By John Adeyefa
2018 Year in Review. African Canadian Association of Ottawa
African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) is mandated to unite all peoples of African descent and promote socio-economic well-being of African Canadians in the National Capital Region. One of the goals of African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) is to ensure civic participation and community engagement of the people of African descent; African, Caribbean and Black Canadians (ACBC).
The year 2018 was an exciting year for us for variety of reasons. First, Canada finally recognized the United Nations International Decade for the People of African Descent and the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also recognized racism exists in Canada and we must work to uproot it.
Second, we were able to once again bring the community together through the Multiculturalism Day event in June where more than 1500 community members gathered at the Strathcona Park to celebrate Canadian multiculturalism with an African flavour.
Third, the participation of black candidates in the 2018 Municipal elections. Stated earlier, we exit to promote civic responsibility and participation and that includes ensuring representation on people of African descent in all levels of government. We were particularly proud of the seed our black candidates have sown. We will continue to support that effort to ensure our community is represented in all tables we are supposed to be on. We recognized that more effort is needed in this front. Every four years the pictures of the inauguration ceremony of City of Ottawa Council members in Dec. 2014 and prior reflected the same. We were hoping for a change in 2018.
We embarked on educating, motivating, encouraging, supporting, promoting and campaigning for our Candidates of African descent.
We held seminars to educate our candidates, knocking on doors, dropping campaign flyers, fundraising for candidates and motivating the community to go out and vote. The Municipal Election was successful; the result was an eye opener for our community.
Municipal Election Lessons Learned.
On December 21, 2018 African Descent Community Leaders met with our candidates and acclaimed winners to discuss the Municipal Election and the lessons learned.
Municipal Election Candidates of African Descent Meeting on Lessons Learned
Special Guest Speakers were: Councillor Mathieu Fleury Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier., Valérie Chinan Assoi School Board Trustee of Conseil des Ecoles Catholiques du Centre Est (CECCE), the French Catholic School Board and Denise Siele, Federal Conservative Party Nomination Candidate for Nepean.
Councillor Mathieu Fleury made it known to the African Descent Leaders that diversity is good and needed in Ottawa; however, it will not be presented on a silver platter that nobody will open the door for us; we have to work hard to open the door ourselves.
The candidates informed the Community Leaders that successful Election needs Talent, Time and Treasure. Denise Siele stressed this point repeatedly in both the Campaign Seminar and the Lesson Learned meeting.
Franklin Epape, Ottawa Municipal Council Candidate for Barrhaven Ward 3 addressed the Community Leaders that money is needed to win Election. Municipal Election requires about $40,000.
Dina Epale Ottawa Municipal Council Candidate for Orléans Ward mentioned that door knocking is the key to meet the voters, which is very important in Elections.
Fabien Kalala Cimankinda Ottawa Municipal Council Candidate River Ward 16 advised candidate gains a lot by running in election but should not run if the candidate is not ready to lose. He stressed the need to participate in the decision making of where we call home.
All Candidates discussed the need for strategic endorsement, connections and mobilization are the keys needed to winning Elections.
In the meeting were several African Canadian Association Ottawa Community Presidents and Leaders:
- Patrick Auguste. Moderator; Radio show host, Part-time Professor at University of Ottawa.
- Eldon Holder Snr, Founder ADAT African Diaspora Action Team.
- Hector Addison, A founding member of African Canadian Association and a member of the Ottawa Police Community Equity Council.
- Christiana Ogar, Executive Member of Nigerian Canadian Association Ottawa.
- Jean-Marie Vianney Journaliste, Data Journalisme. Franco Ontarian
- Ismael Awaleh, President Coalition Djiboutienne Francophone De l’Ontario
- Cesar Rimy Emery Ansey-Moussa President of North-South Development Roots & Culture Canada.
- Richard Sharpe Founder of Federal Black Employee Caucus and Co-founder 613/819 Black Hub.
- John Adeyefa. President. African Canadian Association Ottawa.
The year 2019 will be a great year for African Descent in the National Capital Region.
We are starting the year strong with a Gala celebration of the yearly Black History Month on February 16, 2019 on the Parliament Hill. It will be an African Panorama display of our Cultural Heritage focusing on some of the pillars of the United Nations International Decade for the People of African Descent.
About the writer
John Adeyefa is President of the African Canadian Association Ottawa and former President of the Nigerian Canadian Association of Ottawa.
All photos copyright John Adeyefa