THE BLACK COMMUNITY FORUM SECRETARIAT: Some Clarifications on the Road Forward

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

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



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