Community organizer Valarie Steele, a longtime member of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC), receives the BADC Legend Award from Lloyd Wilks,
Jamaica’s Consul General in Toronto, at the seventh annual Dudley Laws Scholarship Brunch, held recently at the Jamaican Canadian Centre.
Keynote speaker at the brunch was Nancy Simms, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity at Humber College in Toronto.
This is an excerpt from her address.
‘Our ancestors did not give in and neither can we’
“Spiritual wickedness in high places.” That’s how Nancy Simms, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity at Human College in Toronto, describes systemic anti-Black racism . Simms who was the keynote speaker at the seventh annual Dudley Laws Scholarship Brunch. held recently at the Jamaican Canadian Centre, told members of the Black community that “the higher our spiritual engagement, the less impact racism has on our minds and bodies.” The following is an excerpt from her address at the brunch organized by the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC):
A recent study shows that Black people living in Canada are almost two times more likely than White Canadians to be treated with disrespect. Frequent experiences of disregard and disrespect are linked with a greater chance of overall poor health.
Finally, anti-Black racism is primarily responsible for the overcompensation of Blacks in the workplace and the community. You know the mantra; we have to do more and be better than everybody else. As such, we are often the last employee to leave at the end of our shifts and indeed, we provide more services than most in both our paid jobs and our community work.
This persistent overextension of ourselves for long periods results in various health issues and burnout.
Signs of burnout include:
- feeling exhausted, empty and lacking in emotions
- losing our passion, losing our drive and losing our sexual desires.
This relentless overextension of self can become self-destructive and soon we, I, determine my/our value by doing more and more. I am inviting you to STOP and as my mother would say, “a no the same day the leave fall that it turn brown.” We cannot give what we don’t have and we cannot show care when we are constantly running on empty.
What are some strategies that we can incorporate into our lives to counter anti-Black racism? Well, there is nothing new under the sun and surely, we as a people have all inherited the gift of connecting with the spirit. Sometimes, we forget.
In honouring the time, I will provide three suggestions.
One, for our children it is important that our homes are safe, both psychologically and physically. Two, you cannot walk this parenting role alone, you need to have Black role models around.
You do not have to go very far. BADC is the home of several men and women of great repute and excellence and I know they would be willing to give a hand when needed. For my own child,