North

'It's no longer a dream': New initiative aims to boost Black engagement in politics

Newly formed Black Voters Matter (BVM) Canada (West & North) partner with Black-led organizations to encourage political change.

Black Voters Matter Canada hosting workshops to encourage Black involvement in federal politics

Ambe Chenemu is the chairman and one of the founders of BACupNORTH, an advocacy group that represents the interests of Black Northerners. He says this is a chance to help Black northerners create the change they want to see in the government by being an active participant on the inside. (Submitted by Ambe Chenemu)

Northern and western Canada has a new organization advocating for Black involvement in federal politics.

The newly formed Black Voters Matter Canada has partnered with the federal parties and Black-led organizations to host workshops about running for federal office as a Black person.

Ambe Chenemu, president of BACupNorth, says this is also a chance to help Black northerners create the change they want to see in the government by being an active participant on the inside.

"I feel that this is the opportunity for us to start to educate our community on what it means to really get involved and that it is possible. It's no longer a dream," Chenemu said.

"It is something that can be a reality and it's definitely one of the mandates of our Black advocacy to empower northerners to reach their full potential and aspirations in terms of being involved."

The event election series will feature a Black parliament member, federal candidate or campaign organizer from the Liberal, Green, Conservative, and NDP to talk about their personal experience running a campaign as well as how to successfully be nominated as a federal candidate.

The final talk is scheduled to be a panel discussion about Black women in politics.

The hope is to encourage more Black people in western and northern Canada to run for office. It will also give the participants a chance to connect and network with others interested in politics.

"I think that people are doing a lot of things on their own and sometimes it's just much, much [more] helpful when … there's a community behind you that is open to support you and guide you along this process," said Chenemu. 

The Zoom session will be held on weekends throughout March. Those wanting to participate can sign up on the group's event page.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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