Gun violence, unemployment, poverty, access to education – they aren’t “Black youth” problems, they’re societal problems, and so Canadians of all stripes must band together to find solutions.
That’s the opinion of Conservative Senator Don Meredith, who will be in Montreal Saturday, Oct. 18 to attend the Jamaica Association of Montreal Inc.’s 52nd anniversary Heroes Banquet, which will also celebrate 52 years since Jamaica became an independent country.
A businessman and an ordained evangelical minister, Meredith was appointed to the Senate in 2010 and became the first person of Jamaican descent to hold the position. He is spearheading an attempt to create a National Youth Strategy, which would better organize government services aimed toward helping youth.
Prior to his appointment, he was involved in initiatives to curb gun violence in the Greater Toronto Area; an issue he says has worsened.
“My fear is that (the violence) is only going to continue to increase amongst our young people,” he said.
Part of the solution, he says, lies with the education system – children who are having issues or who may be at risk need to be identified earlier and support for those students must more easily follow them throughout their educational careers. Parents must also play a more active role when it comes to their children’s learning.
“We can’t leave it up to the teachers and administrators to produce a successful product without engagement from parents,” he said.
Meredith pointed out that Canada and Jamaica’s relationship is as old as Jamaica itself, with Canada officially establishing diplomatic relations with Jamaica in 1962, the year the latter country gained independence. He has led three Canadian delegations to Jamaica to help create business relationships between the two countries.
The Jamaica Association of Montreal Inc.’s 52nd anniversary Heroes Banquet takes place Saturday, Oct. 18. Cocktails are at 6:30 p.m., dinner starts at 7. Admission costs $80. For information: 514-737-8229.