1834 Global Initiative designed to increase representation of Black Canadians in Government

By Lincoln DePradine

Velma Morgan

An attempt is being made by a national organization in Canada “to address the underrepresentation of Black Canadians in government’’.

It’s being done with the launch of the “1834 Global Initiative’’, a program series spearheaded by Operation Black Vote Canada (OBVC).

“We need the representation of Black Canadians in diplomacy and international relations across the world. 1834 Global is our answer to the question of how we inspire and motivate youth in our community—to pursue careers that will influence policies locally and globally to make a difference in the world around us,’’ said OBVC chairperson Velma Morgan. “These programs are designed to train the next generation of Black leaders and decision-makers, locally and globally.’’

The 1834 OBVC programs are named after the year slavery was abolished in Canada.

Each program, to be held virtually over nine weeks, will be conducted by “expert leaders in global affairs,’’ according to OBVC. “Black Canadians, between 20 and 35 years old, will be prioritized.’’

OBVC, founded in 2004, is a non-profit, multi-partisan organization whose goals include “increasing the representation of Black Canadians in politics, civil services, agencies, boards and commissions at all levels in Canada’’.

Among other things, the organization also has committed itself to providing “training and workshops to candidates about the political process at all levels’’, as well as to encouraging “Black Canadians to run for political office; and to “highlight Black candidates and celebrate Black elected officials’’ on all their social media sites and at their events.

A session in the 1834 Global Initiative begins in January and OBVC is inviting applications, saying space is limited.

Participants, OBVS officials say, will receive “information, specialized training, resources and networking’’.

The deadline for the submission of applications is Monday, October 3. “The ideal candidate should have a keen personal interest in international relations. In addition, they will be expected to commit their time to participating in the program,’’ an OBVS news release said. “Successful candidates will be notified in November.’’

OBVC “truly believes that representation matters’’, Morgan said. “It is essential that we have our unique lived experiences and voices at the decision-making tables where public policy is being developed.’’

Youth interested in the OBVC program, and requiring application forms and additional information, are asked to email 1834global@obvc.ca