A Need for Continental African Canadian Media and Resources
By Kizito Musabiman
Platforms that focus on telling stories from a Continental African Canadian perspective will allow Afro-Canadians to share previously untold stories, showcase community works and advocate effectively.
Imagine you are a Continental African Canadian youth who weeks to promote an initiative or raise awareness of an issue that your community faces.
About four years ago, I prepared for my walk from Toronto to Montreal to raise awareness for the PTSD Challenge in my Rwandan Canadian community. I learned first-hand the difficulty of getting a story published and aired on mainstream media platforms. From preparing press releases and e-mailing countless producers to booking a slot for an interview, the process can be taxing. Although I didn’t personally face discrimination on my journey, I know many African Canadians do face challenges when trying to get their stories aired or published.
Most Canadians learn about issues affecting marginalized communities through mainstream media exposure (including television, new papers, and radio). African Canadian communities experience a lack of representation, cultural misunderstandings and occasional cases of racism and discrimination in the media. When Continental African Canadians’ stories are told, it is often from a negative perspective by reporters who don’t fully grasp the communities they report on.
The media is also a business with an audience to please, and the majority of their audience is not Continental African Canadians. This is the main reason why there is not one media outlet in Canada that runs 24/7 telling African Canadian Stories from the community’s perspective.
For Continental African Canadians to advocate for community issues effectively, we believe more media networks – including radios, televisions, newspapers and social media – and mainstream platforms must be developed to reach a Canadian audience from a CAC perspective.
Displaying Community Works
Though the Capacity Building program, our goal is to focus on the Development of Resources and Data for Continental AfriCanadians – specifically regarding cultural education, health, business and media development.
The AfriCanadian Resource Centre will initially serve as an online “database” platform, offering e-Capacity support to Canadians seeking information about the Continental African Canadian community. Resources will range from studies, reports, research, books and more.
The platform will offer African Canadian creators the opportunity to share their unique journeys and visions with the Canadian audience through audiovisual, writings, and other arts forms (including art-crafts, theatrical, music, traditional dance and more).
Our goal is to encourage young Continental African Canadians to reflect on daily experiences on newly developed platforms by vlogging, podcasting, blogging, public speaking, participating in our comic-series narrative and much more. This will promote community engagement by fostering a sense of ethnic identity and connection, as well as create a sense of pride for the Continental African Canadian culture and heritage.