Letter from the Editor: November 2016

Godwin Ifedi Editor

Godwin Ifedi

Good morning folks

Looks like the fall has fallen and we are heading slowly but steadily into the winter months.  Here at Black Ottawa Scene, we endeavour to warm up our readers with choice news and views about our community.  Top Story is the recent society wedding of Marian Azonye and Solomon Eke at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Our best wishes for a happy wedlock for the couple.

The uneasy relationship between the Ottawa Police Service and visible minority communities, however dominates this edition. Most troubling is the report of the Traffic Stop survey which reveals that young persons of Middle Eastern heritage and African Canadians bore most of the brunt of traffic stops in the past two years, far in excess of their population. The official stance is that this does not indicate racial profiling on the part of the Police, but it is hard to argue with the anecdotal reports from Black community leaders, which have always claimed that young Black youth are specially targeted by the law enforcement authorities; and now we have the statistics that appear to support this claim. Either way, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau has a duty to take a closer look at the training methods of his uniformed men and women, and ensure that it emphasizes equality for all in the eyes of the law, regardless of race or ethnicity. The Task Force on Race Relations led by respected Staff Sergeant Isobel Granger, is a step in the right direction. However, this group must be given all the support it needs to do its work and its recommendations must, not only be made public, but be followed to the letter; otherwise the Black community would see it as just another piece of window dressing. Ottawa’s Black community leaders also have a duty to cooperate and collaborate with the Task Force and Chief Bordelau, to ensure there is clear meeting of minds in determining how to move forward in restoring confidence in the Ottawa Police Service. In addition, our youth in particular, must be educated on the need to obey the law, while affirming their right to equitable treatment by the Police.

The report from the CBC about the imbalance in hiring of Police officers across the country, with visible minorities poorly represented in relation to their actual numbers.  It cannot be emphasized enough that the Police like all other public institutions, should reflect the communities they serve; it is the only way to inspire confidence on the impartiality of law enforcement across the nation.

The November edition is however not doom and gloom as we have some very positive news for our readers.  We feature a number of important appointments and awards, starting with the appointment of renowned social work professor, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard to Canada’s Senate and Carol Campbell’s award of the United Way Community Builder award.

Youth Editor Kika Otiono writes a scintillating review of the musical: Da Kink In My Hair; while our interview features a conversation with community developer, Hector Addison. In the Guest Column, we present an insightful view of Africa’s development by Law Professor, Dr. Obijiofor Aginam.

Here is the result of the October 2016 survey:

Door-to-door sales should be banned as they often deceive vulnerable people such as seniors and new immigrants.

Agree 80%

Disagree 20%

Don’t forget to take part in the November 2016 survey, asking if, in light of increasing number of shootings and homicides, you consider Ottawa a safe place to live in.

All these and more in the November edition. Enjoy!

Godwin Ifedi



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