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    Hillary LeBlanc

    Hillary LeBlanc

    JAYU, a registered Canadian charity that strongly believes the arts provide the strongest platform to share human rights stories, is hosting the HRFF+ (Human Rights Film Festival+)  in December. The HRFF+ is an annual multi-day event celebrating the intersection of the arts and human rights with films, poetry slams, comedy, youth-led exhibitions, awards, panels, talks, keynotes and more. The ByBlacks team was fortunate enough to speak with Desiree McKenzie, a JAYU affiliated, Toronto-born and raised spoken word poet. 

    The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) and the Environics Institute for Survey Research have released a nationwide survey sponsored by Pfizer Canada, which confirms “the reality and scope of racism in Canada and its effects on Canada’s racialized population.” The researchers write that while most Canadians feel that “race relations both in the country and in their local community are generally good, they are less likely to believe this than two years ago. This worsening perspective is most significant for Black Canadians (49% of whom now say race relations are generally good, down 23% from 2019), and just over half of Indigenous Peoples (51%) are least likely to describe race relations in Canada as generally good.”

    Clinton Davis at Le Salon Dieppe/LSD Beauty (Photo Courtesy of Clinton Davis) Clinton Davis is a Toronto-born and bred entrepreneur, husband and father who relocated to the east coast eleven years ago. During his time as an entrepreneur, he’s owned several businesses.

    Like most people, last week I watched Dave Chappelle’s new special The Closer on Netflix to see what everyone was talking about. As someone who is considered Black Excellence, when Chappelle releases a special, Black folk will clear their day to see what this legend is making jokes about now. I was disappointed and confused as I watched the special and listened to Chappelle go on and on about his feelings toward the LGBTQ+ community, and how he felt they had a deep dislike for him. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I had no idea there had ever been beef between Chappelle and the queer community, and was confused he chose his final special in this set with Netflix to explain the dislike the queer community seemed to have for him, while seeming to worsen the relationship.

    In two posts that came up recently in my Facebook “memories”, I talk about my Blackness. In one, I discussed being asked, "how do I like Canada?" When I informed this person of the fact I am Canadian and have been so my whole life, they replied, they “didn’t know I was."

    When I was two years old, my mom brought me to Highfield Square Mall on Main Street in Moncton, New Brunswick to get my first pair of big girl panties.

    As some places in Canada enter their fourth wave, we have some provinces finally taking up “Vaccine Passports” (Immunization Records) to prove you have been vaccinated to gain access to non-essential places and services like the gym, the movies, bars and restaurants. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a very definite divide between those who were willing to wear masks and not, then those who wanted to be vaccinated and those who refused. Obviously making vaccines mandatory to enter some locations has further split communities on where they stand during this pandemic.

    Over the last fourty days, Justin Trudeau faced a lot of scrutiny for calling an election during a pandemic when it was wholly unnecessary. Many people felt it was a waste of money, time, and resources on top of putting the health of Canadians at a blatant disregard by asking them to go out and vote while also encouraging distancing and safety. As someone who works in Community Health, I was not only shocked that an election was being held during a pandemic, but also what this would mean for the racialized, underprivileged, poorer communities already struggling much more deeply with the reality of the pandemic. 

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