Our history is vibrant
As English-speaking Black peoples, we have a rich history to celebrate. We descend from ancient, innovative and culturally-rich kingdoms, and we are more than the story of dependency that has been written about us by others.
In more recent history, our English-speaking Black community (ESBC) has been a bedrock of Montreal, from the Black railroad workers in the late-19th century who connected this city to the world, to the waves of Caribbean and African immigrants in the 20th century who demanded and won recognition of our civil rights, to our current community leaders who are committed to helping every Black family thrive.
What percentage of English-speaking Black people in Quebec live in Montreal?
of Black English-speaking Quebecers live in and around Montreal
Source: Black Community Resource Centre
We’ve come up against multiple barriers to inclusion within the province and city that we call home. In spite of this we’ve collectively built Black-led organizations that sustain joy, solidarity and growth for Black individuals and families.
And so, we celebrate the richness and beauty of the African diaspora in Montreal, and applaud the collective work that we do each and every day to support our community.
Our challenges are changing, and we are adapting
Despite the many contributions we’ve made to our city, anti-black racism and language discrimination is fueling higher rates of poverty, food insecurity, housing precarity and unemployment since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent language laws are further restricting our community’s access to vital public services in English, including healthcare and education.
At the same time, many of our longstanding Black-led community organizations, built with love and as resistance, are struggling more than ever. After decades of being denied access to funds and resources, there’s no longer any room for many ESBC organizations in their current forms to provide the level of support our community members need.
How much of every $100 in foundation grant money goes to Black-led organizations in Canada?
of every $100 in foundation grant money goes to Black organizations in Canada
Source: Foundation for Black Communities
It’s no wonder our groups are struggling to continue running critical programs. With founders and leaders aging and leaving succession gaps, thousands of English-speaking Black community members are now at risk of permanently losing access to vital social services, support and cultural connection.
Our organizations need skilled staff, technical capacity, appropriate physical infrastructure, and stable funding support to adapt to shifting community needs.
At this time, our community is at a crossroads. So what do we do?
We support each other.
The Ujima Project: a new story is written
Introducing the Ujima Project by ACDPN, named after the third principle of Kwanzaa. Ujima means “To build and maintain our community together, make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.”
This project is all about our collective responsibility. We have a duty to come together, to help each other and to leverage our strengths to maximize our ability to address our community needs.
The Ujima project features three pillars:
How organizations can get involved
The Ujima Project will welcome successive cohorts of organizational leaders as part of the Ujima Incubation Hub, designed to provide targeted, collaborative training for ESBC organizations to build their capacity in key areas, such as funding, human resource management, governance and more. Info sessions for the first cohort will be held in March, with the program starting in April.
In addition, we’ve launched the Ujima Virtual Library to give you access to key organizational development resources with just a few clicks. The Library is an evolving space that will be regularly updated with new and relevant tools.
It takes a village - and this village is ready
Thank you to all our community partners who have joined us so far for the Ujima project.
We especially want to thank Mayor Gracia Kasoki Katahwa for sharing remarks during our recent launch event, and express our sincere gratitude to our funders SRQEA, CHSSN, and Groupe 3737 who helped make this program possible.
The more we work together the more we can accomplish. Together, we are writing a new story of our community – one of royalty, resilience, bond, and collective responsibility.
The journey starts now – join us!