This Is Who I Am

This Is Who I Am

As this is my first opinion piece for the Community Contact, I would like to give you a taste of some of the subjects I will be engaging with. But first, I must tell you a bit more about me.
Born and raised here in La belle Province, I am un “Black ben ordinaire”. Born of an African American father and Quebecoise “de Souche” mother, I was adopted and raised in 3-Pistoles QC. (look it up on the map). I was the Black community there.
During my “formative years” I was called or heard the “N” word so many times, that I will fight until my dying days to rid that “maudit” word from our Quebecois “lexicon.” Among all the deplorable racial and ethnic slurs, I strongly believe no others slur is so inflammatory that it has been truncated to a single letter (the “n-word”).

“Work and sacrifice, as important as they are, have never been sufficient to gain blacks more than grudging acceptance as individuals. They seldom enjoy the presumption of regularity, the sense that they belong or are competent, which whites may take for granted.”―Derrick Bell.
I am “pro-policing” but “good policing”! I always wanted to be a cop. After years of frustrating rejections, I finally was accepted by the Ontario Provincial Police at the age of 28. After a lengthy racial discrimination battle against the RCMP, I won and joined the force where I spent 28 years.
I now mentor officers right here in Montreal and across Canada who are experiencing discrimination within their police service. So, the struggle continues and likely to get worse before it gets better for those brothers and sisters.
But racism is not unique to policing. I have borne witness of egregious cases of racism and discrimination of Black workers at every level of governments and within the public sector. I am currently one of 12 plaintiffs in a $2.6-billion class action suit against the Canadian government for Black employees in the federal public sector.
I know also that anti-Black racism is not unique to the federal employer. In October I took on the role of director of Quebec/Francophone operations for the Black Class Action Secretariat which aim to tackle anti-Black racism and discrimination suffered by Black workers wherever it may be found.
I will keep you updated on the movement as it grows in the province.

“Courage is a decision you make to act in a way that works through your own fear for the greater good as opposed to pure self-interest. Courage means putting at risk your immediate self-interest for what you believe is right.” ― Derrick Bell.

My thinking has been highly influenced by Derrick Albert Bell Jr., an American lawyer, professor, and civil rights activist who was one of the originators of critical race theory.
He urges us to accept “the reality that we live in a society in which racism has been internalized and institutionalized,” a society that produced “a culture from whose inception racial discrimination has been a regulating force for maintaining stability and growth.”
However, to counter the permanence of racism, Bell advocates that our fight against it must be equally persistent. Those in power never give anything up without asking something in return.
But this does not mean that we should abandon and submit to an inevitable fate of a lower “caste”.
Through the organizations such as Red Coalition and the Black Class Action Secretariat, I will continue to “fight the power that be!”

Stay tuned, I’ve got lots of interesting and empowering stuff to share with you.