Position Overview

The Animator will be tasked with promotion, planning, structuring, and facilitation of workshops with either a boys or girls group in respective schools. Each group will be run within the project guidelines by the animator who will facilitate structured activities in accordance with objectives set out by the BCRC and the school they reside within. This person will report to the Project Coordinator on activities, issues, and act as an intermediary for general communication between school staff, parents and other facilitators and will be tasked with keeping detailed notes. The Animator(s) will work both in the school, and on occasion in, the community.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Plan and facilitate group workshops in accordance with the program guidelines and the participants’ skills and needs.
  • Develop monthly work plans in accordance with program objectives.
  • Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools and other contacts to help children who face problems, such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
  • Interview clients individually, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
  • Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, Identifying students’ problems.
  • Assist parents with understanding social dynamics of High School, and intervening appropriately with students.
  • Encourage group participants to provide mutual assistance and emotional support to each other.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Psychology or DEC in Social Service, CRLT, Special Care Counselling or related field.
  • Previous experience working with children and families.
  • Excellent oral and verbal communication skills/exceptional client service skills
  • Ability to problem solve and multi-task.
  • Detail-oriented; strong organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure while juggling several competing priorities.
  • Ability to work and problem solve independently and as a team member.
  • Excellent computer skills (Microsoft Office: Power Point, Excel, and Word).
  • Bilingualism (fluency in French and English) is an asset.
  • Crisis intervention skills an asset.
  • Cultural Sensitivity.
  • Experience (or related experience) with “at risk” youth an asset.

All interested candidates ready for this challenge are requested to send their resume to the attention of Ms. Raeanne Francis, Administrative Coordinator. Applications will be accepted until January 30th, 2017. Please note that we will only contact those candidates retained for an interview. Selected applicants must complete a background check and must provide attestation to academic study. We thank you for your interest in working for BCRC.

Job Type: Part-time

Job Location:

  • Montréal, QC

Required education:

  • Diploma/Certificate

By Yvonne Sam

 

As a preliminary step before delving into this somewhat charged topic, it is useful to define racial profiling, as the Canadian populace, in general, use the term to mean different things. For this editorial, I am applying the term ‘racial profiling’ to refer to the law enforcement practice of taking the race of a potential suspect into account when deciding whether to initiate investigation of that suspect. To the more erudite, racial profiling can also be termed “racism in practice”, regardless of whether it is viewed using Heidegger’s phenomenological lens, or any other modes of optic aid. For such an overloaded term as racial profiling it is somewhat understandable that several definitions are attributable to it. To be engaged in racial profiling, race does not need to be considered to the exclusion of other factors. A profile will often contain a variety of factors; but, if one of them is race, then we have a racial profile.

As stated in its mission, and dictated by its organizational values, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, and the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) stipulate that the services provided by the entire staff in all interactions with citizens be free from racial profiling. The SPVM Executive has also made a firm commitment to promote and maintain a strong stance against any type of illicit racial profiling. It is apparent that such a commitment exists only on paper and is not effective in reality. While racial profiling may be defined as unjustified actions by authority figures toward members of a particular race, ethnic group or religion, the actions of the Montreal Police in the 2008 killing of teen, Freddy Villanueva, have served to indelibly sear the issue into the public consciousness at large. Bear in mind that racial profiling is not limited exclusively to law enforcement, but also education and youth-protection systems, where it is seen that youths are unfairly labelled with the consequent risk of being channeled into the criminal justice system.

On November 30, 2016, in a decision on a case filed five years ago by Marcus Gordon, a Black urban entertainment professional, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission has ruled that he was indeed a victim of racial profiling by the Montreal Police and awarded a meagre sum of $2,000 in moral damages. Do Black civil rights matter especially when racial profiling is acknowledged? Despite the straightforward facts, the Commission took almost four years to complete the investigation of the complaint. To further compound matters, although the investigation was completed in January 2015, the Commission’s Complaints Committee only decided the case in October 2016. Despite the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations enquiry, the Commission declined to explain the 1.5 year wait. www.youtube.com/watch?v=knV-_5AEst8).

