workshops
Appropriate and healthy conflict resolution skills
Can work in a team
Ability to maintain activity log and provide progress report to supervisor
Survey experience an asset

Job Details

• Available part-time: 23 weeks (July 6, 2015 to December 11, 2015)
• Must be able to start July 6, 2015
• Flexible project hours: afternoons and early evenings (10 hrs/wk)
• Salary is 16$ hourly
Application Options

a) Send or drop off CV: 6767 Côte-des-Neiges, Suite 497, Montreal, Quebec H3S 2T6
b) Email CV: Executive Director, bcrc.qc.ca@gmail.com (subject: Seniors Pilot)

All CVs must be received by June 30th for consideration. Please include references. BCRC is open Monday-Thursday 10-5p.m. Positions open to those with pertinent qualifications and experience, however, only those retained for interview will be contacted.

Photo Credit: Scott Strohmeler

Standing on Their Shoulders Supports NCC’s Picnic 2015

 

This past July 25th 2015, the organizing committee of the NCC/Royal Arthur Reunion held their 5th annual picnic in Angrignon Park. As early as 7:00 a.m., volunteers, organizing members and the Standing on Their Shoulders team were preparing for the crowd of hundreds.

The purpose of this annual reunion picnic, is, and has been, to reunite all who had attended Royal Arthur School and the Negro Community Center in Little Burgundy.  This year was special as the NCC is now just a memory, an empty lot; the building stands no more…

 

Standing on Their Shoulders had the very exciting opportunity to set up a story-telling tent, where the picnic goers shared their stories with our researcher, Kai Thomas. We were fortunate to have so many people share their memories about Little Burgundy. The tent served as a means to collect and corroborate facts for our youth videos yet it was also a place for people to reminisce. There were many emotional moments. It was great to see people laughing and some even shed a tear. Unfortunately, time being short, and stories plentiful, we did not have the opportunity to speak with as many people as we had hoped. It was wonderful to see the interest, as they waited patiently for their turn to speak with Kai.

 

The space in Angrignon Park that was allocated to this event filled up by early afternoon. Food was in abundance, music played, people danced, and smiles were everywhere…Joy filled the air. The atmosphere was simply amazing! The Standing on Their Shoulders team was grateful for the opportunity to witness such an outpouring of love and appreciation of a community that has grown together and is ‘Standing Strong in Spirit’.
A special thanks to our volunteers and to all those who supported the picnic by purchasing our t-shirts, which will help us defray unexpected costs and keep the machinery going.

 

 

Photo Credit: Ozgur Mulazimoglu