Focussing our lenses on the good and the bad
Turn the pages of this issue of The Caribbean Camera and you will find, as in past issues, some good news as well as some bad news.
While we are always happy to present the good news, we are certainly not prepared to pretend that bad news does not exist in our Caribbean Community or elsewhere.
In fact, we focus the lenses of The Caribbean Camera on both the good and the bad.
Let us take a look, first of all, at some of the good news in this week’s edition of the paper.
These days as the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic grabs the headlines around the world, it is refreshing to read something that lifts our spirits and inspires us as a community to move forward, to improve ourselves.
One such story is highlighted on our front page. It’s the story of Nicholas Johnson of Montreal – an engineering graduate of Princeton University – who is the recipient of many academic awards.
We are specially proud to note that this graduate who is of Caribbean background – his mother is Jamaican and his father, Bahamian – is the first Black student to be named valedictorian in the university’s 274-year history which goes back to the time of slavery in the United States.
In a recent interview with CNN, Johnson did not lose sight of this fact.He pointed out that being Princeton ‘s first Black valedictoran holds special significance to him, particularly given the university’s ” historical ties to the institution of slavery.”
And he expressed the hope that his achievement motivates and inspires younger Black students, particularly those interested in STEM fields.
We hope that it inspires all Black students, especially those who have encountered barriers to learning.
Let us now turn to another good news story. It’s about Dominique Anglade who has become the first Black woman to lead a provincial political party in Quebec.
At a time when Black people in many places are still having to fight for the right to vote, Anglade, a 46-year old former cabinet minister who was born in Montreal to Haitian parents, has become the Quebec Liberals first Black leader in the party’s 151-year history. A major achievement in our Caribbean community.
And make no mistake about it: Anglade speaks the language of leadership. After she was acclaimed leader on Monday, she declared that ” now is the time to dare to build a Quebec that is proud of its roots. is inclusive and modern.”
And she reminded fellow Liberals that the work begins now and that it is together “that we will build tomorrow.”
The task ahead for Anglade will not be easy but we wish her well and we hope that her leadership will serve as an inspiration to many others in our community to play an active role in the political life of our country where all is not well.
Let’s now turn to the bad news This week week we focus our attention again on the major problem of gun violence in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.
A headline points out that the problem is still on the rise in Toronto amid the pandemic lockdown. And the accompanying story points out that compared to this time last year, shootings in the city have increased by 13 per cent while gun homicides have increased by seven per cent. Alarming statistics.
“I’m not sure how many lives we have to lose to make a change to gun violence,” noted Sureya Ibrahim, co-founder of Mothers for Peace at a virtual meeting in Toronto last week to discuss the problem.
Clearly, there are no easy answers to the problem as growing numbers of mothers in Toronto continue to morn the loss of their young men through gun violence.
And community advocates tell us that social conditions that lead to violence such as poverty, inadequate housing and education, and a lack of community supports will be exacerbated by COVID-19.
Louis March, founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement of Toronto says – and not for the first time – that political leaders need “to change their approach” in dealing with the problem.
He has suggested that we need a strategic action plan crafted by government officials and those who really know what is happening on the streets to deal with the scourge of gun violence.
We hope we can find an answer to this knotty problem as soon as possible.
We also hope that the inspiring messages of the high achievers would reach out to the young troubled people in our community and that they can be persuaded to give up their guns and improve their lives.