Currently, there are no racialized managers or members at the Commission. An Indigenous Commissioner has recently resigned, leaving the Commission without any racialized or English-speaking member who, among other functions, makes decisions on cases through the Complaints Committee. According to Fo Noemi, Director of CRARR, this decision sets an extremely disturbing precedent. It fails to send a dissuasive message to police officers and departments that practice racial profiling. Also, on the converse, it can be seen as a very persuasive message to victims of racial profiling that it is not worth filing complaints. A request for a review of the decision has been made by CRARR to the Commission’s interim President, Camil Picard.

With no surprise elements, the most common recurring and familiar instances of racial profiling in Montreal is what have come to be known as “Driving While Black” or (D.W.B). Racial profiling of this kind involves police stopping motorists under the guise that they have committed a traffic violation—usually a minor one. This is where things take a different turn and shape. Although the traffic violation may be the primary reason for the motorist being stopped, the actual underlying reason might include the race of the suspect. Police often assume that African-American drivers are more likely than their white driver counterparts to be transporting illegal drugs. This assumption has been the catalyst for a large number of roadside stops.

A few years ago, an individual by the name of Joel Debellefeuille was out for a drive with his wife and stepdaughter. For the purposes of this story it is important to note that the individual is Black and that the car he was driving was a BMW sport-utility vehicle. Joel was pulled over by two Longueil (Quebec) police constables, because, after running his plates, they reasoned that his name could not possibly match his skin colour. What is of interest in this horrible situation is how misinformed and uneducated these white officers were. For instance, they must have conveniently forgotten the processes of colonization that their ancestors inflicted on people of colour, which included, for enslaved Africans, the stripping of their African names and their replacement with the names of white European slave owners. How Debellefeuille presented himself was also not the deciding factor in his subjection to racial profiling. Rather, the unifying factor is that these Black people, who would all appear to be of middle or upper class backgrounds, dared to desire nice things (“high end” expensive purchases—cars etc.) for themselves. Debellefeuille refused to pay the tickets and persevered for two years in several courts in order to finally win his case.

A similarly mundane, egregious and potentially lethal practice of racial profiling is: “Walking While Black.” This afflicts many in Montreal, as it surely does in other cities in Canada and elsewhere.

This next story is about Jimmy, a recent immigrant to Canada, and his first unhappy encounter with the Montreal Police. In May 2015, Trevaughn, a West Indian national, was walking along St. Catherine Street in the heart of downtown Montreal. He had recently emigrated from the West Indies to be reunited with his Canadian wife. Back on St. Catherine Street, he crossed an intersection beside two white pedestrians. Singled out by a white, French-speaking police officer, Trevaughn was asked to produce his identification without an explanation of his “offense.” However, this attention was not given to the other two white pedestrians with whom Jimmy had crossed the intersection, as they were not stopped and interrogated. A Spanish-speaker and recent immigrant to Quebec, he did not yet speak any French. Instead, the policeman insisted that he would only speak French and demanded that Trevaughn do the same. It is hard to comprehend the level of arrogance, malevolence, and insensitivity that motivated such a callous response on the part of a civil servant whose role it is to “serve and protect.” In conclusion, however, given the frequency of unwarranted police surveillance against Blacks, any type of racial profiling contains the seeds of potentially lethal violence. Traffic stops are a good indicator that the police must stop and evaluate their way forward. Acts such as driving, walking, shopping or banking while Black are not just mundane, they are a constant part of our daily realities in this part of the diaspora, and within the Canadian mosaic. As such, the potential for racist abuse is far too pervasive and needs to be immediately addressed.

