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  • Writer's pictureHannah Johnston

The West Island Black Community Association celebrates 40 years serving the community.

The West Island Black Community Association is a not-for-profit organization in Pierrefonds-Roxboro dedicated to empowering and supporting the West Island's Black community. WIBCA is a volunteer-run charity that offers educational programming tailored to all age groups. WIBCA also provides scholarships, senior and youth support groups, a legal clinic, and student drop-in programs.

Celebrations were underway at the Marcel Morin Community Centre on Saturday, June 25th, to celebrate and honor their 40th anniversary. Hannah Johnston had the opportunity to speak with the President of WIBCA, Joan Lee. They discussed the role of WIBCA within the community, its future projects, and the services and programs it provides to nurture its philosophy of confronting racism in the community and uplifting Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) populations.

Local Black-owned businesses took center stage and set up booths to promote their products. Featured were haircare companies JaJa Crown, DES Haircare, and Royalty Natural. Akilah Newton, the founder, and CEO of Big Dreamers, was present and displayed her educational materials for children surrounding Black history and culture within Canada. Food and refreshments were being offered courtesy of food kiosks Nubie Juicy Bistro, a new business featuring Haitian juices, and CeBon, a company producing juices and cake balls.

West Island municipal and borough representatives showcased their support for WIBCA, notably, (from left to right) , the mayor of Pointe-Claire, Tim Thomas, D.D.O. Councillor, Founder and President of the West Island Blues Festival, Mr. Errol Johnson, the President of WIBCA Joan Lee, Pointe-Claire Councillor Erin Tedford, the MP for Pierrefonds-Dollard, Sameer Zuberi and Pointe-Claire Councillor Bruno Tremblay as well as MNA Monsef Derraji (not pictured below) .

In addition to honoring the many volunteers of the Association as well as the Co-Founder of WIBCA, Mrs. Margaret Jolly (pictured below), an exciting announcement was made.

Dr. Sabrina Jafralie, an educator at the secondary and university levels, and Mr. Stephen Hennessy, a community and health-care worker, have partnered with WIBCA for a new project. They will commence a 2-year project where they will curate a digital museum to document and archive Black history across Canada. In addition, youths will be interviewing seniors to learn their history and retain their stories.

"We look forward to each of you giving us your stories; we'll be heading out in a month to document some stories in Africville, Nova Scotia, Montréal, Amber Valley, and Hogan's Alley in British Columbia" stated Dr. Jafralie.

"The whole mission is to make a big connection not just within the city but to connect teens all across Canada. Continue to share your stories, and we must document WIBCA's story as an important part of our lives," concluded Stephen Hennessy.

SOURCE: West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA)

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