Black women getting more political than ever before
“There is no point in negotiating anything with a man like Trump.” “NFL star Jon Ryan is a natural choice for Grand Marshal of Regina’s Pride parade.” “Not enough minds were boggled by the actions of Elizabeth Wettlaufer.”
In a large glass-walled meeting room in Toronto, some of Canada’s brightest, Black, politically minded women came together this Saturday.
Organized by Operation Black Vote Canada, the Black Women’s Political Summit brought together women representing federal and provincial parties and interest groups based on municipal issues, among others.
The political lives of Black women have had a resurgence in the past year, partly Zanana Akande — seen here in 1992 — was the first Black woman elected to the Ontario legislature. She’s now helping to found a new legal clinic.
thanks to the existence of Donald Trump and the attendant resistance to him. It is also due to a wave of feminism that has begun to recognize the contributions of Black women to history. In Canada, we’re still awaiting that full recognition.
Some of the Black women in the room were, and are,
fundamental to connecting the past with the present.
The organization recognized Zanana Akande, the first Black woman to sit in Ontario’s legislature from 1990 to 1994. However, I would be remiss to place Akande firmly in the past. In the next few months, with Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder
Sandy Hudson and others, Akande will be a crucial part of establishing the Black Action Legal Clinic (BLAC). Her work is not yet done.
The passing of the generational torch was an essential part of the event.
Notably, Sandy Hudson noted that her organization has a group of OGS (original gangstas, if you’ve been out of the game for a bit). They are experienced hands who advise the group.
Another young woman asked a panel of four women about how they engage in self-care and manage their stresses. At lunch, women talked about how best to ensure that the work of politicians transfers down generations and from activists to political candidates to campaign managers.
This necessary conversation — of ages and activism, of politics and people —had a certain urgency. Two days before, the people of Ontario elected Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives. There’s nothing obviously and inherently anti-black about the PCS, but the fear of a cut in services, especially those affecting Black people including housing and education, was prevalent and present.
And yet, the conversation focused on the work. THESTAR.COM/OPINIONS