By Lincoln DePradine
St. Lucia-born Gwyneth Matthew Chapman, founder of the Canadian Black Caucus, says Black community economic empowerment is one of her main objectives of the job she has just taken up in the City of Brampton.
“This is about work and getting the work done,’’ Chapman told The Caribbean Camera.
Chapman has been appointed senior advisor in the recently established Black, African and Caribbean Social, Cultural and Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Unit.
According to city officials, she will “support and lead the establishment of the unit and develop its action plan on eradicating systemic anti-Black racism in Brampton’’.
Brampton’s mayor, Patrick Brown said the aim of the unit, is to “continue creating true equity’’ in the city of 650,000.
” We are experiencing an important moment in history where we see our communities coming together to collectively confront systemic anti-Black racism. As public office holders, we recognize it is incumbent on us to take meaningful action that leads to real change,’’ he noted.
Chapman, community advocate, motivational speaker and a recipient of the 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Contribution to Canada, said that “economic development and empowerment within the Black community are some of the biggest things” on her mind.
“I don’t want to see the next generation and the generation after that carry the load of inequity, of injustice, of racism and all the isms,’’ she said.
Brampton’s hiring of Chapman has been welcomed by a broad cross-section of the Black community.
“Gwyn Chapman is the perfect choice for the position,’’ said Sandy Thomas, a counsel with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and founding-president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.
Veteran journalist Royson James said Chapman “is a community treasure that Brampton is now inheriting. There are few people with a bigger heart and more passion and greater love for people of colour in the GTA’’.
Politician Garnett Manning, a former Brampton mayoral candidate, describes Chapman as a “visionary leader who always has the Black community at the centre of her decades of community involvement. Her passion and enthusiasm for success are in line with the vision to get Brampton on track. We could not have asked for a better person to lead this important initiative’’.