Newcomer Information Centre celebrates Black women

Panel members pose for group photo                                            Photo copyright Black Ottawa Scene

Newcomer Information Centre hosts Black History Month celebration of Black women

Saturday 17 February

Ottawa’s Newcomer Information Centre celebrated the 2018 Black History Month with the theme: Celebrating Black women’s achievements in the community. The event, held at the Bronson Centre, featured a panel discussion with four of the city’s women community leaders and activists: Joanne Robinson, Black History Ottawa’s Events Coordinator and former President of the Jamaican Ottawa Community Association; Ketcia Peters, Co-Chair Community & Police Action Committee and former Secretary of Black History Ottawa; Natalie Domey, Membership Coordinator of Black History Ottawa and founding member of the Young Leaders Advisory Council; and Magdalene Cooman, Employment Engagement Director World Skills, and moderated by Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, Co-Chair, Justice for Abdirahman Coalition. 

Each panelist spoke to the following questions: 

  1. What does Black History Month mean to you? 
  2. What challenges did you face as black women and how did you overcome them? One example that would inspire the audience!
  3. What motivates you as black women to do what you are doing in the community? Work live balance and community/civic involvement/engagement?
  4. What advice would you give to young black women? Or, what advice would you give your younger self?
  5. How hopeful are you about racial equality given the official announcement by the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau that Canada will be celebrating the decade of the people of African Descent?

Each panelist spoke of their individual life experiences from those with strong parental influences to those whose lives had been shaped by mentors both male and female. This was followed by a question and answer session from the 60-odd audience. Panel members spoke of challenges of facing racism, sexism in the work place and their personal lives; setting up a new business, balancing their community engagement activities with family life and regular employment, and generally dealing with inter-generational conflicts and other myriad issues facing girls and women of of colour.  


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