Mobilizing My Privilege
As a Member of Provincial Parliament, I was the Anti-racism and Equity critic portfolio for Ontario. Sure, I could table Bills and debate key issues that illuminated the urgent need for anti-racist work, but how else could I mobilizing my privilege?
Introducing the BELA Awards
The more provincial award ceremonies I attended, the more I noticed that Black recipients were missing. No matter why it happened, this inadvertently suggested that there weren’t enough Black people or Black-led organizations deserving of provincial recognition.
I wanted to change that.
Enter the Black Excellence in Leadership Awards (BELA) awards.
So, on March 21st, 2021, we not only celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We also launched the BELA awards to recognize, honour, and celebrate Black leadership across Waterloo Region.
And we didn’t stop there!
The following year we shared a document with the Speaker of the House. What document, you ask? Well, this document outlined the history and the goals of BELA.
I wanted all elected officials to get to know the work Black leaders were doing in their ridings. And we knew that we were on to something with BELA.
Now, you’ll never guess what happened next!
My team was thrilled when we heard back from the Speaker’s office: The Speaker saw the value of this opportunity and thanked us for our hard work. Then we received a formal statement from the Speaker, congratulating the winners for 2022. We included it in the ceremony too. BELA 2022 was a wonderful celebration!
(Watch the BELA awards 2022 below to learn more!)
Introducing “People in my Hood: A Philosophical Podcast”
“People in my Hood: A Philosophical Podcast” aimed to show that everyday people are powerful leaders. Now the conversations were not specifically about race or racism. But we created a space that would allow for those conversations when we needed to have them.
Curious about what that looked like?
Well, on December 10, 2021 we wanted to speak about the representation of Black, Indigenous, and other non-white racialized (BIR) people in Waterloo Region’s child welfare system. Although people were aware that this over-representation existed, many thought our local system was immune to those statistics. To help me flesh this out, I invited the former Advocate for Children and Youth in the province to join me in conversation with a Black mental health practitioner from my neighbourhood. What a powerful conversation!
(Watch the December 10, 2021 episode below to learn more!)
Introducing “Leading with Love”
I was honoured to have my pitch accepted by Midtown Radio.
What pitch, you ask?
Well, this was a radio program that would explore the idea of “leading with love.”
Here, mobilizing my privilege looked like my choice of guests. I wanted to highlight leadership by BIR people so I made sure to keep an eye on our guest list. We made sure that BIR guests were not overlooked.
(Tune into Leading with Love on Midtown Radio below to learn more!)
The lesson here?
Well, sometimes it’s about incorporating diverse voices in our conversations. And sometimes it’s about focusing solely on BIR voices.
However you do it, and no matter how big or small your reach, remember that creating space is key to mobilizing your privilege.