 

Morton Weinfeld, a professor of sociology at McGill University, who holds the chair in Canadian Ethnic Studies, said that while action on racial profiling is needed, it is only the tip of the iceberg. “An even more profound problem is that of systemic racism in all dimensions of our society,” said Weinfeld, who pointed to immigration problems, cultural differences and poverty as examples of obstacles facing minority groups. “If racial profiling was eliminated tomorrow, we would still have profound racial inequalities,” he said. “And tackling those problems will be much more difficult and much more costly than simply dealing with racial profiling.” For my part, resolution lies in immediate remedial orientation in the burden of blackness for minority populations in western nations where the legacy of slavery and anti-black racism is alive and well in discriminatory practices like racist policing. There is still a great amount of denial on the part of the stakeholders where racial profiling is concerned; even after so much pain, yet so little gain. Nevertheless, Blacks must not give up the fight, but continue towards the light as victory is certainly not out of sight.

 

Aleuta—The struggle continues.

 

For Full Version of Semaji December 2016 Click Here

 

By Dr. Clarence Bayne

Semaji has published a significant amount of information about the Black Community Forum in previous issues. However, several questions, from key organizations in our community, seem to justify the need for this extended word to the general community. The first question relates to the rationale for such an agency, and the second relates to the authority of this agency.

The rationale for this agency can be succinctly summarized by Leith Hamilton at Val Morin 1992: “We must look at specific things that strengthen and reinforce community structures. The ultimate goal is to get more resources into the community. We must determine how we can help organizations use the funding effectively once they do receive their resources.” This translates into the present set of updated purposes that need to be kept alive in our minds and at the forefront of our actions.

The purpose of the Forum

  1. To develop a process which will identify a long-term development plan for the Black community
  2. To ensure that this planning process is cooperative and collaborative
  3. To identify and promote a structure to support the planning process
  4. To encourage and promote the development of strategic partnerships and networks that benefit the Black community and the larger society
  5. To provide a network for communication, the transfer of knowledge and information, and to facilitate the general expansion of social capital

The second question is really related to governance, implementation, control or autonomy of individual organizations relative to the Forum. Simple. The Secretariat of the Forum acts on the recommendations and decisions of the Forum, which are the collective will of the organizations at the general meeting or forum. It is important to note that the Forum is not an organization with a charter. It derives its power and authority from the voluntary will and commitments of chartered organizations in good standing and formal agreement between organizations and between individuals to carry out certain missions and mandates in an efficient and most effective way possible. The autonomy of the organization is sovereign or subject only to the laws governing its mission and mandate; as well as its legislated agreements with partners and collaborators. The Secretariat acts for the Forum, and is the voice of the Forum, in this restricted way. Under Section 6.5.1 subsections 6.5.1.1 to 6.5.1.13 the updated Val Morin Forum sets the frame work for much of the authority of the Secretariat.

 

The Secretariat of the Black Community Forum

The Secretariat of the Black Community Forum is the Administrative arm of the Black Community Forum, which was created by the will of 45 Organizations at Val Morin in 1992, and re-affirmed at the Second Black Community Forum called by the BCRC Black Community Leadership Forum, June 16, 2016, attended by 50 registered delegates representing 20 organizations. The earlier functions carried out by the BCRC Black Community Leadership Forum will now be carried out by the Secretariat of the Black Community Forum. This was affirmed at the opening Plenary Session of the June 16, 2016, Black Community Forum, held at 6767 Cote des Neiges, Montreal. The Secretariat service of the BCRC, and staffed by the BCRC, works, as part of its mission, to strengthen community organizations. The management and protocols of the Secretariat are independent of those of the BCRC and vice versa. The BCRC simply provides the administrative and information services as required by the protocols, principles and recommendations approved at the Black Community Forum general meeting.

For Example, Recommendation 6.5.1.9 of the Forum plenary requires that the Forum/Secretariat puts in place a mechanism which would keep track of the performance of community organizations or “community events” to determine their strengths, weakness and sustainability, their effectiveness, and social contributions. The objective is to help organizations strengthen their structures and vitality by improving transparency in reporting, mission and mandate accountabilities, and by facilitating the provision of appropriate assistance to Black community organizations in need; especially those that are committed to the principles and purposes of the Forum and have a track record of good service in the community.

