Differences are what enrich our lives and make Toronto the fabulous, unique, successful city it is. Xenophobia (a fear or hatred of strangers and foreigners) has no place in a city built upon these differences. It threatens the very core of who we as Torontonians are. It is also what motivated the horrific and unacceptable attack in which a woman was beaten and robbed by two young men. They tore off her hijab and told her to "Go back to your country."
In a world where a two-way exchange between government and citizen is the goal, it's encouraging when we see it actually happening. Since September, there have been a number of calls for insights from citizens. The end goal is to create the first ever comprehensive culture strategy for the province of Ontario.
To honour Canada's diversity, how about this year we remember some of the victims of that empire? Our racist and colonial past, as well as Canada's role in exploiting people of colour all over the world, must also be included in our remembrance if we are to build a nation of respect for all people -- the essence of real diversity.
As power and privilege concentrate at the highest offices in our country, little room is left for the unusual suspects. We need white privileged men to play an active role in changing the status quo. Prime Minister Trudeau has, to his credit, accomplished an elusive and noteworthy achievement by using his privilege to bridge the often insurmountable leap between merit and power. He made space for his colleagues who deserve to operate in that exclusive arena.
From a talent acquisition and recruitment point of view, one thing is quite clear: Justin Trudeau is off to a good start. Over the more than quarter century that I've been vetting and recommending candidates for leadership roles in global companies, I've learned that actions indeed speak louder than words, symbolism matters, diverse points of view should be promoted, and a strong team trumps a strong individual all the time.
Forget the mommy wars. Companies pit us against each other and sell more products. Once we realize that mommy wars don't exist and that we are all actually just trying to do whatever works best for us we can focus on talking about our differences and opening ourselves up to what others are doing and have to say.
I've been asked, "Where are you from?" more times at the bank than at any other workplace. The query is almost always followed by an individual's shock of how kind, efficient, or great my service was. In their mind, there's no way a black girl from [insert black country here] can be so nice at customer service.
What does it mean to be an Arab living in the West? Can I be part of two worlds and to what extent? Going through an identity crisis, results into an ongoing questioning. It is the process of reflecting on the shattered pieces of memory, an abandoned language and understanding of one's ancestors and history.
All you have to do is bring Mather Nature indoors in the form of plants. For many Canadians, this isn't entirely a new concept. For decades, plants have been brought into the home and office to brighten up the mood and add some colour to an otherwise drab atmosphere. But the benefits are far greater than aesthetics.
On a continent where people of colour have been, and continue to be, terrorized, dehumanized, brutally murdered and denied basic human rights based on the colour of their skin, a grievance white people have not experienced, white people don't need to come together to lend moral and emotional support for their brethren in the same way people of colour do. So knowing that some racist folks are hell bent on creating "safe" spaces to fight the "tyranny" of multiculturalism, I'm left with only one question: If white people are losing in our country, who the hell is winning?
Last week, a woman travellingon a Porter flight from New York to Toronto was asked to move to another seat to accommodate an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man. The woman was very upset. She said that the man never looked at her nor spoke to her. It may be rare for Porter Airlines, but our public schools, like our airplanes, trains, busses, theatres and other public venues are facing a an increase in such requests.
Over the following months in 2001, the violence continued in Burundi between the rebels and the government. My passion for my work diminished. I no longer felt like doing anything. I even stopped watching the news on TV, or even listening to it on my own radio station. Everything looked hopeless. In 2002, some Canadian journalists visited Burundi. If I were going to ask for help, it was now or never. Six months later, they invited me to visit Canada, and I jumped on the opportunity. I arrived in Canada with $60 in my pocket -- my mother's life savings.
Last week, we hosted the first of two joint Summits in Vancouver between our organizations, The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC). Both Summits focus on board governance, kick starting a critical national dialogue about the merits of strengthening these communication lines between Corporate Canada and aboriginal business leaders.
My children and I immigrated to Canada in 2010 as refugees. When we arrived, I was so happy that my kids were in a safe country. In Zimbabwe I remember not being able to cry or find comfort in anyone, because everyone was experiencing their own share of pain and shock. So in April of 2010, after being released from the most recent lock-up, I took my kids at midnight and headed for the border knowing that if I was caught I would be burned alive and killed. Even though I was living with the uncertainty of how my immigration hearing would pan out, watching my kids embrace Canadian culture strengthened me when I was at my weakest point.