›› Councillor Sharmarke Dubow
I was proud to watch when Her Excellency Ms. Mary Simon was installed as the 30th Governor General of Canada. I was reminded of the day I was sworn into office and the messages I received telling me how much this moment meant to them.
Indigenous, Black, and other racialized people are underrepresented in politics and many other professional fields. Ultimately, this impacts how we see ourselves in the spaces we exist and move through. Uncertainty and fear have sadly worked towards eroding hope and in some ways have affected the way our communities are designed and led. When decision makers don’t represent the people they serve, it is hard for people who have been marginalized to see themselves in leadership and this then characterizes policies that do not reflect lived experiences. Since being elected, I have continued to work with and mentor Black, Indigenous, and newcomer youth. I continually encourage them to step into leadership positions in their schools, workplaces, and communities.
Through encouraging them to step into leadership and use their voices, with boldness and courage, I hope that we are all inspired to actively work towards transforming our community and city to reflect a diversity of ways of being in the world.
In the Governor General’s first speech, she shared that, “reconciliation is a way of life and requires work every day”. It reminds us how we all need to reflect on our own position and ability to engage with reconciliation. This likely looks different for folks who are multi-generational settlers or those of us who are newcomers to Canada but I know that we all have a role to play in working towards reconciliation and making sure that our community is welcoming and inclusive of many worldviews and points of view so we can learn from one another.
Photo: Community leader, Kwanda, holding a photo of when Councillor Sharmarke Dubow was sworn in. He stopped by Dubow’s office (pre-Covid) to share it with him. Photo courtesy of Councillor Sharmarke Dubow.