The function of the Secretariat

1.Implementation of the Recommendations and Policy Positions of the Forum and further developing the “Procedures and processes for the ongoing review and fuller updating of the recommendations of the Val Morin Forum to reflect the Black community priorities for Quebec today and the next generation.”

2.Overseeing the implementation of the recommendations and policy positions of the Forum, which are guidelines and mandates for the participating community organizations to work on in a manner that follows best practices and good management, and is consistent with their mission and mandates.

3.An important function of the Forum (its Secretariat) “is to provide a meeting place (s) for the community to identify policy issues, to review options, to attempt to develop a consensus whenever possible, and to effectively communicate this consensus”.

 

Source: Community Forum Plenary, Val Morin 3-5 1992

 

Responsibility for Protection of Community Rights and security

6.5.1.10 It is recommended that there be community input into “community events”

6.5.1.11. It is recommended that a special mechanism be developed [as part of the] Economic Development agenda to reduce potential exploitation of the community by [fraudulent and other acts], businesses and individuals

There should be a structure to identify those businesses and individuals in good standing.

The Administrators of the secretariat are:

1.Chair of the secretariat: Dr Clarence S. Bayne, President of the Black Community Resource Center.

2.Mr. Sean Seales (Administrator)

3.Ms Raeanne Francis (Administrator)

4.Member at large (to be determined)

 

Special Committees of the Black Community Forum

A) Rights and Freedoms Committee Chaired by Yvonne Sam

Participants: BCRC Rights and Freedom Unit; Fo Niemi (CRARR); La Ligue des Noirs; CDN-BCA; Michael Farkas (Black History Month Round Table, and Youth in Motion); Mervyn Weekes (UNIA)

Legal advisors: Maitres Dave La Plommeray, Rolf Francois.

B) The Economic and Community Development Committee

This Committee is responsible for rethinking and restructuring of economic development and employability strategic plan for the Black Community.

The Institutional members of the Committee are:

i. Institute for Community Entrepreneurship and Development (ICED), John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. And the ICED Journal. Editors and Associate Editors: Professors C. Bayne and Raaffat Saade; Dr Rezai Goldnaz. ICED responsible for planning a Black Community Economic Summit for late 2017, or 2018.

ii. The Black Studies Center

iii. The Black Community Resource Center

iv. The Quebec Board of Black Educators

v. The CEDEC Montreal

vi. TBA other institutions pending responses

Background of research and practice: Building on the past collaborations with ICED Research team, JMSB, Concordia; EIDMC, JMSB, Concordia and Black Studies Center research and workshops on Black business start-ups and incubation; BCRC-CEDEC collaboration and research on employment and retention of Black graduates in Montreal and Quebec; The McAndrew Study, University of Montreal; Demographic studies of Black Communities of Montreal, McGill University Consortium for Ethnicity and Strategic Social Planning; Black Task Forces of Montreal Tremblay Administration) and the Charest Provincial Liberals; Cote des Neiges Black Community Association and the Yes Montreal community business initiatives; and the Black Entrepreneurship funding initiatives of the Provincial Government (Filation).

C) The Black Community Forum on Culture and the Arts Committee: Pan-Black Identities Defining Manifesto

 Responsibility for creation of a special website for the promotion of Pan Black Identity Events, and its administration, was delegated to the Black History Month Table and approved at the June 16, 2016 Forum. This Committee will oversee admissions to and removal from the lists, and for the review of the Website in a manner consistent with the Criteria approved by the Black Forum. The chair of the Committee is Michael Farkas (President of BHM Round Table). Other members are Clarence Bayne (BSC Archives); Quincy Amorer (BTW); a representative for Festivals (TBA); and Representative for Literature ( Koyla, Black Writers Guild).

