Happy 150th Canada!
I would use this opportunity to thank the Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson for his passion and dedication to the City of Ottawa. Making Ottawa the rainbow of the world is really rewarding for the whole country. But as an immigrant ‘black’ woman & a social activist for more than 30 years, living in Ottawa, I will like to pause to reflect on the Ottawa Social Lives for the black community, as Canadian everywhere is enjoying or rejoicing the 150th mega celebration in the city.
Let’s take a look a little deeper in the mist of all year long celebration in Ottawa.
– What exactly the black community is celebrating in the Capital of Canada??? Should we ask?
*The lives of our black youth are imperiled – the majority of our black youth is called ‘troubled youth’ – end up imprisoned on ‘Innes Road’ that becomes a permanent address for most.
The new generation of black scholars is making waves with university & college degrees and is even being described as well educated black future entrepreneurs. Some come out with high honors; with valuable sums of full scholarships . But where are the top jobs in the Capital for them? Can they start their professional lives here in the Capital? Who’s making that preparation for them? Are they on the priority list of the Federal Government?
Please let them know where they can sign up!
Social Welfare System for Black youth – the two solitudes
Our black youth are pushed to open arms’ gangs in Ottawa and even more so for franco-youth. The head gang does not need to make any effort because the child welfare is their easy access for recruiting ; their everyday reality leaves no room for them to breathe a different air.
What about our ‘black’ seniors or black retirees in Ottawa?
You hardly heard of them because Ottawa statistic shows only the well-to-do seniors feeding the charity organizations. Immigrant black elders are so ignored; so absent from Ottawa head lines that it seemed they came here to Canada to simply swallow their isolation, their non existence from the broader social overview. And yes. They are suffering in silence as their miseries become way of life for them.
What about the Law & Order in Ottawa – Ottawa Police Services
It takes Ottawa more than 20 years to promote ONE black constable to Inspector. Are you asking how many ‘black’ inspectors serving the police? How many ‘black’ officers in Senior positions at OPS? Well, we do need and shall ask for a fact sheet on OPS black officers. Should I be the one asking? or should the police board keep us inform about fair community representations to reflect the city of Ottawa population or society? The black community went to Ottawa Police Services asking to work together for fairness in service delivery. In 2003, the whole city of Ottawa was light up with a report – COMPAC. That year, the multicultural community and in particular the black community thought they have seen the light as OPS told them to rest assured that the 50/50 in recruitment of new officers will become the new norms for years to come. Well, the City of Ottawa truly become diversifies at every rank But not at the OPS.
2017 – Where are we now?
Happy 150th Canada – Ottawa wake up! Please
About the writer
Jocelyn Constant is a well-known Black community leader and social activist. She has served on the boards of many volunteer-based community organisations in the national capital including La Cité Collegiale, Rideau RockCliffe Community Centre and Global Peace Network.