2nd Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 152, Issue 27

Thursday, February 11, 2021
The Honourable Pierrette Ringuette, Speaker pro tempore

Black History Month

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I also want to speak about Black History Month and showcase the work of young leaders in my own backyard.

Over the summer, I had the absolute honour of virtually attending a forum featuring young leaders of African descent in British Columbia.

First, we heard from Fatima Diriye, who spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on young people of African descent. Fatima talked about the impacts she has faced as a Black small-business owner. In spite of the challenges she is facing during this pandemic, Fatima reminds us that “flowers don’t grow without rain.”

Samantha Musoki shared a moving presentation on the importance of communities building new opportunities for youth of African descent. Samantha highlighted her first-hand experiences of working with youth, as well as her own upbringing. Samantha urged all professionals and those in positions of power to ask themselves: “What can you do as a person to improve your community?”

Mariam Arafati spoke about the effects COVID-19 has had on young mothers who had been forced to stay at home either due to the lack of affordable options for child care, unemployment and loss of employment, or all of the above. She wants to know: “What can the B.C. and federal governments do for mothers to ease the stress and burden of COVID-19?” And what mental health supports are available to them?

Godas Muhoza is a performing musician and artist. She gave us a glimpse inside the impact COVID-19 has had on musicians and their financial well-being. Amid all these obstacles and uncertainty, she sees her community coming together against racism and she sees music as one of the things that is going to unify it.

Finally, we heard from Lilian Mayombo, a remarkable young woman and an incredibly talented poet. Lilian generously performed two original poems for the forum. I was moved by every word Lilian spoke. I want to leave you all with just one line from the second poem Lilian shared with us: “Together with our leaders, nothing is impossible.”

Honourable senators, after hearing these young peoples’ powerful presentations, I am confident that they are the ones who will continue the fight for a brighter future for Canada. Thank you.