December 2018 / Toronto - As we wind down the year, it is time to take a step back and reflect on what has been accomplished, what positive change or impact we have had, and how we will appreciate our accomplishments through self-care and organizational care. We do not do enough of this as advocates and practitioners in the public benefit sector. This is as good a time as any to start.
Executive Director's Message
It has been a very busy last few weeks as we prepared for and welcomed over two hundred sector leaders to our biennial Executive leadership conference; and marked forty years of OCASI’s policy advocacy, activism and sector development with a successful gala. It was a time of celebration, of congratulatory remarks, and acknowledgement of the resiliency of the sector and the impact it has had on the lives of tens of thousands of refugees, (im)migrants and Canadians. We laughed, we danced and we debated and we learned.
It is the beginning of August and as it is every year after the celebration of the Caribbean Carnival formerly known as Caribana, and the celebration of Emancipation of people of African Descent from enslavement in the Americas (including Canada), there’s always this sense that this is the beginning of the end of summer.
July 2018 - The Friday before the long weekend and our national recognition and celebration by some and resistance by others of the formation of our country Canada, we were greeted with unexpected and disappointing news. The newly elected government of Ontario had decided to disregard tradition and do away with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. The Ministry has played an important role in Ontario’s economic development plans.
It is late Spring, feeling and looking like summer, a few days after I returned to Ontario after being away for a week on vacation in Jamaica (yes, I voted in the advance poll!). I came home to a province of mixed political and emotional sentiments - A Progressive Conservative majority government which some find concerning, wondering and worrying if the public policies and programs that they’ve worked so hard and long to bring to fruition will be done away with.
After being away from my office for two weeks, travelling the country for various meetings all having to do with women`s rights, feminism and the role of States and Governments, I came to my desk and sat down to check my messages. The first message to play was from a colleague from British Columbia, I`m yet to meet in person. Her message? She was calling to gauge my interest in discussing the re-establishment of a national immigrant and ‘visible minority’ (racialized) women’s voice/organization/coalition.
It is a windy, icy mid-April Spring morning as I turn my thoughts to the beginning of a new fiscal year and what it means, especially this year, for us as a Sector.
"Your silence will not protect you" - Audre Lorde