D) The Committee for Toponomy: based on Recommendation 6.5.1.7

Forum/Secretariat will create a Permanent Sub-committee of the Forum for researching, Identifying and preparing a list of those significant historic persons whose contributions to Black arts and culture, Black advancement, world peace, order and sustainable development merit recognition in a manner consistent with best Canadian practices in toponymy (A Proposal of BCRC Community Leadership Forum and BSC Joint Archives Committee).

It is proposed that the committee consist of experts and representatives named from organizations whose mission and mandates involve them in research in social history and biographical studies. The Secretariat shall seek expert advice on appoint to the committee two or more experts to be determined by their training and proven skills in this and associated studies.

 

C) The Health Care Committee

Member Groups: BCRC Health Unit and Blood Drive (Representatives TBA); and The Black Mental Health Connection (Representatives TBA).

 

For Full Version of Semaji December 2016 Click Here

 

 

By Rolf H. François

The following is pursuant to our meeting at BCRC on May 5th, 2016 regarding the Meeting of the Ad Hoc Community Meeting on Rights and Freedoms.

During our meeting, I suggested that we identify the reasons why the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse failed to protect Black citizens of Quebec from discrimination. The fact that our struggles are misunderstood or ignored by the judicial system is because, in my humble opinion, the majority of the current judges in Quebec are unaware of our truths. As such, more diversity on the bench should be requested. It’s a shame that our first Black Attorney goes back to 1857, but we still have not had a Black Justice on the Supreme Court bench or on the Court of Appeals for this province. The Courts cannot understand what they do not know; therefore, diversity is part of the solution. Another solution is eliminating discretion. The Supreme Court of the United States, in 1964, stated that when there’s discretion there is no protection. This discretion could be eliminated by legislative action at the National Assembly.

The strategies that were suggested during our meeting, on May 5th, were the following (my suggestions are not absolute and were humbly and respectfully submitted. I do not expect everyone to agree with them):

SUGGESTED STRATEGIES

  1. Social Media:

Social media should be greatly utilized because it allows us to reach an incredible amount of individuals across the world. When speaking of social media, we mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs, etc. For example, in 2013, when the owner of the Buonanotte Restaurant, on St. Laurent Boulevard, was required by the Office quebecois de la langue francaise (OQLF) to change all the menus at his restaurant, because of the fact that the words “pasta”, “antipasti” and “calamari” were not in French, he went public to generate a public outcry. This sad part of our history is commonly called Pastagate. With the exception of the said three words the rest of the menu could be read in French. We can imagine the cost of changing the menus for these three words. Pastagate received international attention in the media, which publicly embarrassed the Provincial Government. Quebec does not want to attract this kind of negative public attention because of the fact that American companies are principal investors in the province. The entire incident was initially fueled by a group called putbacktheflag, which shared the story over 20,000 links on its Facebook and Twitter pages within the first day of the initial story breaking.

  1. Meet with Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Couillard:

If we agree with the premise that the source of the systemic failure of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, to defend the rights and freedom of Black Quebecers against racism and discrimination, lies partly in the lack of diversity on the judicial bench, then meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau and the Premier Couillard should seriously be contemplated. Indeed, according to section 96 of the Constitution Act of 1867, the Governor General shall appoint the Justices of the Superior, District, and County Courts in each Province, except those of the Courts of Probate in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. As we already know, the Governor General makes these appointments after receiving the Prime Minister’s advice.

The justice system of Quebec is currently comprised of only three Black Justices, Justice Daniel Dortelus, Justice Magalie Lewis and Justice Guylene Beauge. Justice Beauge is the first and only judge sitting on a Superior bench of the province. The chances of the people of our community appearing before these three judges are close to none. After a few years of patience, Justice Juanita Westmoreland-Traore introduced, in Quebec law, the concept of racial profiling, which had already been introduced in Ontario years before. If not for our first Black Justice in Quebec, racial profiling would never have been part of Quebec law. This is so because she understands our truth. Indeed, just like women rights in Canada evolved with the assistance of women Justices, we cannot expect our rights and freedoms to be protected and evolve with people other than ourselves on the judicial bench. Premier Couillard advises the Lieutenant-Governor regarding Provincial nominations in the judicial system. Consequently, we would have to meet with the current Prime Minister and Premier to ensure that our people are represented on this Province’s justice system to guarantee multiculturalism and diversity. Diversity will guarantee that our rights and freedom are properly protected.

