Black women get­ting more po­lit­i­cal than ever be­fore

StarMetro Vancouver - - BIG OPINIONS - Vicky Mochama

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 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.

COUR­TESY ANDREW STAWICKI

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.

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