Something she held onto from her birthplace was the deep sense of community, and it's something she hoped to contribute to in New Brunswick.
“We are all connected and should be helping each other to succeed and build a better future for the next generation,” Blanco said, asserting a personal philosophy of service to others.
What started her quest for community building? Devastation.
In the summer of 2019, Blanco and her sons lost everything in a house fire in a rural New Brunswick community.
“We didn’t have anything other than the clothes we went to the beach with,” recalls Blanco of that challenging and scary time. “We didn’t have anywhere to go, and the community here in Moncton helped us so much to get back on our feet.”
This tragedy and the charitable response sparked within Blanco the desire to give back to her community. She recognized how difficult it was for other single parents to make ends meet in New Brunswick, one of the poorest – if not the – poorest provinces in the country.
“At first,” Blanco said, “I helped by bringing 2-3 mothers bags of food here and there.”
Once COVID-19 affected New Brunswick, the situation created by need became dire.
"It became very clear that we had a big gap in our community when it comes to food necessities,” Blanco realized.
This led to Blanco’s charitable organization Queens of Heart. The organization delivered emergency food boxes to families in need throughout the pandemic. After helping over 100 families, Queens of Heart won first place in the "Social Cohesion Lab" pitch competition last May. They are currently working on a Christmas toy drive and continue to share vital information about funds being allocated by the New Brunswick government to the people they assist.
Blanco, not content with just charitable service, didn’t stop there. Blanco also recently ran for Moncton City Councillor in Moncton, New Brunswick. On a personal note, for as long as I can remember, there has never been any Black representation, let alone Black female representation in the political arena in Moncton. Diani Blanco is likely the first Black woman to run for a position as City Councillor in Moncton.
“I believe women in politics are beautiful and empowering to see,” said Blanco of the experience. “When I ran for the municipal election last spring, I didn’t realize how many people were ready to see a change in our community, as well as see their government represent their diversity, life experience and knowledge. I love and appreciate our community very much, so I dedicated my life to helping and working on building a better future for our children.”
A significant concern for BIPOC communities is the lack of diverse candidates on the ballot when voting. Blanco hopes to make finding representation in possible elected officials an easier task for Black, Indigenous and other Canadians of Colour.
“Diversity is very important but inclusion even more so. People need to feel like our government represents what our community looks like. My life journey has made me the person I am today, so I have compassion and can connect with many people in our community. I want to be the voice for those who can’t speak up right now.”