  1. Speak with our people in the United States of America:

We should inform our people in the United States as much as we can (via emails, newspapers, social media, etc.) regarding what we are currently experiencing and what our history in Quebec is. I wish to repeat that the Provincial Government does not want to attract this kind of negative public attention because of the fact that American companies are principal investors in this province. Our people in the USA will be sensitive to our experience, and might even help or participate in our struggle once they are made aware of it. The boycott of Quebec’s product of industries could very well be from the United States.

  1. Use newspapers/television such as the Gazette, CTV, the Toronto Star, etc.:

We should secure contacts within great mediums, such as the Gazette, CTV, CBC, CJAD, and others, to ensure that our messages are effectively communicated and reach the entire population. For example, Quebec’s French mediums, such as TVA or Journal de Montreal, publish every event that concerns and affects the French language. They effectively make sure that the message passes across the province. Respectfully submitted, papers, such as the Community Contact, are just that… papers for the community; this means it stays within the community. However, greater mediums will provide us with a greater power, due to the fact that our message will reach a greater audience. We should also make sure that the contacts at these mediums make sure to place our concerns as a priority, so that our messages are published in the first pages of the said newspapers, or in the first minutes of the news broadcasting.

  1. Keep a steady pressure:

The pressure on the Prime Minister and the Premier should be constant and steady once our demands are communicated to them, so that they commit themselves. A commitment from the head of government, positive or negative, will form part of our message to be published by the mediums mentioned at point # 4. If the commitment is negative, the population is entitled to know, and the Prime Minister or the Premier should face our discontent. We only get a commitment from them by applying a steady and constant pressure. For example, the UNIA has requested that the City of Montreal honors Mr. Marcus Garvey with a boulevard. Had the UNIA not applied a constant and steady pressure, the said file would’ve been forgotten, and the Borough Mayor, Copeman, would not have made a commitment that the UNIA finds absolutely inadequate. The steady pressure is to ensure that we get a positive or negative answer from the authorities.

  1. Vote and clearly express our demands:

When unsatisfied with a particular policy or response from the proper authorities, one must clearly and openly display their dissatisfaction. We are currently dissatisfied with the ways that we are being treated, but individuals outside our community are unaware. For example, racial profiling is a huge problem in our community, but the authorities are unresponsive because the problem does not affect them directly. When a situation affects the French language, the French people raise their concern immediately: it is raised in the media immediately, the situation is addressed immediately by the authorities, and, if the problem persists, the authorities will face judgment when election comes (e.g. Premier Jean Charest lost his election when the population disagreed with his new policy of raising university tuitions – the students were very vocal when they decided to start a student strike). Racial profiling affects us, and we should clearly, and openly, display our discontent in the media/social media, request corrective measures from the proper authorities (federally and provincially), and, if we are still ignored then, we shall mobilize our community before, and during, election time to make sure that the candidate who supports our demands for change is elected. We need to come out and demand change.

