Victoria’s African Arts and Cultural Community Contributor Society are asking members of the Black community and people of African descent to contribute to their Black in BC community needs assessment survey.
The provincial survey, which has been open since May and is being done in partnership with the B.C. government, is gathering Black British Columbians’ experiences with and inclusion in housing, political engagement, justice, mental health, accruing of generational wealth and mass media, said society founder Pulchérie Mboussi.
So far, almost 2,000 people have completed the survey, 1,500 of whom were Black, she said.
Mboussi hopes the results will be used to determine areas to increase equity for Black B.C. residents, as per the province’s commitments to the UN International Decade for People of African Descent. One insight gleaned from respondents so far is that the majority of Black British Columbians have trouble accessing provincial services due to anticipated stigma, she said.
A full report based on the survey, including recommendations, will be released in early 2022.
Rachna Singh, the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism in B.C., recently announced the province’s work towards new anti-racism legislation to replace the 25-year-old Multiculturalism Act.
Additionally, the survey could provide insights to visibly strengthen Victoria and B.C’s Black communities, Mboussi said. She is originally from Cameroon, but lived more than two decades as a Canadian citizen in Montreal before arriving in Victoria.
“It was shocking for me coming (to Victoria),” she said. Rather than embracing Black culture and heritage with the same pride enjoyed in other major Canadian cities, Mboussi found local Black and African descendant residents are forced to culturally assimilate.
“I had the feeling that I was going through my immigration integration again, after 22 years in Canada,” she said, despite the country’s international reputation as a cultural mosaic. “We prefer where our cultural identity is strong – it’s just made difficult for us.”
Residents of Greater Victoria, regardless of race, can complete the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/S9ZBBRF.
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