“Not black enough” organizations excluded from a federal program

“Not black enough” organizations excluded from a federal program
“Not black enough” organizations excluded from a federal program

Velma Morgan, president of “Operation Black Vote”, said she had received an email from the Department of Social Development on Tuesday, where she learned that the organization’s candidacy did not demonstrate real governance. by people who identify as black.

In a second email the next day, the ministry explained that the request had not been approved because we had not received the information needed to move forwardsaid Ms Morgan.

As if we were incompetent or stupid enough to believe that the second email replaced the first, Ms. Morgan told The Canadian Press.

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She argues that “Operation Black Vote,” a nonprofit, multi-party organization that aims to elect more black people to all levels of government, is one of five black organizations – at least – to have suffered such refusal.

Specific conditions

The program, called Supporting Black Communities in Canada (ACNC), provides funds to charities and nonprofits run by Black Canadians to help them build their capacities. The guidelines for nominations say that at least two-thirds of the leadership and governance structure must be people who identify as black. The organization’s mandate must also focus on serving black communities.

Ms Morgan claimed there were only black people on her team. She also argued that the other organizations she is aware of should not have been excluded either for the reason set out in the first letter.

If you are from the black community, you know that they are led by black people and focused on black people, she said.

Hussen rebuts his officials

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen quickly indicated on Thursday that the initial letter sent by his ministry to unsuccessful applicants was completely unacceptable and that he had demanded an immediate retraction as soon as he saw it.

In a Twitter thread on Thursday evening, Minister Hussen wrote that he had met with his officials to discuss how such an error could have happened and that he had implemented new measures to make sure this never happens again.

I will continue to work with black Canadian organizations to improve our systemssaid Hussen, who also referred to the systemic obstacles he himself faced as a black person.

The ministry did not respond to questions on the reasons for the situation on Friday and what officials plan to do next.

Morgan said the Liberal government should hire more black people to sit at every decision-making table.

This is a sad example of what happens when we are not represented.

Velma Morgan, President of Operation Black Vote

The Ontario Black History Society, a registered charity dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of black history and heritage, is one of the groups that received the two letters. In an emailed statement, the organization said the ministry had not provided any reason why its request was rejected outside of the content of the two letters.

Former MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who left the Liberal caucus several months before the 2019 election to sit as an independent, said many of the organizations that did not receive funding preferred not to say anything publicly. . She argued that these organizations feared that speaking out would lead the government to deny them other funding opportunities.

Why should these organizations be afraid to try to speak out when something is wrong?, argued Ms. Caesar-Chavannes, who posted copies of the ministry’s letters on Twitter after obtaining them directly from the organizations.

Ms Morgan said the letter also arrived after months of waiting, as her organization asked for help purchasing equipment and modernizing its facilities in June. She said the organizations were told they would receive a response in September, but received no response until this week.

We hardly get any money from the government, she said, while adding that the rejection will not affect her group’s ability to function.

There are organizations that work with the most vulnerable in our community when it comes to mental health or poverty, and these are the types of organizations that need funding to increase their capacity.

The winner of the Viola-Desmond Prize, Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes in Ottawa last April.

Photo : The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick

Ms Caesar-Chavannes said the number of organizations that contacted her has increased since she posted on the subject on Twitter.

It’s dehumanizing to have to keep proving [notre appartenance à la communauté noire]. How many different obstacles do we have to overcome?

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