  1. Unity:

The need to have all Black Associations unite is extremely important. Indeed, when a particular association raises a problematic that affects and concerns our community, the said problem concerns us all without exception. Thus, we should all make a common front every time one of us (i.e. Black association) steps forward in the media/newspaper/radio to demand justice. When we will communicate to the Prime Minister and Premier, we shall all sign the letter that will be sent to them. The need for unity does not mean that we should necessarily form one association by joining all the current Black associations. Every association has its own specificity and uniqueness that it adds to our struggle in this province. For example, if CRARR makes an official statement on CTV after filing a motion in Court to bring down racial profiling, BCRC, UNIA, La ligue des noirs, etc. should all join CRARR to demonstrate our unity and will to fight against racial profiling. This requires that the said associations effectively communicate between themselves. The common front demonstrates our seriousness. Together we are stronger! Further, the concept of unity must also apply to the population itself. We should find a solution to unite us all. Language as a barrier should not exist, and we should find ways to conquer those said barriers. In other words, the Haitians on the east end of the Island should be aware that we are defending and protecting their rights as well. Unfortunately, a huge part of them are not aware of the existence of some Black associations. We are not here solely for the English speaking Blacks… Our goal is to protect our people regardless of their origins, and this protection should extend to other races as well.

  1. Speak out, not only for our community, but for injustice:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat for justice everywhere”. We should not only speak out when injustice affects our community. We must demonstrate that we are not only fighting for our people, but for anyone who is a victim of injustice. For example, when a particular injustice affects Quebec’s Jewish citizens, Muslim citizens, Aboriginal citizens, etc. the Black associations should all add their voices to the fight. We should never let the B’Nai Brith fight alone for instance. We should stand by their sides because injustice affects us all, and we should strongly demonstrate our solidarity. For when injustice affects our community, the ones we stood by will stand by us when we are afflicted. If someone is not convinced, and believes that we should only fight for our own issues, let’s not forget that amongst the Jewish people we will find many of our own people. Our people can also be found among Muslims and First Nation Members as well. In my humble opinion, when we fight against injustice there should be no specificity. If we let one injustice pass, another will surely, and eventually, come for us. We are all united against injustice. The prominent Protestant pastor, Mr. Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), once wrote a poem that clearly expresses my opinion: “First They Came for The Socialists…” –

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no none left to speak for me.

It is not right that the citizens of Quebec continuously pay (by paying taxes) to protect the French people’s rights, which they think is absolutely normal, but our monies are not properly used to protect our rights. Finally, just like at my point #7, we are stronger together than we are apart!

  1. Be visible so that our community knows where to find us:

Our community is blessed with many associations that were created to defend and protect our people’s rights. Unfortunately, some of our people are unaware of the existence and uniqueness of some of these associations. Consequently, I humbly and respectfully suggest that we should advertise and make the said associations more visible. I, for instance, know the purpose of CRARR, and, when a young Black man came to me regarding being the victim of racial profiling, I immediately provided him with Mr. Niemi’s contact information. He did not know that CRARR existed. Unlike the associations in the United States, we are not sufficiently visible. I suggest that we use social media/media/newspapers/community newspapers to advertise every association, and that we advertise often, so that our people know who we are and where to find us.

  1. We shall always speak for ourselves and we will not allow others to speak for us:

This last point is very important and speaks for itself. One of the problems that we constantly encounter is the fact that other people state what should apply for us, or what is acceptable or not. For example, Quebec’s definition of racism is one that is not acceptable in the United States. This is so because Quebec’s definition is very basic and does not cover the subtlety of today’s racism. We know what racism is and we should inform and educate other people about it. As another example, the UNIA has requested that the City of Montreal names a boulevard in honor of Mr. Marcus Garvey. The response of the Toponymy Commission was that Mr. Garvey was too controversial, as he was incarcerated for fraud and he entered into an agreement with some segregationist to deport African-Americans back to Africa. Before reaching such decision, the Commission was made aware of Mr. Garvey’s achievements and that he was honored around the world. Despite the information provided, the Commission rendered a negative decision. Mayor Copeman then stated that we should find a more suitable candidate. The UNIA immediately responded that we had submitted a suitable candidate, and that it was not for other people to tell us who was suitable or not amongst our own people. We don’t want other people to speak for us. We shall always speak for ourselves. If need be, we might consult amongst ourselves, unite, and then come out strong.

 

For Full Version of Semaji December 2016 Click Here